Ohio gov insists mask mandate for seven ‘red counties’ will make ‘huge difference’ to slow COVID-19 spread

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine claimed on “Your World” Wednesday that his order for people in seven counties with high numbers of COVID-19 cases to wear a mask in public will make a “huge difference” in slowing the spread of coronavirus in his state.

“We ordered people in the seven counties when they are out in public — not when they are riding a bike, not when they are out jogging, not even when they are walking their dogs, but if they go into a public building, they go into a restaurant, they go into a jewelry store … in those seven counties where we are seeing the biggest spike in our cases, we put out an order that goes into effect at 6:00 tonight for people to do that,” DeWine explained to host Neil Cavuto.

CORONAVIRUS CASES SURGE IN OHIO, HIGHLIGHTING TROUBLING CONDITIONS IN STATE’S PRISONS

DeWine’s order covers the counties of Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull. The cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton are located within counties that are covered by the order.

Residents over the age of 10 will be required to wear a face-covering in any enclosed area, including stores, offices, and while riding public transportation, DeWine announced Tuesday.

The mandate will be enforced by local authorities who will issue misdemeanor citations to those who violate it.

“We just think that it will make a huge difference,” DeWine said. “We’ve got to slow this down. Today, I think we had well over 1,200 [new] cases. That is high for us.”

TEXAS GOVERNOR RAMPS UP CORONAVIRUS FACE-MASK ORDER

Although masks are not required in areas outside of the designated “red counties,” the governor urged all Ohio residents to do the “right thing” and cover their faces when out in public.

“Everybody else, we’re still trying to persuade them,” he said. “I think we are getting more and more people wearing masks in public. We tell people, ‘No matter where you live in Ohio, it is the right thing to do to protect your neighbor, to protect your friends, to slow the spread down.'”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

DeWine added, “If we want to keep businesses open, if we want to keep our economy moving forward, we have got to keep control, or at least some control of this virus.”

Asked earlier in the interview about his plans to reopen schools in the fall, DeWine said he is leaving the decision in the hands of local leaders, but emphasized that he is working with them “to do everything that we can to get them back in school” by September.

Yael Halon is a reporter for Fox News.