BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Saturday that his deputies will not enforce the Ohio Department of Health’s order mandating face masks for counties, including Wood, that have reached “red alert” level 3 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.
Wood County was designated as a “red alert” county by the Ohio Department of Health on Thursday, meaning face masks are required to be worn in public spaces to stymie the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Wasylyshyn said instead of his deputies handling complaints regarding residents not wearing face masks, his office will refer the complaints to the Wood County Health Department.
In addition to the face mask mandate, Wasylyshyn said his office will refer complaints regarding social distancing guidelines such as 6 feet distances between tables at restaurants to the health department.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, orders from the Ohio Department of Health shall be enforced by health authorities, police, sheriffs, and other public officials. Those who violate a health department order can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor and fined $750, as well as a 90 day jail sentence.
The big factor that pushed Wood County up to level 3 on the Public Health Advisory System was the community-wide spread of the virus, according to health officials.
Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey says he believes most complaints will involve businesses not enforcing the mask mandate, or large groups of people congregating without social distancing or face masks.