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The Mask Mandate

On July 8th, 2020 the Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance D. Himes issued a Director’s Order mandating that all those living in specific counties must wear masks. This blog post aims to clarify who and how the Mask Mandate will be enforced.

Who will be Enforcing the Mask Mandate?

The Ohio Revised Code §3701.13 gives the Department of Health the authority to issue Orders and §3701.56 provides that local health and police officials are entrusted to enforce the Director’s Orders. This means that the public officials of each individual county are tasked with the enforcement of the Order. However, Governor DeWine has made clear that the purpose of this mandate is not to criminally prosecute those who don’t wear masks but rather to set a mask wearing standard. The Governor’s office has further said that one should not call law enforcement when presented with a violation of the Order but should rather call their local health department for clarification and guidance. The local health department will be able to charge people in violation of the Order with a misdemeanor and/or impose a fine.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Violating the Order?

The Ohio Revised Code §3701.57 grants the Director the authority to impose penalties for violations of the Director’s Orders. The potential penalties for a violation of the Mask Mandate are a misdemeanor and/or a fine. The local official who issues a citation against a person in violation of the Mask Mandate may petition the local court for an injunction or other appropriate relief. The petitioned court may then issue an injunction or a fine that the court deems to be just.

What do you think about the mask mandate?