Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced a new statewide mask requirement and a travel advisory. The mask order goes into effect Thursday at 6 p.m.
A majority of residents in Ohio, including those in the more populous Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton and Lucas counties, were already under a mask mandate for being Red Alert Level 3 in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.
“Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction,” said DeWine. “We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread.”
All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when:
• At an indoor location that is not a residence
• Outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members
• Waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing.
The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include:
• Those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability;
• Those who are actively exercising or playing sports;
• Those who are officiants at religious services;
• Those who are actively involved in public safety; or
• Those who are actively eating or drinking.
“Wearing masks will make a difference,” said DeWine. “It will determine what our fall looks like. We want kids to go back to school, we want to see sports. To do that, it’s very important that all Ohioans wear a mask.”
DeWine also announced a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher.
Those traveling from one of those state should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel. At this time the states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas.
The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.
“I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others,” said DeWine.
He mentioned a trip 45 Ohio students took to Myrtle Beach, S.C., saying that 28 of the travelers have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Ohio’s positivity rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, has been around 6.2 percent.
Visit coronavirus.ohio.gov for tips on how to effectively quarantine.