KENT, Ohio (WOIO) - The city of Kent has banned mass gatherings for any gathering of more than 10 people to help stop the rise of COVID-19 cases surging, Law Director Hope Jones confirmed to 19 News.
Jones said the ordinance was passed for the entire community.
“The arrival of students on campus, the uptick in COVID cases in the student population, and the fact that the county has been in Red status contributed to our decision to present it to City Council,” Jones said.
Jones said this ordinance can have the Kent City Health Department do a number of things, including citing a person hosting a party, anyone attending or someone who chooses to maintain a party. Jones said the department could also take up the issue with property owners.
Officials said there are a number of exemptions, including bars and restaurants, sporting events, schools, stores, and offices. Other exceptions in the ban are normal operations at bus stops or other hubs; school and university classes or sanctioned functions; distribution centers, factories, and warehouses.
Kent Health Commissioner Joan Seidel said the ordinance was already in effect, but “Kent City Council voted for expanded authority to include the Health Commissioner or their designee," she said.
Seidel continued, “Currently, new cases 20-year-old are highest in the 20 year old age bracket, but this ordinance covers the City of Kent, not just students. To limit the spread, which we know happens in a variety of settings, we want people to seriously consider how they gather and how their behaviors affect our entire community.”
There will be a free COVID-19 drive-up testing on Sunday, October 18 at Stanton Middle School from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“This is another way the City and Kent State University is working together to contain the spread of COVID 19," Seidel said. "By being aware of our cases and tracing the contacts we can try to reduce spread.”
Return to 19 News for updates on this developing story.