As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, a mask mandate remains in place for city employees, Mayor Edward H. Kraus said last week.

But despite the increase in positive cases and new variants, it is not his intention to switch back to having employees working from home, he noted.

“Half of our work force cannot work from home,” Mayor Kraus said of such employees as the safety forces or engineering department, for example. “I really feel we can do this in person.

“That is why a mask mandate is important for our staff,” he said. “We have enough space to spread out.”

I am a big believer in working here, and there is something to be said about in-person encounters,” he said. “You can do it safely and with a mask.”

Without staff in place in the city buildings, “you don’t have that same collegial environment.

“You don’t have the same sharing of ideas together if you are just at home,” he said.

“It’s a safe place to work,” Mayor Kraus added of of City Hall and the various city buildings.

City meetings are continuing to be held in person, he said, with City Council members donning masks at all times.

Mayor Kraus said that Solon is among the highest in Cuyahoga County of people who have been vaccinated, numbering over 80 percent.

“Everyone (here) takes it very seriously,” he said.

For the public entering city buildings, it is difficult to mandate masks, Mayor Kraus continued, “but we have strongly encouraged people to wear them.”

Mayor Kraus said he plans to hold various outdoor events and festivals throughout 2022 despite the ongoing pandemic.

“We have to be flexible and be able to pivot and understand where the world and the economy is going,” he said, adding that the festivals, such as Home Days and farmer’s markets, were held outdoors and gave people a chance to congregate and be social.

“All these events we did helped us get back to a sense of normalcy,” he said. “Even though it (COVID-19) is still here, you have to move forward as a community.”

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