Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced a three-week curfew running from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to slow the spread of COVID-19 as cases stay at near-record high levels.
The state today reported 7,079 new COVID-19 cases, 30 deaths, and 368 hospitalizations. The curfew takes effect Thursday and marks an attempt to avoid a complete shutdown:
"Basically want people not to be out, but there are exceptions," DeWine said of the curfew. "This won't apply to those who need to go to work during those hours or anyone who is out for an emergency purpose. The curfew is not intended to stop anybody from getting groceries or getting a meal from carryout or drive-through or delivery. It is not intended to stop anybody from going to a hospital or seeing a doctor or getting help or treatment for medical or mental health conditions. Our idea is to carve this time out. If we all do it, that in and of itself will reduce some of these contacts that are going on."
DeWine described the curfew and safety measures as building a bridge to get to the vaccine. He' asked each Ohioan to do at least one thing that reduces contact with others:
"Or one thing that enhances your personal and emotional contact with someone but not your physical contact," the governor continued. "If you're thinking about watching the Ohio State game with a bunch of friends, don't do it. Watch that at home. Talk about it on the phone. Wear a mask to church. Call a friend. Write a letter to someone, something positive we can do during this time. Consolidate trips. Talking to someone the other day, they said In the spring I would make one trip to the grocery store but this week I made two or three. You can buy the same amount of stuff to support the merchants, but make a list and consolidate it. These are just simple things. Everyone can come up with their own list."
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted called the measure part of a slow down rather than a shutdown, adding that the curfew became the least disruptive option to the state's economy while also having a positive impact for health care providers.
Also today due to increased cases, central Ohio hospitals announced a return to a "no visitors" policy. Those restrictions take effect Wednesday. Ohio State University's Medical Center, OhioHealth, and Mount Carmel Health System will no longer allow inpatient and emergency department visitors inside their hospitals. There are a few exceptions to the policy including maternity, end-of-life situations, and patients who are minors or have impairments. No length of time was given for the visitor restrictions, but they are expected to last through the governor's 3-week curfew.