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Miami updates guidelines on outdoor gatherings and shares vaccination progress

Oxford City Council lifted its ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people at its May 4 meeting. The ordinance was passed as an emergency measure to go into effect immediately. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 non-household guests are still prohibited.

Miami University’s COVID Response Team outlined the changes in its most recent weekly email.

The gathering ban first went into effect almost a year ago as an emergency measure and limited gatherings to no more than 10 people from different households, indoors or outdoors. 

Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene said each ordinance was passed as an emergency measure to allow the city to respond to changing conditions around COVID-19 more quickly than a normal ordinance would allow. Typically, an ordinance has to be read at two different council meetings before it can go into effect.

“As we know, the risk of COVID-19 spreading outdoors is considerably less than indoor gatherings,” City Manager Doug Elliott said at the council meeting. “In addition, the Ohio Department of Health has rescinded the state order for outdoor gatherings, and I believe the city should follow the lead then of the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC.”

Mask wearing and social distancing are not impacted by the policy change.

“All gatherings must still follow the mask ordinance and are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for gatherings,” the response team wrote.

Oxford’s mask ordinance currently requires residents to wear masks when in public outdoor spaces where it is hard to maintain a social distance of six feet or more.

Council’s May 4 agenda included an ordinance to repeal prior guidance requiring face masks in public spaces, but it was tabled and will be revisited at the next meeting on May 18 after most students have left Oxford.

Elsewhere in its email, the COVID Response Team noted more than 6,000 students and employees have notified the university that they are fully vaccinated. Students who want to update their vaccination status with Miami should visit the MedProctor Portal to provide vaccine documentation. 

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