Dayton police called 12 times for possible mask law violations

Suburban cities ponder mask requirement that Ohio’s large urban areas have approved.

Dayton’s new mask ordinance — designed to slow the spread of the resurgent coronavirus — prompted 12 calls to the Dayton Police Department about possible violations since the rule went into effect Friday morning.

From those 12 calls, two warnings were issued by Dayton Police, a city spokeswoman said Monday afternoon. Officers supplied one of the residents warned a mask to use, according to the city official.

Some other Dayton-area cities are considering mask laws, though one suburban leader said his city will not consider such a rule unless state health officials issue the mandate.

Dayton businesses say customers following new mask law

Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer said the city has not considered a mask ordinance and will not unless the health department mandates masks statewide or otherwise.

“We intend to follow the guidelines of the experts,” Schommer said. “We’re not going to exceed those recommendations. They’re not indicating at this time that there needs to be a mandate, and they are the experts, so we’re going to go by what they say.”

Montgomery County Public Health spokesman Dan Suffoletto said the office has received positive feedback about Dayton’s mask law from local businesses that see it as a way to best protect their staff and customers. He noted several area businesses have had to close after one of their employees became sick with coronavirus.

“By people wearing a mask, that will reduce the spread and help them stay open,” Suffoletto said.

Dayton’s mask law requires face coverings in places including restaurants, bars, businesses, shops, libraries, health care facilities, hotels, motels, gyms and other facilities that are used by or open to the public. It was passed unanimously by the city commission last week.

Violators face an $85 penalty that, if unpaid, can lead to a block when renewing a drivers’ license and other consequences. The order is complaint-driven, meaning that police will consider issuing fines if business owners or employees file complaints against visitors and customers. City officials say they do not want citizens to report one another.

“There were no requests for civil citations generated,” a spokeswoman for the city said.

Other cities in the Miami Valley told the Dayton Daily News they are also considering creating their own mask laws.

Centerville’s spokeswoman Kate Bostdorff said the city is strongly recommending residents wear masks, wash their hands frequently and follow guidelines for social distancing.

Centerville City Council planned to discuss masks at their work session on Monday evening. City council and city staff all were to wear masks at the meeting.

Mask requirement begins in Dayton

Kettering city officials said they are currently discussing and researching a mask ordinance, but they have no solid plans to date. The city is looking at what others are doing and taking into consideration guidance from the health department. Kettering hasn’t discussed whether such a law would fine violators if the city started requiring masks.

Fairborn, Riverside and Vandalia have not yet considered a mask ordinance.

Suffoletto said while the other cities don’t yet mandate wearing a mask in public, a business is allowed to require customers to wear a mask. He said his office has received complaints about local businesses requiring mask use.

Yellow Springs was one of the first area communities to pass legislation asking citizens to wear a mask.

Other cities around the state have also made their own mask mandates. Columbus’ mayor has issued a similar order that took effect Saturday. Cincinnati also passed a city ordinance that mandates people wear masks in the city. That goes into effect on July 9.

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