With Ohio’s statewide mask mandate now in effect as of 6 p.m. Thursday, the Tiffin Police Department is offering guidance for those who would like to report potential violations of the order.
Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens says his department supports the initiative to wear a mask or face covering within indoor spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but Tiffin PD will not actively enforce the mandate.
“The Governor’s mandate is a health-related order not a criminal justice related order,” Stevens said in a press release.
According to Stevens, citizens wishing to report potential violations of the order should not call 911 or the police non-emergency line. Instead, residents of Tiffin may report violations directly to the Seneca County General Health District through the Ohio Department of Health’s online complaint portal or by calling them at (419) 447-3691.
Businesses may deny entry to those who refuse to wear a facial covering. Certain exemptions for health and age reasons do apply and can be claimed, such as those under the age of 10-years-old, medical conditions including respiratory conditions that restrict breathing. Additionally, if individuals are communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication, the requirement to wear a facial covering does not apply.
Business owners should be familiar with these exemptions and adopt policies on how to respond to patrons.
“The Tiffin Police Department supports private property rights. We will respond to calls from business owners to inform, educate, and through de-escalation, attempt to resolve any issues an owner may encounter but understand that we are not the mask police and are only responding to a trespass issue or potential disorderly conduct issue,” Stevens said in the release.