Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has enacted a statewide mask mandate to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m.
“Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction,” explained the governor. “We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference, and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread.”
The mandate requires that individuals ten years old and older wear facial coverings in public whenever they are:
- At indoor locations that are not residences
- Outdoors and unable to maintain proper social distancing
- Using or operating public transportation (i.e., bus, taxi, ride-sharing service)
Exceptions to the order include certain medical conditions, communicating with someone with a hearing impairment, exercising or playing sports, officiating a religious service, or actively eating or drinking.
If you have not been wearing a mask to this point, you might have questions about their benefits or how they work. So here are answers to some common questions. I’m not worried about getting coronavirus.
Why must I wear a mask?
Face masks protect you against COVID-19, but they also help keep you from unknowingly spreading the infection. Many people who test positive for coronavirus do not exhibit symptoms. If you have the virus and don’t know it, wearing a mask helps contain respiratory droplets you expel from your mouth and nose whenever you talk, sneeze, or cough.
Masks have greater importance in situations where physical distancing is challenging, such as grocery stores or other crowded areas.
What is the proper way to wear a face mask?
For best results, a worn mask should cover both your nose and mouth at the same time. More specifically, the mask should cover the area between the bridge of your nose and below your chin. Face masks should fit securely enough to remain in place but loose-fitting to prevent skin irritation. An ill-fitting mask will cause you to pull or tug to adjust it when your goal is to avoid touching the covering as much as possible.
What kind of mask should I buy?
Experts recommend wearing masks made with at least two layers of fabric. Again, it should cover your nose and mouth and be free of loose gaps. If you wear eyeglasses, you might want a mask that bends or folds to fit your nose’s bridge to keep your lenses from fogging.
Do I need an N95 respirator mask?
N95 respirators are professional-grade masks worn by healthcare workers and first responders who face regular and prolonged exposure to the virus. Supplies of N95 masks are low and, thus, should be reserved for healthcare professionals. For the rest of us, cloth and paper covers will help slow the spread of coronavirus.
I have a mask. So now I’m covered, right?
Just because you’re wearing a mask, does not mean you can ignore other COVID-19 safety precautions. While wearing a mask will help protect you and prevent you from spreading the virus, you still need to maintain social distancing and frequently wash your hands.