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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Ohio's Revised Mass Gathering Order Goes Into Effect Today. Here's What's New

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 10:02 AM

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As COVID cases in Ohio continue to hit record-breaking numbers, the Ohio Department of Health has updated its order regarding mass gatherings to help control the spread of the virus.

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

The updated order, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 17, says:

  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited — this includes public and private gatherings, but does not apply to wedding ceremonies or funerals.
  • At wedding receptions, funerals and banquet facilities, there will be no dancing or other socializing in "open congregate areas;" guests must remain seated; if there is food and drink, it must be served to seated guests — no self-serve bars or buffets allowed; masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food and drink; no more than 10 people can be seated at a table and those at the table must be from the same household. Traditions including a first dance, toasts and cutting of the cake are permitted.
  • Arcade games, pinball machines, pool tables, dart boards, juke boxes and other coin-operated entertainments are still permitted as long as they follow the guidelines issued in June.
Local health departments have been given authority to enforce this and answer questions.

The order doesn't apply to religious observances, First Amendment-protected speech or government meetings.

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