Mandatory masks, limit of 6 guests at private home gatherings proposed in legislation from Akron mayor

Mandatory masks, limit of 6 guests at private home gatherings proposed in legislation from Akron mayor
(Source: WFIE)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The mayor of Akron proposed legislation that would restrict private gatherings and require face coverings in certain scenarios to slow the spread of Thanksgiving before and after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Large private gatherings of more than six guests would be prohibited:

  • No residential property owner or family in the city shall host more than 6 guests at a gathering
  • Guests include anyone who does not permanently reside in the home, even close family members who reside elsewhere.

Small gatherings inside a private residence would be permitted with restrictions:

  • For small gatherings with 6 or fewer guests – masks must be worn at all times when a non-resident is in the same room or within six feet, unless an exception applies.
  • Exceptions include: individuals under 10 years old, when actively eating a meal, those who should not wear a mask due to a medical condition, or when outdoors and maintaining 6 feet of social distancing, etc.

The Akron City Council’s Health and Social Service Committee will consider the proposal during a Monday afternoon hearing.

“The limit on private gatherings was recommended by Summit County Public Health due to the ongoing, uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in Akron and Summit County, primarily through casual indoor social or family gatherings where masks are not worn,” the mayor’s office stated in a press release.

If passed, the ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Horrigan and Council President Margo Sommerville, would take effect immediately for at least 30 days and be enforced by the Summit County Public Health.

Akron proposed ordinance
Akron proposed ordinance (Source: Akron mayor's office)

A violation of the ordinance could result in a civil penalty of $250 for property owners.

“As mayor, my highest responsibility is to protect the safety and wellbeing of the citizens of Akron,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Limiting private gatherings will help keep Akron businesses open, help get our kids back into the classroom sooner, and most importantly, save lives. Reducing contact with immediate family and friends is an enormous sacrifice for many of us, but we cannot let our guard down even around those we know and love.”

Complaints about in-progress private gatherings should be made to the Akron police’s non-emergency line at 330-375-2181.

Previously held gatherings could be reported to the Summit County Health Department’s hotline at 330-926-5795 or online.

“Enforcement will focus first on voluntary compliance. Our goal is not to punish, but to educate residents and eliminate the large social gatherings that are allowing COVID-19 to spread uncontrolled within our community,” Mayor Horrigan added.

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