Morning Headlines: Ohio Ends Mass Gathering Ban as Part of Simplified Health Order; DeWine Discussing Vaccinating Those 16 and Over With Schools
Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, April 6:
- Ohio Ends Mass Gathering Ban as Part of Simplified Pandemic Health Order
- DeWine Discussing Vaccinating Those 16 and Over With School Districts
- Voter Groups: Start Ohio Map-Making Despite Lagging Census Data
- Neighbors Say Lt. Gov Husted Will Meet Them to Discuss Tweet
- Judge Delays Law Mandating Burial of Fetal Tissue
- Akron Police Officer Resigns During Use-of-Force Investigation
Ohio Ends Mass Gathering Ban as Part of Simplified Pandemic Health Order
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a new, streamlined COVID-19 health order that continues requirements for wearing masks and social distancing in public but will ease rules for large outdoor gatherings. The state won't cap the size of such events. But Mike DeWine said participants would be asked to stay separated in groups of 10 or fewer, rather than merging into one crowd. Officials said the state's health orders are being updated and consolidated this week to make them simpler to understand. The health director says they emphasize the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, staying in smaller groups, and sanitizing.
DeWine Discussing Vaccinating Those 16 and Over With School Districts
Gov. Mike DeWine said he's talking with schools about vaccinating 16 and 17-year-olds, with parental approval. Pfizer currently has the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for children 16 and up. Cleveland.com reports some state officials are already working with state school districts to offer the vaccine before summer break. Last week, the state announced it's planning to offer the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to colleges before students leave campus for the summer. That vaccine has not been approved for people under 18.
Voter Groups: Start Ohio Map-Making Despite Lagging Census Data
A coalition of voting rights groups in Ohio is urging state officials and lawmakers to get moving now to lay the groundwork for redrawing congressional and legislative districts. That's despite a delay in the underlying Census data. Fair Districts Ohio said Monday that much can be accomplished even before the detailed numbers are available. That includes appointing members to redistricting committees, holding hearings to hear from experts and citizens on employing new map-making systems, and examining the logistical impacts of the Census delay on the 2022 election calendar. The release of Census data has been pushed back from March 31 to sometime in August or September.
Neighbors Say Lt. Gov Husted Will Meet Them to Discuss Tweet
A group representing Asian American neighbors of Ohio’s Republican lieutenant governor said he and his family have agreed to meet with them to discuss their concerns about his recent tweet that referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's office didn't immediately confirm the meeting with residents of Upper Arlington, which the group said is set for Friday. His neighbors plan to express how Husted's words impacted them during a time where there is an uptick of attacks against the Asian American community. Husted has defended his tweet, saying it was meant to be a criticism of the Chinese government.
Judge Delays Law Mandating Burial of Fetal Tissue
A judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Ohio law requiring fetal remains from surgical abortions to be cremated or buried. Hamilton County Judge Alison Hatheway's decision Monday came the day before the law was supposed to come into effect. It marked a victory for clinics whose lawsuit argues a lack of rules makes complying impossible, effectively banning abortions. Hatheway agreed and went further, barring state enforcement until 30 days after rules are approved. The disputed law aims to replace a previous law that required fetal remains to be disposed of “in a humane manner,” but without defining “humane.”
Akron Police Officer Resigns During Use-of-Force Investigation
An Akron police officer has resigned amid a use-of-force investigation. In a statement Monday evening, officials say the unnamed officer responded to a call that resulted in a man being charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest. During an internal review of the incident, police say they identified a tactic used by the officer that required further investigation. Officials say the unnamed officer voluntarily resigned March 31. The investigation is ongoing. Police say they will release more details, including bodycam footage, after its conclusion.