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Central Ohio Municipalities Discuss Lifting Local Face Covering Requirements

Wednesday, Feb 16, 2022 at 12:00 pm

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For Immediate Release
February 16, 2022

Contact:
Sam Metcalf, City of Bexley, (614) 559-4255
Kelli Newman, Columbus Public Health, 614-205-6599

Columbus, Central Ohio Municipalities Discuss Lifting Local Face Covering Requirements

Yesterday, city leaders from Bexley, Whitehall, Worthington and Columbus met with Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola to receive an update on the status of the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Each city currently has local orders in place requiring the wearing of face coverings indoors.

Dr. Roberts reported that both COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline dramatically. If current trends continue, each city expects to consider lifting local face covering requirements in the coming weeks.

“Our collective efforts to control the spread of the virus have worked, and we look forward to lifting mask requirements in the very near future,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “As we move from a pandemic to endemic, there may be times in the future when mask advisories or mandates could become necessary as new variants come to our community. We continue to emphasize that the vaccine and boosters are the best tool we have in the fight against COVID-19 and encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated.” 

“We know that the guidelines and policies that we’ve created during the pandemic have only been as good as the willingness of the community to follow them, and your actions have resulted in lowered rates of infection throughout the pandemic, and have undoubtedly saved lives and enabled programs and services to continue that would have otherwise been disrupted,” said Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler. “We are eager to be in a position where conditions warrant a relaxing of general public space requirements, and as we have in the past we will continue to turn to our public health departments for their recommendations, guidance, and expertise.”  

The participating communities also reiterated the separation of roles between cities and school administrators, and expressed support for the critical role played by school districts in maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment.

“We want to thank our superintendents and school leadership, whose carefully considered actions have protected our children throughout the pandemic and enabled in-person classroom learning despite challenging public health conditions,” said Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard. “As we prepare to adjust restrictions, we continue to support our educational leaders and recognize that classroom restrictions may vary from public space restrictions due to the unique challenges or maintaining a safe and inclusive learning and teaching environment.”

“As face covering requirements for public spaces are lifted by various local governments, businesses, organizations and venues will have the flexibility to determine the appropriate protocols for their facilities,” said Worthington City Manager Matt Greeson. “We appreciate the latest insights from health officials who have helped our communities navigate this challenging pandemic.” 

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