State health officals Thursday reported 72 hundred new cases of COVID-19 and 109 new deaths.
As the number of new COVID-19 cases rises with the threat of a new, more contagious strain of the virus, Governor Mike DeWine says the state's 10pm to 5am curfew scheduled to expire this week will remain in place for the time being:
“We would love to get rid of it. Next step would be probably to take it to 11:00, but we’re just not there.”
Bars and restaurants struggling during the pandemic say the curfew cuts into some of their most profitable hours. DeWine says the curfew, and the "last call" 10pm alcohol curfew that preceded it, were a compromise with closing entirely:
“There’s nothing magical about 10:00. But what is magical, what is based in science, is cutting down the contact time. And when you cut down the contact time, you cut down opportunity for that spread. So those few hours after 10:00 cuts down that. We put that into effect at the same time, roughly the same time, that we started enforcing masks in retail establishments.”
The curfew originally ordered in mid-November exempts people travelling to and from work, going to grocery stores or pharmacies, or requiring medical care. Restaurants are limited to carry out and delivery only after 10pm.
During his Thursday press briefing the governor said an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper has died of COVID-19. DeWine says Bradley Huffman worked out of the Xenia Post.