face coverings

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a face mask at a press conference April 6, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine is strengthening Ohio's face mask orders, which could result in the closure of businesses that don’t enforce the wearing of masks by employees and customers. Next week, the state will look into possibly closing bars, restaurants and fitness centers if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

Joe Biden is calling for everyone in the United States to wear a mask, well into the fall.

"Every single American should be wearing a mask when they're outside for the next three months, at a minimum," Biden said Thursday afternoon in remarks in Wilmington, Del. "Every governor should mandate mandatory mask-wearing. The estimates by the experts are it will save over 40,000 lives."

With the national death toll from COVID-19 passing the grim 150,000 mark, an NPR/Ipsos poll finds broad support for a single, national strategy to address the pandemic and more aggressive measures to contain it.

Two-thirds of respondents said they believe the U.S. is handling the pandemic worse than other countries, and most want the federal government to take extensive action to slow the spread of the coronavirus, favoring a top-down approach to reopening schools and businesses.

The American conversation around masks and COVID-19 has taken a dizzying turn. For months, wearing masks has been politicized as a sign of liberal leanings. But in recent days, ever more governors — many of them Republican — have moved to mandate masks. This week President Trump — arguably the nation's most visible mask un-enthusiast — started referring to wearing them as "patriotic."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wears a mask before his coronavirus press conference on June 23, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that the mandate on face masks in public will be extended statewide, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m.

A sign on face mask requirements at Sierra Trading Post in Easton.
Darrin McDonald / WOSU

Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order requiring masks this month, and Columbus City Council passed legislation that added consequences for violators. Franklin County is also under mask mandates from both the County Board of Comissioners and the Ohio Department of Health.

But who is in charge of enforcement?

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

There are now 19 counties under a Level 3 advisory for the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio. This means more than 60% of the state's population will be under a mask mandate going into the weekend.

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a face mask at a press conference April 6, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

In a special address from the Ohio Statehouse, Gov. Mike DeWine urged all Ohioans to wear face masks no matter where in the state they live, but declined to issue any new statewide requirements.

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public as the rate of new coronavirus cases surges to record heights in parts of the United States.

The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.

Starbucks announced on Thursday that it would require all patrons to wear face masks at its locations across the United States.

The order will take effect on July 15, according to a statement from Starbucks.

Several states have already mandated that residents wear masks in public spaces like coffee shops because of the coronavirus, though many still have no such requirement.

Masks On

Jul 9, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wears a mask before his coronavirus press conference on June 23, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, host Mike Thompson discusses the collision of science and politics as Gov. Mike DeWine mandates wearing face masks in 12 counties with fast-rising COVID-19 cases.

A customer at Global Gallery in Clintonville wears a face mask while seated in the coffee shop's outdoor patio.
Mary Rathke / WOSU

The question of enforcement remains unclear after Gov. Mike DeWine issued a requirement that people in seven hot-spot counties wear masks inside businesses and public places. The mandate took effect Wednesday night.

A growing number of governors and mayors are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus by requiring people to wear masks in public places.

Experts say these public health rules will reduce the risk of people getting sick. But some local police and sheriffs are refusing to enforce the rules.

"COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, it's getting worse," warned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, when he announced his state's mask mandate ahead of the July Fourth weekend.

Gov. Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine wearing face masks on June 23, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Health will issue a public health order requiring face masks in public in seven counties where the spread of COVID-19 is considered most severe.

Columbus City Hall
David Holm / WOSU

Columbus City Council on Monday night voted to add penalties to the city's face covering mandate. The ordinance replaces an executive order issued last week by Mayor Andrew Ginther, and requires residents over the age of 6 to wear facial coverings in all public spaces.

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