DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton City Commission instituted a citywide mask mandate.
Commissioners voted on the ordinance as Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County officials began raising concerns over a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the county.
The new mask ordinance requires people ages six and older to don a mask while inside public spaces regardless of their vaccination status. Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said she felt confident that all city commissioners would vote for the mask mandate.
“We’ve heard from Public Health last week calling on communities to issue mask mandates in public indoor spaces. So, you know, that’s what we’ve been following throughout the pandemic is Public Health recommendations. We’re gonna follow through with that,” Whaley said.
Watch the full Dayton City Commission meeting in the player below.
Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor at PHDMC, said the county is currently seeing 785 cases per 100,000. These numbers are higher than what we were seeing in January of this year.
“Certainly that means we’re in a spike right now, and it’s something we don’t want to see go any higher,” Suffoletto said.
These numbers are also raising concern with Whaley. “Because of these numbers and the uptick in our intensive care units at [Dayton] Children’s and across all of the health organizations, we have got to make sure that we keep health care open.”
However, not everyone is on board with the mask mandate that could come from this vote. Rennes Bowers, a Dayton mayoral candidate, said he feels people should be able to choose if they want to get vaccinated or wear a mask.
“This is America. What happened to my body my choice? These people change the rules of the game all of the time. People in Dayton are fed up with their mandates,” Bowers said.
Similar to the previous mask mandate in Ohio, people won’t be required to wear masks while eating, drinking and exercising. Also, people with medical and mental health conditions or developmental disabilities which would restrict their ability to mask up won’t be required either.
“I hate masks. I think I’ve been pretty open about it, but it’s what keeps us safe. It does really work,” Whaley said.
People who refuse to follow the mask ordinance could face a civil citation of up to $85.