JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Commissioners  discussed exemptions for the order requiring that everyone entering county buildings to wear masks during their meeting Wednesday.

The county issued an order requiring every visitor to a county government owned building to wear a mask starting on May 4 in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. Wednesday’s discussion centered around spelling out exemptions to the order.

A person had reached out to the commissioners asking if there were exemptions to the order.

There have been people who visited county buildings and have provided letters explaining medical exemptions to wearing masks, Commissioner Kathryn Whittington said.

The commissioners decided to reach out to County Prosecutor Cecilia Cooper to ask if the commissioners have the authority to require people to wear masks and what exemptions there can be.

The decision to require masks for visitors was made to protect county employees, Whittington said.

“The governor mandated that our employees wear masks to protect their coworkers and the public that they were dealing with,” Whittington said. “Our employees are required to protect the public. I feel that the public should be granting that same courtesy to our employees that are essential.”

In other business

• With jury trials scheduled to start again next week, the commissioners discussed hiring a cleaning company to regularly clean courtrooms where trials are being held.

When the COVID-19 outbreak started to impact Ashtabula, the Court of Common Pleas issued an emergency order limiting access to the courthouse. Trials were rescheduled in a number of cases, and social distancing was required in the Courthouse.

At Tuesday’s work session, the commissioners discussed whether or not to have the courtrooms cleaned every day while a trial is taking place.

• The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is scheduled to reopen on Friday, June 5.The facility closed down this spring in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The restaurant and indoor pool will reopen on June 5 as well, said County Administrator Janet Discher.

The commissioners discussed going to visit the hotel before it reopens, so that they would be able to give a first-hand account of steps being taken to protect visitors.


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