FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims Face Masks ‘No Longer Mandatory’ In Ohio

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 600 times claims face coverings are “no longer mandatory” in Ohio.

Verdict: False

While Ohio did rescind its previous order about face masks on April 5, it issued a new order that requires mask-wearing the same day. The new order requires people in Ohio to wear face masks in indoor spaces that aren’t residences and in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.

Fact Check:

The viral post includes an image of what appears to be a print-out of a recent Ohio Department of Health (ODH) order rescinding various coronavirus-related measures. The Facebook user attempts to highlight the ninth point in the document to claim face masks “are no longer mandatory in Ohio.”

“The Director’s Order for Facial Coverings throughout the State of Ohio signed July 23, 2020 is rescinded,” reads the ninth point in the pictured April 5 order. (RELATED: Did Ohio Gov Mike DeWine Release 4,300 Inmates On May 15?)

While that ODH order did rescind the July 23, 2020, order about face mask usage on April 5, it is inaccurate to say face coverings are “no longer mandatory” in the state. The ODH issued a new public health order the same day for “social distancing, facial coverings and non-congregating” that, among other things, outlined face mask usage.

The new order states that people in Ohio must wear face coverings at all times when “in any indoor location that is not a residence,” “outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or more from individuals who are not members of their family/household” and “waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, car service, or a ride sharing vehicle.” It includes exceptions for some individuals, such as those under 10-years-old, those with certain medical conditions that may be exacerbated by wearing one and those sitting and actively consuming a food or beverage in a restaurant or bar.

The ODH issued the new order in an effort to update, consolidate and simplify many of its coronavirus-related regulations, according to the Associated Press. At the time, several local media outlets reporting on the new Ohio health order noted in their coverage that mask-wearing was still required.

“The reason we’re issuing a new health order now is to make it simpler,” explained Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine during an April 5 press conference. “We know a lot more today than we knew when this started.”

“The screenshot shared is the list of orders rescinded when the new Director’s Order for Social Distancing, Facial Coverings and Non-Congregating was issued April 5,” said ODH spokesperson Alicia Shoults in an email to Check Your Fact. “The new order, https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/do-social-distancing-facial-coverings-and-non-congregating.pdf, continues to require masks.”

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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