COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine eased Ohio's stay-at-home order and travel restrictions from mandatory to strongly recommended Tuesday, while emphasizing that the coronavirus is not gone and Ohioans must keep putting the safety of others first to contain its spread.
"What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread,” the Republican said at his Statehouse briefing. “For many of us, really for all of us, we will have no other time in our life where our own individual actions or inactions can impact the lives of so many of our fellow citizens.”
The new “urgent health advisory” strongly encourages — but not longer legally requires — Ohioans to stay home or to avoid unnecessary travel. Those who travel into Ohio will no longer need to observe a 14-day quarantine, unless they're showing signs of COVID-19, DeWine said.
The advisory will not lift mandatory business protocols, such as those placed on restaurants and bars or those requiring certain employees to wear masks, nor will it lift the ban on large gatherings, spokesman Dan Tierney clarified after the news conference.
DeWine said Ohioans are still advised to follow 6-foot social distancing protocols, to wear masks and to frequently wash their hands.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed the advisory Wednesday. She also signed a Director's Order that modifies and rescinds part of the Stay Safe Ohio Order.
Changes made to Stay Safe Ohio include:
- Rescinding the order to stay at home or place of residence, though it is still recommended.
- Rescinding travel restrictions. Unnecessary travel within or outside of the state is not encouraged. Those who test positive for COVID-19 may not enter the state unless it is under medical order or they are an Ohioan.
The advisory includes:
- A mandated limit of 10 people for mass gatherings.
- Requirement for business orders about social distancing and sanitation, including employees wearing masks, as well as efforts to protect employees and efforts to protect the public.
- Strong recommendation that high-risk Ohioans stay at home as much as possible. They should avoid places where they are likely to encounter a lot of people.
- Recommendation (but does not require) that all other Ohioans to stay at their place of residence when possible with the intent of lowering the rate of spread of #COVID-19.
"What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other, to slow the spread," DeWine said. "No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving the lives of so many of our fellow citizens."