Herald Staff Writer
Akron City Council passed an ordinance with a 9-3 vote Monday evening limiting private gatherings to no more than six guests from outside the household unit for the next 30 days. People are also required to wear masks during private gatherings. Failure to comply may result in a $250 fine.
The ordinance, proposed by Mayor Dan Horrigan, was introduced with the intention to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the number of cases have continued to climb. He said in addition to saving lives, he hopes this ordinance will also help prevent additional shutdowns of businesses and schools. He stated, “If this ordinance puts you out that much and it’s going to change your daily behavior that much, maybe you’re not doing enough to be able to stop the spread.” He said it may be a radical step, but it’s important to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system.
Dr. Cliff Deveny explained the number of cases have increased significantly, from an average of approximately 20 patients with COVID-19 at both Barberton Summa Hospital and Akron City Hospital just three weeks ago to 88 today, averaging 15-20 new admissions on a daily basis. He also stated that the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are about 90% full at this time. “The big issue now is finding enough people to work to take care of these patients.”
The ordinance will be enforced by both the Akron Police Department and the Summit County Health Department. People can report large private gatherings in progress to the Akron Police Department by calling the non-emergency line, 330-375-2181.