YELLOW SPRINGS — Through a recently-passed resolution, Yellow Springs is encouraging mask-wearing and other precautionary measures to protect residents, visitors, and business owners from COVID-19.
The village council passed the resolution June 15 requiring residents and visitors of the Central Business District to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and engage in frequent hand-washing while within the village-zoned district.
Exceptions for facial coverings include children under four and people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing facial coverings, according to the document. The resolution expires Dec. 30, 2020, or by an order by the governor or director of Ohio Department of Health that a state of emergency no longer exists.
The president of the village’s city council, Brian Housh, said that this was something Yellow Springs citizens have wanted for a while.
“We’ve been talking about where we should be with social distancing and face coverings for a couple months now,” he said. “Essentially every council meeting folks would raise this issue. We’ve received probably a hundred letters, which is the most feedback we’ve gotten on just about any issue.”
Many of those raised concerns pertain to visitors to Yellow Springs. Citizens expressed concerns that tourists or other Yellow Springs visitors are not adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Yellow Springs citizens are pretty much all wearing masks with a few exceptions,” Housh said. “Our villagers are taking it seriously, which may seem strange to some, as Yellow Springs has a reputation of being footloose and fancy free. But Yellow Springs, we’re not messing around.”
The council placed particular emphasis on making sure people know why it’s important to wear a mask. Research has shown that wearing a mask dramatically reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus, particularly when a victim is asymptomatic.
“People are still kind of learning about what’s the right thing to do. Part of the emphasis is on signage and officers giving friendly reminders,” Housh said.
At this point, compliance is voluntary. Currently, there is no penalty for not wearing a mask, and the village has no plans to implement fines or other penalties.
“We’re not oblivious to the fact that enforcement of this, especially in a small community, is very challenging. We’re not trying to do anything radical or draconian. We don’t want to go there,” said Housh.
The village has also implemented measures to help citizens adhere to these guidelines. The council has secured 2,000 masks and installed 25 new hand sanitizer stations around the town. Local businesses are also providing masks and hand sanitizer of their own.
“We’re just looking at just trying to protect everyone,” Housh added. “Do whatever you can to keep people safe. Be kind, be safe.”