Gov. DeWine announces statewide curfew to slow COVID-19 spread

Gov. DeWine gives update on state’s coronavirus response

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a statewide curfew starting Thursday, Nov. 19 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The curfew will be in effect for 21 days from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Retail establishments should be closed and people should be at home during those hours, the governor said.

DeWine adds that going to work, an emergency, or medical care are exceptions to the curfew. He says it’s also not intended to prevent people from going to a pharmacy or getting groceries.

Take out, drive-thru, and meal delivery is still allowed but no food and drink can be served in person after 10 p.m.

“We’re not shutting down we’re slowing down,” DeWine said. “The curfew is aimed at helping to reduce the number of person-to-person contacts because the only way the virus lives is when it goes from one person to another. We have to flatten this curve again and get this under control.”

The governor went on to say that cutting down personal contact, social distancing and mask-wearing will go a long way to reduce the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Health say, as of Nov. 17, there were 312,443 COVID-19 and 5,772 COVID-19 deaths in the state.

That’s an increase of 7,079 cases in 24 hours.

DeWine explained how hospitalizations have increased dramatically. On Oct. 13, Ohio had 1,000 people in hospitals:

  • Nov. 5: 2,000
  • Nov. 12: 3,000
  • Nov. 17: 3,648

“We are at a critical juncture. We need to protect our healthcare workers. Even if we take necessary changes immediately, it will take weeks before we see improvement in hospital numbers. Even if you don’t believe in masks, please wear one,” Ohio’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said.

Here is a look at the total cases and deaths in the FOX19 NOW viewing area:

  • Hamilton County - 26,006 cases, 363 deaths
  • Butler County - 12,874 cases, 139 deaths
  • Warren County - 6,912 cases, 72 deaths
  • Clermont County - 4,685 cases, 44 deaths
  • Brown County - 769 cases, four deaths

“The good news is that a vaccine is coming, but the bad news is that the situation in Ohio is deteriorating,” the governor said.

The decision to impose a 21-day curfew was not made lightly, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.

"You have to care about both the economy and health - you can’t just care about one in isolation. Based on all of the recommendations we considered, a curfew was the most impactful options with the least disruption.

In another step to prevent COVID-19 spread, Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a revised health order Monday to limit mass gatherings in the state.

“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,” DeWine said. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”

He also reissued the mask mandate with several provisions, including an enforcement provision and penalties for violations.

DeWine says retail stores are required to post signs telling patrons they must wear masks within the stores.

The governor said due to the spread of the virus, the odds of getting COVID-19 are much higher.

“This is a different ballgame. We must all wear masks, practice social distancing, and protect one another,” he said.

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 centers will face closure if the spread of the virus does not slow. He said he will evaluate that decision on Thursday.

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