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Masks now required for all visitors at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

This follows an executive order by the mayor.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is now requiring all of its visitors to wear face masks, in line with a new executive order signed by Mayor Frank G. Jackson.

Jackson unveiled the order Friday and the new zoo rules went into effect Saturday. Officials, citing overwhelming evidence, say the measures will help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The mayor preempted the actions of City Council, but will now ask the legislature to pass additions that will allow for enforcement of the mandate. Specifically, patrons who fail to wear masks in public could be fined up to $25, while businesses who don't follow safety and social distancing protocols would face penalties in the thousands of dollars and possible closure.

"The spike in coronavirus cases across the City of Cleveland warrants the mandated use of masks," Jackson said in a statement. "If Clevelanders do not heed these critical warnings and prevention efforts, the effects will be disastrous to the economy and, most importantly, to individuals and families. No one is immune to this virus."

More than 3,000 Clevelanders have contracted the virus, and Cuyahoga County is currently under a "Level 3" COVID-19 state health advisory. The city is just the latest in Ohio to order masks be worn in public spaces.

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The zoo reopened Wednesday after previously being ordered to close by Gov. Mike DeWine at the height of the pandemic. Reservations are available through July 19.

RELATED: Man charged with criminal trespassing after climbing snow leopard exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo