Revised limit to Ohio mass gatherings takes effect Tuesday

Revised limit to Ohio mass gatherings takes effect Tuesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Monday that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a revised health order to limit mass gatherings in Ohio.

“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” Gov. DeWine said. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”

According to the revised order, wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities are subject to the following restrictions:

  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing.
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.

The order does not apply to religious observances; First Amendment protected speech, including petition or referendum circulators, and any activity by media; and to governmental meetings which include meetings that are required to be open to the public.

It goes into effect Tuesday, Nov.17 at 12:01 a.m.

Last week, DeWine sent strong warnings to Ohioans about what could happen if Ohio’s COVID-19 cases continue to increase at a rapid rate.

The governor warned restaurants, bars and fitness center will face closure if the spread of the virus does not slow. He said he will evaluate that decision on Thursday.

“If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to make these closures,” the governor said. “I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and owners, but these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

Health officials said Ohioans must get back to the basic principles.

Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands, and not expanding personal bubbles will help bring the COVID-19 spread under control, the officials stated.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click here to report it. Please include title of story.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.