LIMA — Mayor David Berger on Wednesday said he does not have the authority to issue an order requiring the use of face masks in public spaces in Lima, but the mayor urged residents to voluntarily wear a mask while out in public or in crowded spaces.
“We shouldn’t have to expect people to act responsibly only because there are orders,” Berger said during his weekly press conference Wednesday morning. “This we’ve been told continuously is a useful, practical way for all of us to interact, so please wear a mask when you’re out in public, when you’re in close environments. It’s the right thing to do.”
Allen County has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among adults younger than 50 years old.
While 36% of the 297 confirmed and probable cases reported in Allen County since March have been younger than 50, Allen County Public Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn said 54% of cases in June were among adults under 50.
Luhn encouraged the residents to limit their exposure to the coronavirus this Fourth of July weekend by watching fireworks from their vehicles or lawns and keeping any family gatherings or parties small.
“I’m really encouraging you to step back this year,” Luhn said. “Stay in small groups. Limit your exposure.”
Luhn emphasized the need for continued social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing, which is now considered one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission of respiratory droplets carrying the virus.
And Luhn urged Allen County residents to cooperate with contact tracers should they be exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
“When somebody has been exposed,” she said, “we really need you to stay home and limit your contacts. When we look at the work the health department has done when we have somebody who’s positive and we reach out, when they have lots of people that they have been in contact with, that’s just that many more people at risk in the community.”