Ohio Gov. DeWine orders all bars, restaurants to close starting Sunday

Updated: Mar. 15, 2020 at 3:35 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he has asked Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton to sign an order closing all bars and restaurants in the state by 9 p.m. Sunday.

Businesses are still allowed to be open for carry-out and delivery.

“If you can walk in, buy a donut, buy a coffee, walk out, that’s ok,” DeWine said. “So carry-out is fine. Delivery is fine.”

As to the duration of the order, DeWine said: “It will be in effect until as long as it needs to.”

Related | Beshear urges responsible behavior, falls short of ordering closures

To assist workers impacted by the closures, DeWine said he will issue an executive order creating several changes to Ohio’s unemployment law and state agency policy, including waiving wait times for unemployment benefits and work requirements for those quarantined and those affected by business closures.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted added he is working with the federal government to allow small businesses and nonprofits to apply for low-interest loans to pay for certain expenses incurred by coronavirus.

“The more we can keep people in their homes, the more we can stop people from congregating, the better off we are,” DeWine said. “We are taking these steps to save lives.”

DeWine added closing daycares “will happen” but not at this point, calling the move too “abrupt” to do overnight.

Asked about why the elections weren’t being shut down, DeWine said: “First of all, we’ve been voting for four weeks; voting is spread out. Second, people have the ability to separate at the elections, it is not a mass gathering, it does not come under that qualification. It is important for us to exercise our constitutional rights, and to interrupt an election in the middle of it poses some very, very serious consequences.”

Ohio Sec. of State Frank LaRose is scheduled to update the public on additional precautions being implemented in order to enhance the safety of voters on Election Day Monday at 10 a.m.

Related | Primary polling locations moved from nursing homes due to coronavirus concerns | Full Coronavirus Coverage

On Saturday DeWine said Ohio has 26 confirmed cases. Seven of those with confirmed cases have been hospitalized. Their ages range from 31 to 86.

Ohio now has 36 positive cases of coronavirus, Acton said.

“It is getting increasingly hard to give you numbers that are accurate because it is pouring in so quickly,” Acton said.

Acton added: “This is the real thing. This is not a drill. This is a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, and everything we do matters."

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