A “stay at home” order was issued for the State of Ohio on Sunday to go into effect late Monday.
“There is nothing in the order that we haven’t already been talking about,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “There is nothing in this that I haven’t been asking you to do for the last few weeks.”
The order from the Ohio Department of Health went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and will stay in effect until April 6. It will be reassessed at that time.
Essential businesses can stay open. The order can be enforced by the local health departments and local law enforcement.
“We don’t look to see a bunch of people arrested,” said DeWine. “This is not what we want to accomplish. By doing the stay at home health order, we can convey the seriousness of this. The businesses that stay open must figure out how to follow these guidelines.”
It does permit exceptions to staying home. They include leaving for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, to take care of others, and for outdoor activity.
Families will still be able to go outside, including to parks and outdoor spaces that remain open, and take a walk, run, or bike ride but should continue to practice social distancing by remaining six feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increasing transmission.
Carry-out orders of food are also still allowed.
Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home. Work from home is permitted and encouraged where possible.
“It’s absolutely essential in Ohio that we don’t do this in a piecemeal way,” said Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton.
Also, all childcare centers, beginning on Thursday, must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license. They will also go down to a maximum of six children per room. This is a dramatic change, but it’s necessary to minimize the risk to the kids, DeWine said.
As of Sunday, there were 351 confirmed cases in Ohio, with a median age of 51 years. There have been three deaths, including one in Lucas County. Forty counties have confirmed cases.
“There is no time left. Listen to what Italy is telling us. Today is the day. We must do everything we can in our power to protect the people on the front lines – the first responders and healthcare workers,” said Acton.
The first area COVID-19 related death was reported last week. Mark Wagoner Sr., 76, a Lucas County attorney, died Wednesday.
Mark Wagoner, Jr., his son and the Lucas County Republican Party chairman, shared a post about his father on Thursday.
“We’re heartbroken but take comfort in the 76 years he had. What a life. Our dad gave his all for his family, his community, his clients, and his colleagues. He had a boundless ability to love and always looked for the best in everyone he met,” the younger Wagoner said in the post.
Wagoner Jr. also served the as a state representative and state senator from 2005-12.
Wagoner Sr. was well-known to Ohio politicians.
“Mick was a well-known attorney and community leader in the Toledo region, and I was honored to know him,” said Senator Rob Portman. “His family are close friends, and Jane and I are lifting them – as well as all of those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – up in prayer during this difficult time.”