Columbus became one of the largest Ohio cities to announce plans Wednesday to reissue a mask mandate amid a rise of cases and hospitalizations as a result of the delta variant.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced that he plans to issue an executive order requiring masks to be worn in indoor areas in the city, regardless of vaccination status.
“This isn’t about shutting down, and giving up,” Ginther told reporters. “All of us have three goals that we all share in common: keeping our schools open, keeping our economy open, and making sure that our health care workers are not overwhelmed.”
Ginther said the rapid rise of COVID-19 numbers in the city requires the city government to take action. He said he will issue an executive order requiring masks in all indoor spaces as of Friday.
Public health officials joined Ginther to plead with the public Wednesday afternoon about the “dire” situation Columbus hospitals and staff are facing after an optimistic start to the summer came to a screeching halt as the delta variant began to spread throughout the city while vaccinations stagnated.
“Sadly, far too many remain unvaccinated. Without a sufficiently high vaccination rate, it continues to linger and evolve. New cases are on the rise. Hospitalizations are on the rise, and the strain on our medical and public health professionals has reached a breaking point,” Ginther said Wednesday. “This isn’t about shutting down and giving up. This is about keeping Columbus safe and open for business.”
According to the report, masks will now be required inside schools, libraries, gyms, restaurants, and stores.
Ginther tweeted Friday, “I have signed an Executive Order requiring masks for people in indoor spaces accessible to the public in #Columbus. The vaccine is still our best tool in the fight against COVID-19. Masks add extra protection for those who cannot get the vaccine, including kids under 12.”
I have signed an Executive Order requiring masks for people in indoor spaces accessible to the public in #Columbus. The vaccine is still our best tool in the fight against COVID-19. Masks add extra protection for those who cannot get the vaccine, including kids under 12. pic.twitter.com/M5ogapuutS
— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) September 10, 2021
His announcement comes as the state reported 6,823 new COVID-19 cases and 457 new COVID-19 hospitalizations.
He said more details of the executive order will be announced in the coming days and he said he plans to work with the city council to make it an ordinance in the city.
Ginther said nothing about the order will be surprising or unfamiliar.
“Columbus is open for business. Our schools are open. Our healthcare professionals are at their breaking point and we need to step up to do more for our neighbors in crisis,” Ginther said.