Local authorities in Ohio have set up a hotline for residents to report people who are not wearing face masks amid a rise in cases of COVID-19.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced during a Friday press briefing that people who see others violating Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's order mandating masks in 12 counties could call into the hotline or file complaints online. By Monday, the county had received more than 500 complaints.
"It’s been overwhelming," Budish told USA TODAY.
When a complaint is received, Budish said the county will contact the individual or business owner involved and then forward that information to the Board of Health and relevant municipal authorities.
Budish said Friday that in the case of repeated complaints or “serious non-compliance,” the Sheriff’s Department could investigate or potentially "take further action." He said those who violate the state's order can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
"It's our hope that this kind of action won't be necessary," Budish said during the press conference."I can assure you that no one wants to penalize people for not wearing a mask."
Although sheriff's deputies and local police can enforce the order, Budish said there are not enough people in law enforcement to track down those who don't comply. He said that the county established its hotline to allow the Board of Health to focus on contact tracing and testing.
"Please help stop the spread," Budish said. "Just wear a darn mask."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ohio county creates hotline to report people not wearing face masks