“We are now at the most crucial phase of this pandemic.”
Last night, Mike DeWine gave a highly anticipated press conference amid surging cases throughout the state of Ohio. The governor opted to not issue any further restrictions; instead, DeWine implored state residents to limit their activities and do their part to curb the spread.
DeWine opened his address explaining the recent news regarding Pfizer’s newly developed vaccine. Explaining that the vaccine would be distributed throughout the state in the coming months, first to the most vulnerable and essential health workers.
Until then, DeWine continued, “we are now at the most crucial phase of this pandemic; we are in the midst of the third wave in Ohio.” DeWine reiterates the events of the second wave of cases in Ohio that occurred during the summer. In which the governor explains how following that wave, mask orders were enacted, resulting in a dramatic drop of cases. This third wave, DeWine, contends is more intense, dangerous, and widespread. In the spring and summer, the highest number of COVID patients in Ohio hospitals at a given time was 1,100. Last week, there were 2,000 COVID patients. “Today, one week later, we are now approaching 3,000.”
“Today, I was asked by our hospital leaders to confirm that Ohio remains in a state of emergency,” DeWine said. “Tonight, it most certainly does.”
DeWine insisted on getting “back to the basics” by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, withholding from parties, and accessing fresh air. Furthermore, DeWine expounded upon the efficacy of wearing masks as the “easiest and most cost-efficient way to limit the spread of the virus.”
To limit the spread of the virus, protect frontline, essential, and retail workers as well as customers and citizens alike, the mask order, originally implemented on July 23, would be reinstated with three provisions:
- Businesses must display mandatory mask-wearing signs on storefronts
- Businesses must enforce mask wearing policy in stores
- A new retail compliance unit to inspect compliance of mask order in stores
Regarding the third provision, stores that violate the order a first time will be issued a warning. A second violation will result in a temporary closure (up to 24 hours).
Also previous orders implemented to limit the spread of the virus remain in effect, such as limiting gatherings to 10 people. Additionally, DeWine warned that in the case of a continued surge in cases, “we will be forced to close restaurants, bars, and fitness centers.” The state will reconvene on this idea in a week.