An Ohio county that includes the city of Cleveland has established a hotline to report people who are defying state order by not wearing face masks amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the state.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced the hotline Friday. The complaints will be sorted by county employees and forwarded to the presiding city or village.
“This is not intended to be going out and finding people not wearing masks. We want people to wear their masks… We want people to do it voluntarily,” Budish told Cleveland.com.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) issued an order mandating masks this week. However, the order only applies to the state’s seven counties with the most COVID-19 cases.
DeWine's office said that the order, which does not apply to children below the age of 10, will be reassessed every week.
Budish told the newspaper that although officers have the authority to enforce the order, there’s not enough resources throughout the county to track down those who are not adhering to it.
Those who are charged with violating the state’s order will face second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Ohio is among a swath of states in the U.S. currently experiencing a surge in cases. On Friday the state reported the highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,525 new infections and 26 deaths.
As of Saturday the state has confirmed over 64,000 cases and 3,036 deaths.