Dealing with the summer heat while following Cleveland’s mandatory mask order

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 7:52 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As a summer heat wave sweeps through Northeast Ohio, more counties are joining the list of those required to wear face masks in public.

Heat has been a frequent complaint by those who wear masks, or among those refusing to wear them.

On Thursday afternoon, Edgewater Beach in Cleveland was packed with people trying to cool off from the 90-plus degree temperatures.

Most of the beach-goers were not wearing masks, despite Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s order requiring them to in public spaces.

“The way I look at it, it’s common sense. If you’re going to be in a crowded area and be within six feet of people, put a mask on,” said Matt Speroff. “But if you’re going to be out in the open and have that six feet distance, you might not need it.”

Dominique Royal was one of the few wearing a mask at the beach.

“You still have to be safe, the numbers are going up,” she said. “Better safe than sorry.”

One reason given by those who weren’t wearing masks: lack of clarity on the order.

Jackson’s order has been criticized for being vague in its guidelines; the portion pertaining to public areas reads:

Mandatory masks for all individuals out in public or in public spaces including businesses, restaurants, etc.

Conversely, Gov. Mike DeWine’s mandate for masks, which applies to high risk counties, including Cuyahoga, leaves more room for outdoor spaces where social distancing is possible.

19 News reached out to several press contacts within the mayor’s office in hopes of a clarification, but none of our requests were acknowledged.

Most employees at Edgewater wore masks, lifeguards when they weren’t atop their raised seat, concessions workers and other park personnel.

However, no officials were enforcing the mask mandate, including Metroparks police.

Down the road in Gordon Square, professional musician Ariel Clayton Karas volunteered her time to play outside of Gypsy Beans cafe and bakery.

She wears a mask, despite its occasional interference with her violin playing.

“It gets in my way of playing a little bit but it’s a small price to pay to stay safe,” she said.

And while it might not always be comfortable, especially on a hot summer day, Clayton Karas accepts the trade off.

Like so many people, she was impacted by the pandemic and lost most of her professional opportunities.

She’s now making up for it by playing more intimate outdoor concerts.

“If staying employed as a professional musician means playing outside all summer with a mask on, I ‘ll do it at 8:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., whatever,” she said.

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