TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz on Thursday joined other mayors across Ohio to declare that "all residents of Toledo should wear face coverings when in public."
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz's order does not carry the force of law but he expects council to adopt a mandatory mask ordinance on Tuesday.
“The increase in COVID-19 cases requires us to take this important action to protect our residents and our businesses,” Kapszukiewicz said. “Masks will save lives, and every day matters. Given the choice of a mask or the risk of hospitalization and further economic pain, I am certain Toledoans will choose to wear a face covering.”
The declaration requires face coverings to be worn, covering the mouth and nose, in enclosed areas with others. This includes grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, libraries, bars, restaurants and while using public transportation. Individuals are not required to wear masks at a religious facility. However, the city, along with the local and state health departments, and the CDC, strongly recommend the wearing of masks at any public place.
The declaration allows for some exemptions, including medical conditions, children younger than 6, or the need to communicate via lip-reading with someone who has a hearing impairment. Wearers may remove the covering to eat or drink.
The Toledo-Lucas County Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. Eric Zgodzinski, praised the mayor's call to the public to take action to protect themselves and others around them.
“The mayor took a very proactive approach here, I think the council will take it up on Tuesday. The face covering protects me a little bit, but it really protects you because again, if I'm within six feet, it gives you a little added protection,” said Dr. Zgodzinski.
Although the mayor’s declaration does not carry the force of law, the mayor hopes that it will provide fair notice to Toledoans to begin wearing masks as a health necessity. The mayor expects City Council to adopt an ordinance on Tuesday that will allow a mask policy to be enforced, as other cities in Ohio have already done.
“It is really important for city council to take this up and make a decision about what we need to do," said Dr. Zgodzinski.