Ohio moving from stay-at-home orders to ‘strong recommendations’

Gov. DeWine gives update on state’s coronavirus response

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a new urgent health advisory called ‘Ohioans Protecting Ohioans’ that moves away from orders to “strong recommendations."

“This is a new phase in our battle against COVID-19, and it is incumbent upon each of us to protect each other,” DeWine said.

The new advisory incorporates the following recommendations:

  • Six feet of social distancing; a limit of 10 people for mass gatherings; frequent hand-washing; and other sanitizing efforts.
  • It incorporates all of the business orders about social distancing and sanitation, including employees wearing masks, as well as efforts to protect employees and efforts to protect the public.
  • It considers the most vulnerable Ohioans as those who can suffer the worst impacts from the virus. The order strongly recommends that high-risk Ohioans stay at home as much as possible. They should avoid places where they are likely to encounter a lot of people.
  • Our Urgent Health Advisory recommends (but does not require) all other Ohioans to stay at their place of residence when possible with the intent of lowering the rate of spread of COVID-19.
  • While the orders have included limited travel restrictions, these will now be lifted. However, while unnecessary travel within or outside of the state of Ohio is still permitted, it is not encouraged.

“The coronavirus is not gone. It is real. And it is deadly. This new phase that we are now in is about learning to live with this virus. It is with us - it will remain with us - and we must do all we can to contain it and keep it from killing our fellow citizens,” DeWine said. What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread. No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving the lives of so many of our fellow citizens."

On Monday, DeWine announced he is putting together an enforcement team as part of Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) that will be made up of law enforcement and health officials to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.

Ohio’s bars and restaurants were allowed to open their patios on May 15 with strict social distancing guidelines. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21.

DeWine said he will not stand for restaurants violating the state’s safety rules.

“They will issue administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. Further, we will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against these bad actors,” DeWine said.

Last week, DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced several reopening for the state including daycares, pools and gyms.

Daycare and child care centers in Ohio can reopen on May 31.

Other announced reopenings:

  • Campgrounds will open completely statewide on May 21.
  • BMV’s will open on May 26. Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online.
  • Gyms, fitness centers, and recreation centers can reopen on May 26.
  • Sports leagues, non-contact, limited-contact sports, can be reestablished May 26. Other high-contact sports are still being considered.
  • Pools can open on May 26 if they are regulated by local health departments. This does not include water parks or amusement parks.
  • Horse racing can resume on May 22. However, spectators will be prohibited.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted spoke about school-related sporting activities.

“The state will begin to coordinate with OHSAA to get a better picture of what can be done to limit the spread of coronavirus but possibly allow sports,” he said.

Husted said by the end of May, about 95% of the Ohio economy will be open.

“But the true success of this phase depends on the individual and collective response. It will be up to each one of us to do the right thing by each other,” he said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 28,952 coronavirus cases and 1,720 deaths.

Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said if Ohioans don’t continue to take safety precautions, wear masks, and social distance COVID-19 will spread quickly.

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