Dayton, Ohio – Amid spiking coronavirus cases in Montgomery County, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced a mask requirement for everyone in the city.
The announcement from Whaley comes on the heels of a surge in cases statewide, with newly confirmed cases in Ohio reaching more than 1,000 on Wednesday – the highest count since April. Whaley, a Democrat, is the first mayor of a major Ohio city to require mask wearing in public.
Southwest Ohio is driving much of the spike in coronavirus cases in the state, including a 66% increase in Montgomery County over the past two weeks. In a Wednesday press conference, Whaley said Dayton residents would be required to wear masks in public settings to help curb that spike.
“I know that, unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political flash point,” Whaley said. “But I also know that masks save lives. Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are a small sacrifice that we can all make to take care of one another and to keep our businesses open as we continue to weather this storm.”
Whaley said there will be exceptions, such as for children under 6 and people who are unable to wear masks because of medical conditions or developmental disabilities. Masks would not be required for activities where it would be prohibitive, such as swimming or a visit to the dentist.
As part of the plan, the city distributed masks to businesses and other public places.