After 24 hours of build up fueled by the decision of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to forego his Tuesday briefing in favor of a major Wednesday early evening speech, the result was a mix of strong rhetoric and no apparent new direction.
Much of DeWine’s remarks centered on the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, and the idea that without any change, Ohio is on the path to having the kind of alarming numbers seen in Florida, Texas, and Arizona. “We have now reached our most critical point in our battle,” he said.
“This is not a drill,” he said. “This is not a dress rehearsal.”
DeWine went further, reminding Ohioans that whether they experience future family milestones is tied to the response of the state at this time.
It was at this point that instead of announcing any actions, the Governor turned philosophical. Somewhat inconsistently with the tone of his own Public Health Advisory program, DeWine chose instead to plead with, not require, Ohioans to wear masks in public.
‘If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next six weeks, we could drive this epidemic to the ground,” DeWine said.
Coming days will demonstrate how many minds were changed by what was shared.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper quickly responded:
“As someone who publicly praised the governor in the early months of this crisis, I could not be more disappointed in his speech today. As cases and deaths rise, he announced nothing that will change that direction.”
On Wednesday, both Wal-Mart and Kroger announced that they will require that all patrons wear facial coverings. Several Ohio cities, including Akron, Toledo, Athens, Columbus, and Portsmouth have enacted citywide mask mandates.