If you see someone without a mask, don’t call Portsmouth Police to report it. Masks are required in public places due to Scioto County’s red alert health status. Portsmouth City Council passed even tougher legislation on Monday that required masks at businesses within the city limits.
Don’t Call Police
However, a post on the PPD Facebook page makes it clear that police won’t be enforcing that rule. According to PPD, “If you see someone who you believe is not complying with the mask order, and you feel you must report it, DO NOT call the police department. We do not enforce the mask order. The health department is in charge of that. If they ask us for assistance, we will assist them but we will not be writing any citations for an administrative order.”
When Portsmouth City Council considered the mask ordinance on Monday, Belinda Leslie from the Portsmouth City Health Department told the council, “While the Health Department fully agrees with the mandatory wearing of masks, we do not have the manpower to enforce. It needs to be enforced by the police. We are happy to help but cannot do it alone.” However, responsibility for enforcement is in the hands of the Portsmouth City Health Department.
Where Are Masks Required?
- Masks are required at all businesses that are open to the public. The law makes it clear you have to wear the mask while in the business, in line to enter a business, and while coming and going from a business.
- Mask up when visiting any building or facility operated by the City of Portsmouth must mask up. As with businesses, you also need a mask while entering, exiting, or waiting in line. The same holds true for County Offices located within the city.
- Outdoors in public spaces where six feet of social distancing isn’t possible.
- Taking a bus or a cab? You’ll need a mask. Riding in a taxi or using a rideshare service? Put on your mask. Even if you hire a private car, masks are required. This does not apply to people traveling alone or riding with friends in their personal vehicles.
- Down on the Farm. Even if you work outside, you’ll need to mask up if social distancing is difficult. That includes folks working in construction and farming.
- While most healthcare facilities already have mask rules in place, this new ordinance mentions them specifically. Workers in long-term, skilled nursing, adult care, family care homes, mental health care homes, and facilities for those with intellectual disabilities must wear surgical masks.
What happens if you don’t wear a mask? That depends on if you’re a business owner or an individual. The language of the ordinance reads as if the city is placing the brunt of the enforcement burden on businesses.
If a business is failing to enforce the ordinance, they face:
- A warning for the first violation
- $500 fine for the second violation
- $1000 fine for each violation after that.
Individuals who don’t mask up face:
- A warning for the first violation
- $25 for each violation after that
Who Can Skip The Mask?
- Kids under six
- School employees under the direction of their district
- Exercisers as long as they stay six feet apart.
- People inside places of worship.
- Anyone actively eating or drinking in a business.
- If you’re talking to someone who is hearing-impaired
- When giving a speech for a broadcast or speaking to an audience.
- Anyone at home or driving their own car.
- Patients in need of medical treatment
- When you must identify yourself
- If masks make it hard to drive or post a safety issue at your job.
- In a private office as long as the social distance is maintained.
- First responders and anyone complying with orders from a first responder.