PAULDING COUNTY, Ohio. (WANE) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement, issuing new mask enforcement orders in businesses and threatening to shut down bars, restaurants and gyms if coronavirus cases continue to surge, has elicited mixed reactions from Ohio residents.
“There are people that aren’t interested in wearing the masks and want to continue life as they know it,” said Tim Copsey, the Economic Development Director for Paulding County. “But in order for us to help continue to keep the small businesses open we’re going to have to bend a little bit and wear the mask.”
DeWine added three provisions to the mask mandate and shifted the authority of mask enforcement from the local counties to the state. If a business receives more than one violation it will have to close for 24 hours.
Copsey said he was one of several county officials on a call with DeWine last Saturday, so the announcement did not come as a surprise.
“We were knowing that something new was going to come out,” said Copsey. “We hope that it doesn’t go to the extreme effect of shutting our businesses down. We have many businesses that are teetering on the edge and we would like to keep them all open.”
The governor’s announcement came near the same time that data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health found that all 88 counties in Ohio remain at “high incidence,” according to the CDC’s definition.
Paulding County is one of many in Ohio at “Level 3” which means the county has “very high exposure and spread.”
Bill Edwards, the administrator for the Paulding County Health Department echoed the governor’s plea for people to take the pandemic seriously.
“Maybe some won’t be affected by it, but they could be related to care about about someone who is susceptible to disease,” said Edwards. “Look after others.”
Some Ohio residents said they agree to wear the masks, but do not want businesses to be shut down.
“Well I feel with the mask situation, a lot of it is political. If it makes people feel better, I guess I’m for it,” said Ron Wick, a Paulding County resident since 1972.
Holly Davis, the owner of Hollywood and Vine Florals said she thinks the governor shutting down bars, restaurants and fitness centers would be “an overreaction.”
“We don’t want anybody to get sick and so if we need to wear masks and we need to social distance we do that, but I don’t really think you should shut down.”
Davis said she remembers when the country went through the polio outbreak 65 years ago.
“We did not shut the country down for polio, and it was far worse,” said Davis. “So I guess I just have lived long enough to have seen enough that I know this isn’t the biggest thing that we will ever see in this country.”
DeWine said Thursday that no decisions will be made on new restrictions for bar, restaurants and fitness centers for another week.