On Wednesday, July 22, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
STATEWIDE MASK ORDER
Governor DeWine announced that beginning on Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 p.m., a statewide mask mandate will go into effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties.
“Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction,” said Governor DeWine. “We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread.”
All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:
- At an indoor location that is not a residence
- Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
- Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.
The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:
- Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
- Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
- Those who are officiants at religious services;
- Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
- Those who are actively eating or drinking.
Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.
STATEWIDE TRAVEL WARNING
Governor DeWine announced today a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher.
Those traveling from one of the following states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel.
- South Carolina
The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.
“I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others,” said Governor DeWine.
Ohio’s positivity rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, has been around 6.2 percent.
Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for tips on how to effectively quarantine.
Governor DeWine today urged citizens to use extreme caution when considering attending or hosting an informal gathering.
“We are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from everyday events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, children’s sleepovers, weddings, and even bridal showers,” said Governor DeWine. “This virus is real, and we cannot let our guards down.”
CONGRESSIONAL LETTER REQUESTING LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
Lt. Governor Husted today announced that Governor DeWine has signed onto a letter to Congressional leadership with 20 other fellow Governors from across the nation, calling for reasonable limited liability protections for businesses, schools, healthcare workers, and governments as they are reopened during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The letter calls for predictable, timely, targeted liability protections to shield employers from legal risks associated with the spread of the novel coronavirus, so long as they are following the appropriate standards of care to protect their employees, customers, and students. The letter specifically requests that the protections be drawn in a narrow fashion as to not give license for gross negligence, misconduct, or recklessness.
Similar calls for liability protection have been made by Ohio’s leading business organizations. In addition to Governor DeWine, the letter was co-signed by the Governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
NEW PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will sponsor two new public service announcements created in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, OhioHealth, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Business Roundtable. #MasksOnOhio
The first PSA features real Ohioans explaining why all Ohioans should all wear a mask.
The second PSA features Dr. Steve Markovich, a former Air National Guardsman and fighter pilot, who is CEO of OhioHealth. He encourages younger adults to wear masks to protect family, friends, and coworkers.