Springfield City Commissioners voted to approved a resolution this week that supports and encourages residents to wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The resolution comes at time when the Clark County Combined Health District has reported at least 739 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, in the county. There have also been at least nine confirmed COVID related deaths in the county.
“This is not a matter of just being appropriate and being courteous. This is a matter of life and death,” said Springfield Commissioner Dave Estrop during a virtual commission meeting on Tuesday.
“It is a matter of health and as the governor pointed out yesterday the mask is a symbol of freedom. It allows us to continue to reopen this state and yet do so in a way that is safe so that we are not putting people at risk,” he added.
The resolution itself calls for the support and approval of the use of face coverings and six feet of social distancing for all members of the public in an effort to reduce and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
Face coverings are defined in the resolution as being made of cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable materials that is without holes and sits close to the face and covers the nose and mouth as well as surrounding areas of the lower face.
“Whereas wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet or more of physical ‘social’ distance from one another is an important act of safety and empathy that those in the City of Springfield can do in an effort to protect others from an infection that may be unknowingly carried and transmitted,”a copy of the resolution said.
Face coverings are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to help prevent those who may unknowingly have the virus from transmitting it to others.
The resolution stated that Springfield is experiencing a local surge of COVID-19 cases that threatens to strain local and regional healthcare systems. It also stated that additional measures are deemed necessary that go above and beyond those instituted by both the state and federal governments in order to slow the outbreak.
City officials stated by passing the resolution it shows that the city of Springfield affirms and fully supports safety measures used to prevent the spread of the virus that are highlighted by the CDC.
That includes exemptions to facial coverings that are outlined under CDC guidelines or by the Ohio Department of Health. But the resolution stated that those exemptions only apply to facial coverings and “does not affect the need to physically distance.”
Previously, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland issued a mayoral proclamation and executive order in March declaring a state of emergency in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of emergency is still in place, according to city officials.
A copy of the resolution that was approved on Tuesday stated that the state of emergency declared in March was in response to “actions taken by the federal, state and local jurisdiction to address those conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.”
In addition, all city commission meetings are to continue to be conducted virtually in the near future.