Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Health Director Amy Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted Sunday issued a "stay at home" order which mandates that all Ohioans stay in their homes for all but essential outings and closes down non-essential businesses as defined by the Dept. of Homeland Security
. (The list of essential businesses is included on page five of the document below.)
The order is the strictest yet in Ohio's incremental efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and it makes official the recommendations that DeWine and Dr. Acton have been imploring Ohioans to take seriously for days.
DeWine said that "common sense" exceptions have been included in the state order, so people will still be permitted to leave their homes for groceries, carry-out meals, medical supplies and other essentials. People are permitted, indeed encouraged, to go outside for physical exercise (though not at public playgrounds) and are allowed to tend to family members, friends, and pets who may be in other homes and in need of care.
Essential businesses that remain open must adhere to health and safety protocols, including social distancing (at least six feet between workers) and regular cleaning. DeWine repeated that these protocols will now be part of an order, "not a suggestion," and that they can be enforced by both local health departments and law enforcement.
What DeWine calls the "stay at home" order has, in other states, been referred to as "Shelter in Place." California, New York and Illinois, along with New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana, have now all instituted versions of the same mandate. Ohio's will go into effect Monday at 11:59 p.m. and is currently scheduled to last until April 6. That date is of course subject to change.
DeWine also made an announcement about the state's daycare facilities. Starting Thursday, daycares will only be allowed to operate with a temporary pandemic childcare license. Facilities will be limited to a maximum of six children per classroom, what DeWine called a "dramatic" but necessary shift.
"We have not faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years," the governor said. "We are certainly at war. I don't know any other way to describe this. In a time of war, we have to make sacrifices."
Acton, too, continued to uncork wartime rhetoric, but said she had never been more hopeful that Ohioans would pull through the current pandemic.
"Today is the final order," she said. "It's absolutely essential that we don't do this in a piecemeal way. There's no time left. Listen to what Italy is telling us. Today is the day... This is not a joke. This is not a drill."
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio rose to 351 Sunday, including 125 in Cuyahoga County (the highest number among the state's 88 counties), with 83 hospitalizations and three confirmed deaths. DeWine and Acton both reiterated that the current data does not tell the full story of the Coronavirus in Ohio.
"Even the data you'll see in the future is minimal because we are conserving all our available testing for the most high-risk and hospitalized front line workers," DeWine wrote on social media shortly before the press conference.
You can read the full order below.
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