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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

DeWine Issues "Stay At Home" Order, Exempting Essential Businesses

Gov. Mike DeWine at his daily coronavirus update on March 20, flanked by Ohio Department of Health Dr. Amy Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

While saying it's an "absolutely crucial time", Gov. Mike DeWine said he's issuing an order for all Ohioans to stay at home starting at 11:59pm Monday - what's being called a "shelter in place" order in other states.DeWine said the order includes three parts:

  1. Stay at home order allows for leaving home for health and safety, necessary supplies and services, outdoor activity, take care of others – family members, friend, pet in another household
  2. The identification of essential workers and businesses
  3. Each business that is allowed to stay open must follow good health, safety protocol, such as maintaining six foot distance, washing hands, hand sanitizing products, separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, online and remote access for customers

The order goes into effect Monday at 11:59pm and will expire April 6, though DeWine said that could be extended. And he said it's an order, not a suggestion, and it can be enforced by local health departments and law enforcement.


DeWine said there's nothing in his order that he hasn't been asking Ohioans to do for the last week.  He calls it a "blueprint of how we get through this".


"We are in an absolutely crucial time," DeWine said. "What we do now will make all the difference in the world."


Sunday the state announced 351 cases of coronavirus in 40 counties, with 83 hospitalizations. Three people have died, including 76-year-old Mark Wagoner Sr. in Lucas County and a 91-year-old married man in Cuyahoga County.

DeWine also issued an order that all daycares in Ohio will have to operate under a temporary pandemic child care license. No more than six children will be permitted per room.

DeWine also noted a decision from an emergency session of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy - that board  passed a rule setting out specific provisions on prescribing chloroquine and hydroxycholorquine. Those are drugs that President Trump touted as possible treatments for COVID-19, though that is unproven. DeWine said an order will be issued to limit prescriptions of those drugs for their intended purposes - primarily for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus - and for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

State lawmakers are expected to come back into session this week. DeWine also said he'll be asking them to take up state mandated testing, saying "it's time to make the decision to forgo testing this year." That opens the door to an extension of his order to close K-12 schools till April 3. He's said several times that order will be extended, and has suggested students may not go back to school this academic year.


Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.