Akron City Council voted Monday to restrict all private gatherings to a maximum of six non-household members for the next 30 days. The emergency ordinance, proposed by Mayor Dan Horrigan and City Council President Margo Sommerville, aims to curb the spread of the Coronavirus as cases explode across the state.
The primary target of the legislation is the Thanksgiving holiday, when families traditionally congregate indoors for large meals. The ordinance not only limits the size of gatherings but imposes restrictions as well. According to the legislation, masks must be worn at all times when any non-resident is within six feet. (The mask rule does not apply to children, those actively eating, and those who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions. Masks are also not required outdoors, provided non-residents are maintaining appropriate social distance.)
Per City Council, Akron Police and the Summit County Public Health Department will enforce the ordinance at active large gatherings — residents are invited to report gatherings at the police's non-emergency tip line: (330) 375-2181 — with violators subject to a $250 fine. The city will send educational information to homes where complaints are filed about completed gatherings.
As with Cleveland's mask mandate, the Akron ordinance is designed not to punish, but to educate and encourage compliance to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
"The reality is that if we don’t take drastic action now, more of our neighbors and loved ones will die, our hospitals will be overrun and our restaurants, schools and businesses will suffer from additional shutdowns,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said.
Summit County, directly south of Cuyahoga, is a "red" county, (like virtually all of the state), indicating severe spread of the coronavirus. Summit has reported more than 10,800 total cases and 291 total deaths.
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