DeWine Orders Salons to Close, Suggests Businesses Check Employees' Temperatures
Gov. Mike DeWine is ordering all hair and nail salons, barbershops, spas and tattoo parlors throughout the state to close Wednesday afternoon until further notice.
More than 180 Bureau of Motor Vehicles locations will also close Wednesday. Five around the state will remain open to issue commercial driver's licenses.
DeWine is asking the Ohio General Assembly to pass legislation that will grant a grace period for people who can’t renew licenses. He's also asking law enforcement, including State Highway Patrol, to not issue tickets for someone who has an expired license.
As for libraries, he's leaving the decision up to the counties.
"This virus, as we have said we believe, is twice as contagious as the flu and 20 times as deadly. We have to take whatever action is necessary to preserve lives in the state of Ohio," DeWine said.
Another area of concern DeWine addressed is testing.
Testing for COVID-19 is limited. "It will in all likelihood remain limited," he said.
It will now be provided only for patients showing severe symptoms and for high-risk populations. DeWine said if you're worried about yourself or a loved one, you shouldn't fixate on testing.
He said if you're showing symptoms, the most effective measure is to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
If symptoms worsen, call your doctor. If you're having trouble breathing, call the emergency room, tell them your symptoms and warn them you're coming.
He also asked employees who feel sick to stay home and encouraged businesses, including nonprofits, manufacturers and retailers, to have employees check their temperature before the individual enters the workplace every day. If the person's temperature is elevated, they should be sent home.
DeWine wanted to make a message clear: it's up to every single Ohioan to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Here is the truth: With or without a test, the virus is here. It lives among us. And we must be at war with it," DeWine said. "And we’re at war with a very, very dangerous and lethal enemy. This virus’s mission is to reproduce... and to go from person to person to person. It needs our help. It cannot do its damage without us. We become the enablers."
Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health, said Ohioans need to be following precautionary measures, including maintaining 6-feet distance from others, not congregating and washing hands thoroughly and frequently for 20 seconds.
She confirmed 88 COVID-19 cases in the state within 19 counties. The youngest case is 2 years old.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted gave an update on unemployment requests. 78,000 requests have been filed. It was 6,500 two weeks ago. He also asked small businesses who need financial relief to go to sba.gov/disaster.
"This is a state of emergency. We will get to the other side of this. We will stick with you every step of the way and give you guidance," Acton said.
Many changes have been made in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here's what has happened over the last few weeks:
- Hospitals are postponing elective surgeries until further notice. The state issued the order Tuesday to conserve protective equipment for health care workers and keep beds open. Patients will receive a call if their surgery has been canceled. The Ohio Hospital Association also says that hospitals across the state are prepared for a 25% surge in COVID-19 cases if that happens.
- Ohio has postponed its primaries. Not even 12 hours before polls were supposed to open, Dr. Amy Acton, the director of the Ohio Department of Health issued a health emergency to shut down polling locations. The new proposed voting date is June 2 but the details still have to be worked out by the courts and/or the state legislature. Absentee ballots would be allowed until then. For more information on what happened, click here. To get an absentee ballot, click here.
- The state has shut down more facilities, including gyms, fitness centers, recreation facilities, theaters, indoor water parks and indoor trampoline parks.
- University of Akron has decided to keep classes online for the rest of the semester. The school has also asked students to leave the residence halls by 11 p.m. Wednesday.
- A Kent State employee has tested negative for COVID-19 after coming into contact with a patient who has the disease. Students have been ordered to leave the residence halls by the end of the week and are eligible for a refund. The university has also announced it will start limiting operations at all eight campuses Monday afternoon.
- Bars and restaurants closed down Sunday night temporarily to prevent large gatherings. DeWine said he came to the decision after he received multiple complaints about crowds over the weekend. Carry-out and delivery options are still available.
- Ohio's unemployment law will be extended to help those who are put out of work because of the pandemic. For more details, click here.
- The state is implementing a COVID-19 treatment plan for individuals with an addiction or mental health issues. This includes more telehealth services that will allow patients to video chat with professionals or call a landline. The plan will also implement a service that will allow people to get their medications without having to physically go to a pharmacy. Pharmacies are making sure they have adequate supplies of medications
- The Cleveland Clinic is officially offering drive-thru coronavirus testing with a doctor's order. It's in partnership with University Hospitals, which is doing the same. The testing location is in University Circle.
- Summit County confirmed its first case of COVID-19 Friday. A woman in her 50s is a case of community spread, which means she didn't travel or have direct contact with other COVID-19 patients. The county and the city of Akron have declared public health emergencies. All community centers in Akron closed Monday.
- President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This allows the White House to get direct aid quickly from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disasters and health crises. Trump has also been tested for COVID-19 and doesn't have it.
- Lawmakers plan to send a letter to Trump with 17 requests for state relief, such as having access to more protective equipment for health care workers.
- DeWine issued an order that prohibits visitors in jails. The state also isn't allowing visitors in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and psychiatric facilities.
- Ohio K-12 schools shut down Monday afternoon for three weeks. DeWine said he will help schools with whatever they need, but it's up to administrators to figure out how to determine details of educating students while they're at home and when they return.
- Kent State University, Oberlin College and Ohio State University have canceled in-person classes for the rest of the semester. Classes will be online. Large gatherings such as graduation will be reevaluated at a later date. Many colleges have suspended in-person classes until mid-April.
- Ohio has temporarily banned mass gatherings of 100 or more people together in close promiximity in a certain place. This includes parades, fairs, theaters and more.
- Many events have been canceled across the state. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame postponed its induction ceremony, Vice President Mike Pence is no longer visiting Summit County and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament canceled the rest of its games, along with many other conferences like NCAA.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that checking employee temperatures has been suggested, not ordered.