Youngstown Mayor Issues Mask Mandate Effective Monday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Jamael Tito Brown announced this morning that effective Monday, all individuals within the city limits will be required to wear masks outside their homes to stanch the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have to do our part to prevent the spikes and the increases in hospitalizations and deaths,” Brown said Friday during a press briefing with reporters.

Brown said he would sign an executive order that mandates those in the city in either public buildings and crowded outdoor venues wear masks.

The city recently received 34,000 masks from Proctor & Gamble, he said, and will be working with the city’s health department to distribute them to local businesses.

“That’s our first line of defense, we’ll provide them with the masks,” he said.

Brown said the order would be enforced through the city’s police department and noted that those in violation of the rule could face civil penalties.

The masks are precautionary measures that protect others from the spread of the virus, Brown added, especially the most vulnerable. He said he would ask City Council to approve legislation affirming the mandate.

Third Ward Councilwoman Samantha Turner said that the measure protects first responders, essential workers, older citizens and those with underlying health problems.

“We believe that it’s important that we keep our numbers down in Youngstown and we continue to protect all of our citizens,” she said.

As of July 16, the city recorded 521 coronavirus cases, 84 hospitalizations and 39 deaths due to Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus said city health commissioner Erin Bishop.

Across Mahoning County, there have been 2,054 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, 387 hospitalizations, and 240 confirmed and probable deaths, according to figures released Friday morning by the Mahoning County Board of Health.

“Our hospitalization rate has remained steady as well as the number of deaths,” Bishop said. This mandate helps remove doubts about whether or not to wear masks in the city, which she said is a vital step to control the spread of the virus.

The city health department will begin distributing masks to local businesses on Monday, Bishop added. “This is serious,” she said.

Brown urged the public to abide by the rule, emphasizing that wearing masks and employing social distancing is a welcome alternative to a full lockdown – which could happen again should the virus spread out of control.

The Rev. Kenneth Simon, pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church, said he applauds the mayor’s actions as a necessary preventive measure to keep the community safe. Moreover, he said that wearing a mask demonstrates compassion and care for others.

Simon said New Bethel has already required that its congregation wear masks.

“I don’t want the businesses to be shut down,” Simon noted. “Our people in our churches want to get back to our assemblies, they want to get back to corporate worship.”

The press conference was called as the city hosted its first coronavirus “pop-up” testing center at the offices of the Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership on Fifth Avenue.

Individuals are able to obtain drive-up tests – it takes about three minutes, Brown noted – at no charge in the MYCAP parking lot at 1325 Fifth Ave. until 6 p.m.Friday evening. Walk-ups are directed to report to the Wick Park pavilion.

Pictured at top: Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, surrounded by city employees, announces his executive order mandating that masks be worn in public buildings and crowded outdoor venues.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.