Ohioans will have to practice social distancing through the month of April.
Ohio Department of Health director, Doctor Amy Acton, this afternoon signed an extension of the state's existing stay-at-home order through May 1. The extension includes some changes, most stemming from what state officials are hearing from residents and safety personnel.
"One of the complaints we constantly hear about every single day is overcrowding in stores," Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. "Again the rules about crowding apply in stores as they do every place else. We're trying to keep people apart and keep this from spreading. So the new order requires retail businesses to establish a number of people that should be in that business at one time. We're not telling them what number to set because every business is configured differently. But we want each of these businesses to set a number, post a number so everybody knows the number, and if they fill up to that number then they stop people from coming in. I know some retail establishments are already doing this. They let people in when they think it's safe enough, and it does not shove people together."
Under the revised order, travelers to Ohio are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions include Ohio residents who work across state lines. Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted also provided an update on the state's unemployment figures.
"We added 272,117 people for the week ended March 28," Husted said. "In the last two weeks, we've added 468,414 people to the unemployment rolls as a result of coronavirus. All of 2019, we had 364,603 people apply for unemployment. So we've had more than 100,000 people in the last two weeks apply than we did in all of 2019. That's put a huge burden on director Kim Hall and her team at Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. She's added 300 new employees to call center to help with that system and they expect to add 1,000 by the end of next week."
ODJFS will hold extended hours Saturday from 9am - 5pm and Sunday 9am - 1pm. Officials also added new job search function to the state's website coronavirus.ohio.gov. About 11,000 jobs are already posted there according to Husted.
The state reported nearly 3,000 COVID-19 cases in Ohio in 75 counties as of Thursday afternoon. There are more than 800 hospitalizations and 81 deaths.
The state heard from about 600 businesses regarding Wednesday's request for help from manufacturers on PPE production. The website is repurposingproject.com.