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Ohio's COVID health orders lifted; here's what you need to know

Ohio's health orders have officially lifted. But what, exactly, does that mean?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s health orders have officially lifted, as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.  

Governor Mike DeWine announced the end to statewide orders in May, setting the expiration date for June 2 in an effort to give Ohioans more time to get vaccinated. 

What does that mean for you? 

The announcement means, as of Wednesday, Ohioans are no longer required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines. It also puts an end to capacity restrictions at indoor and outdoor events. 

DeWine said COVID-19 safety precautions will remain in place for congregate living settings where there is heightened risk of contracting the virus, including long-term care facilities and nursing homes. 

On Tuesday, the state’s Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed an order, rescinding several health orders related to COVID-19. That includes orders limiting access to the state’s jails and detention facilities, as well as an order to release protected health information to the state’s first responders. 

Under the lifted order, facial coverings will no longer be required in school and educational settings. Additionally, business owners will no longer be required to enforce a mask mandate, though DeWine has said it is up to their discretion whether they choose to. 

Senior centers and adult day services, as well as support and vocational habilitation services will also be allowed to resume normal, pre-pandemic operations. 

Despite the loosening of statewide restrictions, mask mandates remain in effect for several Ohio counties and cities, prompting confusion for some. 

So, what happens if you live in one of those areas? 

Franklin County rescinded its mask order on May 24, effective June 2, but that decision only applies to jurisdictions the Franklin County Board of Health serves, and does not include the cities of Columbus and Worthington. 

Columbus City Council plans to discuss the issue on June 7. Until the order is repealed, Dr. Mysheika Roberts, health commissioner with Columbus Public Health, says people in the city must abide by it. 

You can learn more here

Governor DeWine issued a reminder on Tuesday, the day before health orders lifted, asking those who are not yet fully vaccinated to continue to mask up when indoors. 

His plea aligns with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends unvaccinated Americans continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions. 

You can read DeWine’s full statement here