Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the stay-at-home order will be extended until May 1.
“The action we’re taking today is action that I know will save lives,” DeWine said Thursday. “We look forward to the day we can be back open and enjoy our lives and go see our friends and families again.”
There are some changes in the new order.
It requires retail businesses to establish the number of people who should be in the business at one time. “We’re not telling them the number because businesses are all different. But businesses must determine their number and post it,” said DeWine.
The state will also appoint a board to evaluate and render guidance in situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion on what is or is not essential business.
People who have been out of state are asked to self-quarantine. This does not apply to those were work out of state, such as area residents who work in southeast Michigan.
Massive increases in unemployment claims were discussed by Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.
He said for the week ending March 28, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 272,117 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Department of Labor, which set a record for the second straight week. The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last two weeks stands at 468,414, which is more than the 364,603 initial jobless claims filed during the entire year in 2019.
He said for the week ending March 28, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 272,117 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Department of Labor, which set a record for the second straight week.
“If you’re in a position to work, please do. They need you,” said Husted.
As of Sunday’s update there were 4,043 confirmed cases in Ohio, with 119 confirmed fatalities, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state reported 1,104 total hospital admissions and 346 intensive care admissions.
“I want to talk directly to all Ohioans. Thank you for all you’ve been doing. The sacrifices you’ve been making,” DeWine said. “This isn’t easy. We fully understand that. But we have to stay in this.”
DeWine has added an additional order that will close K-12 school buildings in Ohio until May 1. The earliest kids could return to school is May 4, but that will be reevaluated as the date gets closer.
“There is the real possibility that our schools could stay closed longer than this, but we want to give parents and teachers as much notice and flexibility as we can,” said DeWine. “Schools should continue to do what they’re doing now — providing the best remote learning that they can, serving meals to students in new ways, and planning for what the rest of the year may look like.”
Swanton Superintendent Chris Lake updated the school community in a letter on March 31.
“For the foreseeable future Swanton will continue to provide distance learning to our students, either through virtual means or through work sent directly to homes. It is very important that all students continue to log into their online classrooms and complete work,” said Lake. “The state is counting this time logged in as time attending school. This is crucial because it means that we will not have to extend the school year into the summer months.”
He added that this week’s scheduled spring break is a good time for those that are behind on work to catch up.
District officials are determined to hold a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.
“Given the current trend of COVID-19 in Ohio it seems highly unlikely that we will be able to host a ceremony in May and possibly not even in June or July,” he said.
The hope is that they will be able to hold a ceremony in August.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise