Ohio bars and restaurants will be closed to indoor drinking and dining starting at 9 p.m. tonight due to COVID-19, according to Governor Mike DeWine.
“How long this order will be in effect, we don’t frankly know,” said DeWine. “It will be in effects as long as it needs to.”
Carryout and delivery is still encouraged.
“If you can walk in buy a donut, but a coffee and walk out,” said DeWine. “That’s OK. What we can’t have is people congregated.”
He said action needed to be taken now, despite the adverse impact on businesses.
“Literally every day we delay, the data clearly shows that more people die,” said DeWine.
He added the the healthcare system would not hold up if nothing is done.
To try to ease the impact on bar and restaurant workers, DeWine plans to issue an executive order that makes several changes to Ohio’s unemployment law and state agency policy.
One change is that individuals that are quarantined by a health professional or by their employer will be considered to be unemployed and not required to actively seek work.
There are now at least 36 Ohioans who have tested positive, though exact numbers are getting hard to pin down.
The illness onset was as early as Feb. 7 in Ohio, according to Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health Director.
“The fact that one of our cases started Feb. 7 means they were infected up to 14 days before Feb. 7 but at least five to six,” she said.
Lucas County was added to the list of counties with COVID-19 cases.
“This is the real thing. This is not a drill. This is a once in a lifetime pandemic, and everything we all do matters,” Acton said.