Ohio Bars and Restaurants to Shut Down, DeWine to Sign Order to Help Unemployed Amid Pandemic

Mar 15, 2020

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:

  • 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 videochat 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 will offer the service beginning Monday. 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 will close Monday. Polling locations will still be open for the primary Tuesday. Some locations have been moved out of nursing homes. Check the list here
  • 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 will shut down Monday afternoon for three weeks. Some have already closed. 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. 

For all the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak, click here

Read the order regarding restaurants and bars:

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