New Albany City Council voted at its July 14 meeting to amend the city’s emergency declaration to include a mandatory “face covering” requirement that applies to all individuals patronizing or employed by and working at a New Albany business. The requirement is also in effect for outdoor locations if individuals cannot consistently maintain appropriate social distancing from others who are not members of their household.
This declaration, which has been in effect since April, can be amended at any time and will remain in effect as long as the city manager and City Council deem that an emergency exists, with consideration given to the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and Franklin County Public Health.
The city’s emergency declaration excludes religious facilities, schools and libraries, and exceptions to the mandatory face covering include individuals:
- who can’t wear mask due to medical condition;
- participating in strenuous exercise activities or athletic practices;
- under the age of 10;
- seated and actively consuming food or beverage in a restaurant or bar;
- whose sincere religious beliefs prevents them from wearing masks;
- seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing-impaired;
- getting dental work; or
- in private offices in space not intended for use or access by the public.
“We took this action after consulting with New Albany’s COVID-19 Task Force, and considering the state and Franklin County order, in large part to help our businesses stay open,” said Mayor Sloan Spalding. “COVID-19 numbers are low by comparison in New Albany to the rest of Franklin County, typically in the range of only 5-10 active cases per week, but it is important that we recognize what is going on around us. Franklin County has some of the highest COVID-19 numbers in Ohio, and we want to do what we can to support our businesses.”
In addition to wearing a mask, the emergency declaration recognizes the importance of maintaining proper social distancing, practicing vigorous hand washing and surface sanitizing, avoiding touch one’s face, and staying home if you or anyone in the family is sick.
Face covering refers to piece of cloth, fabric, or other material that fully covers the mouth and nose that is secured with ear straps or otherwise ties so as to prevent slipping. A face covering may be factory-made or may be handmade and improvised from household materials. Face coverings include, but are not limited to, bandanas, scarves, medical masks, and cloth masks; and can also include respirators, N95 masks, face shields or other personal protective equipment that provides a higher level of protection than a face covering. A face covering shall be worn so as to cover the mouth and nose in compliance with the CDC’s guidance on wearing face coverings.
The full emergency declaration, which includes enforcement provisions, is available for review online here.