Mar 7, 2022 - COVID

Columbus City Council rescinds mask mandate

Illustration of a mask with the word "exit" punched out to look like an exit sign.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Masks are no longer required in Columbus public spaces, City Council members decided Monday evening.

  • Mayor Andrew Ginther approved the ordinance in short order, making the decision official.

Why it matters: The removal of Columbus' last major public health mandate reflects a growing approach for society to live with COVID-19 as infection and hospitalization statistics continue to decline.

What they're saying: "While the pandemic is not over, the situation has changed and we are in a new phase," Council Member Shayla Favor, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee and proposed the ordinance, said during Monday's city council meeting.

Flashback: Columbus has been in this position before. The city was without a mask requirement in mid-2021 before Ginther reissued it in September amid the Delta variant surge.

State of play: The CDC now recommends masks in communities with high transmission, which no longer includes Franklin County.

  • Masks are still encouraged for vulnerable populations and private entities like restaurants and businesses can still opt to require them.
  • "What we're doing tonight does not mean we should throw caution to the wind," Favor said.

Of note: Council's vote comes almost two years to the day that the first Ohioans tested positive for COVID, setting off a state of emergency and other health restrictions now in the process of being removed — possibly for good.

Editor's note: This story was updated after the mayor approved the ordinance.

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