Masks Required at OSU Games, Columbus Concerts, City Buildings and More
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control placed Franklin County in the high transmission category in its COVID-19 Integrated County data tracker.
In response to the increased level of transmission and a rising number of cases attributed to the Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy, a number of Central Ohio institutions are requiring individuals to wear masks again, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
As is the case made for the city’s mask advisory issued last week, breakthrough cases — that is, fully vaccinated people who become infected — can be infectious and spread the virus to others.
City officials have used the situation to encourage residents to get vaccinated, in addition to wearing masks. Earlier this week, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced that starting Monday, August 16, all employees and visitors to city buildings must wear masks, regardless of vaccine status.
“The vaccine remains our best tool in the fight against COVID-19. Masks add an extra layer of protection to employees and visitors to our buildings,” said Mayor Ginther. “It is crucial that we all work together and do all that we can to assure that our city can reopen fully and our kids can go back to in-person school.”
“The Delta variant is extremely contagious, and we must do everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect health,” said Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “The best way to protect yourself is to layer prevention measures. Get vaccinated and wear a mask when you are indoors or in crowded settings.”
The plea is also in an effort to protect young people, as children under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines at this time.
This follows a Columbus City Schools policy requiring all students, staff and visitors to wear masks inside buildings and on school buses announced late last month.
An Ohio State University mask policy — requiring all students, faculty, staff and visitors to all university campuses and medical facilities to wear masks indoors, with unvaccinated individuals required to do so outdoors when physical distancing isn’t possible — was announced earlier this week. The university has also moved to limit contact at Ohio Stadium by making parking and concession stand locations cashless as well as going digital for parking permits and game tickets.
And the Columbus Clippers announced a similar mask policy this week.
Taking policies a step further, AEG Presents, the parent company of Promowest Productions, will require all U.S. concertgoers and events staff to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of a show date. The negative test policy will be in effect starting on August 18 at Promowest venues. The policy includes clubs, theaters and festivals and for Central Ohioans, means fans attending shows at Express Live!, Newport Music Hall, The Basement and A&R Music Bar will be affected by the policy.
Masks are still strongly encouraged for patrons, even among the vaccinated, but are only required for employees.