Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says the state is shifting to a new phase in the battle against the coronavirus, moving from state orders to strong recommendations.
The latest guidance from the state is an "urgent health advisory" called 'Ohioans Helping Ohioans".
"It incoporates six feet of social distancing, a limit of 10 people for mass gatherings, frequent hand washing, other sanitation efforts, etc. It incorporates all the business orders, including employees wearing masks as well as efforts to protect employees, and other efforts to protect the public."
Although regulations on business and large gatherings remain in effect, DeWine says the state is beginning to move away from the threat of legal penalties, and that the move is made possible by declining rates of infection as more Ohioans embrace common sense actions like wearing masks and handwashing. The R-O ratio, the number of people infecting others has dropped from 1-to-2.5 at the beginning of the pandemic, to 1-to-1. The state has improved the rate of testing, and increased stocks of personal protective gear. But DeWine cautions that doesn't mean the virus is no longer a threat.
"The coronavirus is not gone. It is real, and it is deadly. This new phase that we're now in is about learning to live with the virus. It is with us, and it will remain with us for a while. And we must do all we can to contain it and keep it from killing our fellow citizens."
DeWine says the state is still recommending that people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions continue to stay at home as much as possible. but travel restrictions and the need to self-quarantine upon entering the state are being lifted.