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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Yellow Springs Is First Ohio Community To Require Facemasks, Social Distancing

Yellow Springs is the first municipality in Ohio to pass a resolution requiring mask-wearing and social distancing.
Yellow Springs is the first municipality in Ohio to pass a resolution requiring mask-wearing and social distancing.

Yellow Springs is the first community in Ohio to require people to wear facemasks in public during the pandemic.

Yellow Springs is First Community in Ohio to Require Facemasks, Social Distancing

On Friday morning, Village Councilman Brian Housh was walking through downtown Yellow Springs, wearing a mask and putting up signs asking others to do the same.

“Our residents have made it really clear that they wanted more action taken,” Housh said. “And in light of spikes [in coronavirus cases] in Greene County and Montgomery County, this is something that’s not going away.”

The village resolution requires people wear masks, observe social distancing, and frequently wash or sanitize their hands.

The rules only apply to the central business district, which is often crowded, especially on weekends when tourists flock to Yellow Springs.

There is no fine for breaking any of those rules, and that has some residents worried there may be no teeth behind this mask resolution.

Housh says the village is taking it one step at a time and he hopes asking nicely will work.

“True to Yellow Springs style, we want to be welcoming and be kind, but if this doesn’t send a clear enough signal and if we don’t get the right compliance, we will continue to assess to try to get it right,” Housh said.

On June 27, Yellow Springs will host its annual Pride Parade, which should be the first big test for Ohio's first facemask resolution.

Correction - June 23, 2020: A previous version of the caption under this story's photograph used the word "ordinance" to describe the action taken by the Yellow Springs Village Council. It is in fact a non-binding resolution.

Copyright 2020 WYSO