Ohio Bars and Restaurants to Shut Down, DeWine to Sign Order to Help Unemployed Amid Pandemic
Restaurants and bars across the state shut down Sunday night under an order by Gov. Mike DeWine to stop the spread of COVID-19.
DeWine will also sign an executive order to help the unemployed affected by the pandemic. The order will change Ohio's unemployment law to enable workers who do not have paid-leave benefits to access unemployment benefits.
There is currently a one-week delay for people awaiting unemployment benefits. This order will waive that delay and will be effective immediately. For more details, click here.
As for restaurants and bars, carry-out and delivery options are still available.
"If you can walk in and buy a donut, buy coffee and walk out, that's OK. What we can't have is people congregating," DeWine said.
DeWine said he's aware that restaurants that do not offer these options will be hurt financially, especially small businesses.
"I can't tell you how sorry I am," DeWine said. "Our goal is for everyone to get through this. What we wish is that the next St. Patrick's Day, everybody will be there."
DeWine said he received messages from areas across the state about the influx of crowds at bars over the weekend celebrating St. Patrick's Day early. People were worried about the spread of coronavirus.
DeWine said if the state doesn't act and implement distance between people, the health care system will not be able to handle the influx of people who may have contracted COVID-19.
"All the actions we are taking, we are taking for this specific purpose," DeWine said. "It is the small businesses, that in an order like this, are hurt the most. I'm fully aware of that."
Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, and DeWine both have stressed in previous weeks that social or physical distancing, which is standing at least 6-feet away from each other, are extremely effective in preventing the spread of the disease.
"There are many cases that are undetected. There are many asymptomatic people. Each and every one of us must suspect that we have it or are carrying it," Acton said.
For some individuals, it can take symptoms six to 14 days to appear.
"We are going to have multiple Wuhans in this country because it already spread," Acton said. She referred to the city where the outbreak first started — Wuhan, China.
She also pointed out the need for more health care services in this country. Acton said to combat this disease, around 200,000 Intensive Care Unit beds will be needed. The U.S. doesn't nearly have enough and around 60% to 80% are already occupied.
DeWine said warned that K-12 schools, which will shut down Monday afternoon for three weeks, could be shut down longer and asked administrators to start preparing in case it's for the rest of the school year.
Overall, the message was clear: everyone needs to contribute to decrease the spread.
"We should not be going to restaurants. If it is not essential, you should not be doing it. Young people, you're apart of this. We're going to need your help as well," Acton said.
Health officials confirmed 36 cases of COVID-19 in Ohio — 10 more than Saturday — and at least 350 people are being tested, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
- Belmont County: 2
- Butler County: 6
- Cuyahoga County: 14
- Franklin County: 3
- Lorain County: 2
- Lucas County: 1
- Medina County: 1
- Stark County: 2
- Summit County: 2
- Trumbull County: 2
- Tuscarawas County: 1
Health officials believe around 1% of Ohio's population is carrying around the disease, which is more than 100,000 people. DeWine said Sunday COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the flu and "20 times more deadly."
DeWine reminded the public that this was expected — the number of cases will increase in the next few weeks. Health officials believe many people are carrying COVID-19 and may not be showing symptoms. Common symptoms include coughing, fever and respiratory distress.
The most at-risk populations are those age 80 and older, and those with pre-existing conditions. At least 15% of people in those populations who have contracted the disease have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We are not flying blindly. We have science behind us. We have pandemic plans," Acton said Saturday.
Lori Criss, the director for the Ohio Department of Addiction and Mental Health Services, gave some tips on how to relieve stress during the pandemic. She said:
- If you need help, call a friend or a professional
- Get information from trusted sources
- Limit media exposure
- Pay attention to signs of stress — eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or not enough, etc.
- Find new ways to keep doing the things you love
As DeWine said, "We're in this for long run."
Many changes have been made in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here's what has happened over the last week:
For all the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak, click here.
Read the order regarding restaurants and bars: