Governor Mike DeWine’s highly anticipated 5:30 PM talk to the people of Ohio resulted in the announcement of new health orders as well as possible future orders if COVID rates continue to increase.
The remarks came as Ohio topped 6,000 new cases on Tuesday for the first time.
The immediate order has to do with the wearing of protective face coverings. In a nutshell, businesses are now mandated to follow certain steps, with a new enforcement mechanism created to enforce those steps which can include store closure.
The following are elements of that order:
- All retail businesses are now required to post a face covering requirement sign at all public entrances;
- Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks; and
- A new Retail Compliance Unit, composed of agents led by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will be in charge of enforcement. Inspections will be carried out, with aA first violation of this order bringing a written warning, and a second violation will bring about closure of the store for up to 24 hours.
DeWine also told Ohioans that a new public health order will be issued in the coming days to place “significant restrictions” on banquets, wedding receptions and gatherings following funerals. Everyone must be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks, and dancing and games will be prohibited.
Further, the Governor indicated that if current COVID trends increase as of next Thursday, an order may issue impacting bars, restaurants, and fitness centers. “I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and the owners,” he said. “But, these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus,” the Governor stated.
DeWine emphasized that there are several health orders that continue in effect, including the ten person meeting limit.
With the upcoming holiday season in mind, DeWine added, “As we approach Thanksgiving, please remember that when someone you don’t live with enters your “bubble,” it puts everyone you live with at risk.”