Yellow Springs adds consequences if people break mask requirement

The Village of Yellow Springs passed a resolution to make it a requirement to wear a mask and properly social distance while in the downtown “business district” of Yellow Springs. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF
The Village of Yellow Springs passed a resolution to make it a requirement to wear a mask and properly social distance while in the downtown “business district” of Yellow Springs. MARSHALL GORBYSTAFF

The Village of Yellow Springs council unanimously passed two ordinances that add possible penalties to people who don’t wear a facial covering when required.

In June, the village became the first Ohio community to require masks when the council passed a resolution to implement a physical distancing, facial covering and hand sanitizing and washing requirement. The new ordinances passed at an emergency council meeting Wednesday afternoon “added some teeth” to that original resolution, council said.

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The first ordinance requires all vendors and all persons soliciting for donation or gratuity — buskers — in the village to wear a facial covering, and it declares a state of emergency. Food vendors who are unable to wear a mask and who are operating in the village are required to fashion a readily cleanable, non-porous barrier separating the vendor from the public.

People who violate the new ordinance will be issued a written warning and asked to wear a facial covering immediately on the first infraction reported or observed. A second violation will result in a citation with a $30 fine and a third violation will result in a $50 fine and may result in revocation of any local permit or agreement for a period of not less than two months, or until the state of emergency no longer exists, whichever is earlier.

“I think what’s proactive about this is we are signaling to community visitors, as well as to Greene County Public Health, how we want to see these situations handled,” said Village Council President Brian Housh. “So by potentially laying that out and doing it in a way that fits our village values, I think is appropriate.”

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The second ordinance requires facial coverings in the central business district, or downtown Yellow Springs, and declares a state of emergency. People are only required to wear a mask when they are not able to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

Residents and visitors with documented medical conditions that prevent the wearing of a facial covering are exempt from the ordinance, as well as children under the age of 10 years old.

The emergency meeting lasted more than two and a half hours, as council members decided on amendments and exemptions to the ordinances as they were initially proposed.

All exemptions to the ordinances can be found on the village's website at https://www.yso.com/council/.

The ordinances were first discussed at the council’s regular meeting on Monday, but members didn’t have enough time to agree upon all the sections and exemptions. Housh said council decided an emergency meeting was necessary because action surrounding required masks could not wait until the next regular meeting.