A joint message from Athens Mayor Steve Patterson, Athens City-County Health Commissioner Dr. James Gaskell, MD, and Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis
The City of Athens, Athens City-County Health Department, and Ohio University have become aware of an effort to organize a “fest” event for this weekend. Any such gathering would be in direct violation of the State Health Director’s order prohibiting public assemblies of 50 or more people, which specifically includes festivals. As such, the City of Athens will not permit these events to take place as long as the Health Director’s order remains in effect. Any attempt to assemble in violation of the Health Director’s order will result in immediate action by law enforcement, with charges for those in violation potentially including criminal offenses such as misconduct at an emergency, failure to disperse, and riot. In addition to the criminal consequences, one or more of these charges could also result in suspension or dismissal from any public university in Ohio, as well as possible suspension of state funded financial aid for a period of up to two (2) years. We cannot overstate the seriousness of this situation and thus, for the sake of everyone’s health and safety, we strongly discourage any attempt to organize “fests” while the Health Director’s order remains in effect.