Feb 17, 2022 - COVID

Columbus' mask mandates may be lifted soon

A man walks into a store with a sign on the window reading, "Mask Mandate Must Wear Mask Prior To Coming In."

Masks have been required in Columbus public spaces like Polaris Fashion Place since September. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images

Area leaders are preparing to lift their respective cities' mask requirements in public places with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the decline.

Driving the news: The waning of the Omnicron variant has state and local governments across the U.S. moving to drop their pandemic restrictions.

  • The cities of Columbus, Bexley, Whitehall and Worthington all plan to rescind their mask mandates in the coming weeks if trends continue, their leaders stated in a news release yesterday.

State of play: A total of 363 people in the central Ohio region were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, per Ohio Department of Health data, down from 646 just two weeks ago.

Context: Columbus repealed its initial mask requirement last summer, but Mayor Andrew Ginther reissued it via executive order in September.

  • Ginther isn't ruling out future health orders if new variants pop up.
  • Two Republican lawmakers have sought to prevent cities from instituting mask mandates, but their proposal has made little progress.

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