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City of Akron ordinance on private gatherings will soon expire, but mayor has message for residents – WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — An ordinance announced in November to limit private gatherings in Akron will be allowed to expire on December 16.

 Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the City will not be looking to renew the restrictions at this time.

” The data was, and remains, very clear: community spread of COVID-19 is happening at home. The private gathering ordinance was an attempt to disrupt complacency, counteract misinformation about where risk is greatest, and urgently increase COVID protocols within citizens’ homes to slow the spread of this deadly virus,” Mayor Horrigan said.

The legislation states the following:

  • No gatherings with more than six additional guests will be allowed in private homes. A “guest” is someone who does not reside at the home.
  • When complying groups DO gather inside private homes, all must wear masks. Exceptions include while eating, those who have an underlying medical condition and anyone under 10 years old.

The mayor released the following message to residents Thursday:

“I am confident that this ordinance captured people’s attention and resulted in voluntary compliance by residents across our City.  I have heard of many families that made the decision to cancel or scale back large gatherings based on this law, and that was exactly what needed to occur. In terms of enforcement—we effectively deployed an education-based approach. We were never forced to issue fines, and both police and public health implemented the private gathering rules with professional compassion and sound judgment. I thank them for their efforts.

However, Akron is the center of hospital and medical care for the entire County of Summit, and surrounding counties as well.  The City and hospital systems unsuccessfully urged other cities and authorities to assist in scaling up these important restrictions. In consultation with our public health officials, it is clear that this impeded effectiveness, as Akron daily welcomes workers, patients, and visitors from across the region.  Without appropriate scale, public health measures such as ours will not be effective in slowing community spread.

While other cities and states have banned or more strictly limited private gatherings–Akron’s ordinance was specifically designed to uphold citizens’ Constitutional rights and allow residents to continue to gather with family and friends in a responsible way.  Akron small business owners and families are financially, socially and emotionally exhausted during this pandemic, especially those with loved ones fighting for their lives in ICU beds right now.  Our priority remains to help our residents navigate the loss, fear, and uncertainty of this pandemic. We are here to continue to serve you, no matter what.

We remain within the darkest days of this pandemic, and it will be months before we begin to emerge from it.  The local conditions have only worsened since early November, when Akron’s three hospital systems came together to ask us to take this action to help them save lives.  Summit County has since turned ‘purple’ and many medical providers are facing even more urgent staffing crises, and have begun to cancel elective procedures.  We are currently reactivating regional plans regarding mass casualty protocols, including the use of mobile morgues and auxiliary hospital facilities.

Lives can still be saved, but only if we take our shared responsibility to one another seriously.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank you—the Akron residents who have done your best to follow public health guidelines, change your behavior, and sacrifice daily for the health and wellbeing of your families and neighbors.  And especially those who continue to work in healthcare and on the front lines of this pandemic across our community.  To me, your sacrifices and commitment exemplify patriotism.  One day, hopefully in the coming months, we will be able to look back on this challenging period and be proud of the lessons we taught our children and grandchildren about how to care for one another and about the resiliency of the Akron community.”

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