Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as state initiatives.
On Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the approval of assistance for 15 projects set to create 1,653 new jobs and retain 1,676 jobs statewide. During its monthly meeting, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $99 million in new payroll and spur more than $304 million in investments across Ohio.
Additional information on the approved projects can be found on governor.ohio.gov.
On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that child care providers in Ohio may return to their normal, statutory ratios and class sizes beginning on August 9, 2020.
Child care providers have a choice to increase the number of children and staff members to the normal statutory ratios or to maintain their current, lower ratios to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is structuring a financial incentive to providers that maintain smaller ratios and classroom sizes.
"Children cannot learn unless they are safe and cared for, and without access to child care, parents may resort to less-than-ideal options for their child’s care, such as relying on an elderly grandparent who is at greater risk for contracting COVID-19. By allowing normal ratios to resume, we're giving parents more options," said Governor DeWine. "We will continue to closely monitor reports of COVID-19 in child care, as well as compliance with rules and best practices, so that we can respond as needed to keep our children, families, and teachers safe."
All child care providers must comply with stringent health and safety requirements including:
Additionally, providers must report any COVID-19 cases to ODJFS and their local health department.
COUNTY AND INDEPENDENT FAIRS
Governor DeWine announced that county and independent fairs with an opening day on or after July 31, 2020, will be limited to specific junior fair events.
"We've seen several fairs that have been doing an excellent job to keep fair-goers safe, yet other fairs have been connected to outbreaks; some have disregarded social distancing; and we've also seen a lack of enforcement of the statewide mask order. It's just a real shame," said Governor DeWine. "Because it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular, safe fair in the summer of 2020, I believe we must now scale fairs back."
Junior fair activities, such as livestock competitions and 4-H and Future Farmers of America competitions for kids and teenagers, may continue as planned, but junior fairs must develop a plan that reduces crowding in barns, such as limiting entrance to only the immediate family of those actively showing their animals or projects. A 10 p.m. curfew will also be instituted for the barns, buildings, and midways.
Harness racing can proceed with no spectators, but rides, games, and grandstand events will be prohibited to limit crowds and better prevent coronavirus spread.
Thursday afternoon, Governor DeWine released this week's new Ohio Public Health Advisory System map.
"The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties and we are seeing the spread slow because of that," said Governor DeWine. "The bad news is that Ohio's more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place. I will again urge those who live in rural counties to wear masks while in public."
Detailed data on all 88 counties are now available on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System's website. The system was developed to provide local health departments, community leaders, and the public with data and information on the severity of the COVID-19 spread in the counties in which they live. The system consists of four levels with specific risk-level guidelines. Each level is calculated with data gathered on seven public health indicators.
ALCOHOL SALE AND ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION LIMITS
Governor DeWine announced that he has asked the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption.
The rule would prevent the sale of alcohol at these liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night. On-premises consumption must end by 11:00 p.m. Businesses may stay open, and establishments that sell food can continue serving meals until closing.
Governor DeWine requested the new administrative rule after seeing outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus.
"The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors, with interactions between many different people," said Governor DeWine. "While this may have been fine during normal times, these are not normal times. We must make a change to curb the social behaviors that will cause this virus to continue to spread."
Separately, Governor DeWine is also asking the commission to raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks permitted to be purchased for carryout with a meal from two drinks to three drinks.
MASS GATHERING ORDER
Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner.
Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people.
"We have seen cases in recent weeks where outbreaks have been connected to informal social gatherings like birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings at people’s homes," said Governor DeWine. "The fact remains that this virus spreads when someone with the virus comes in contact with others who don’t yet have it. When we gather together with people outside our households, we increase the likelihood this virus can spread."
The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings.
Additionally, the following order has been signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes:
Director's Amended Order Limiting County Fairs to Junior Fair Activities and Animal Exhibitions, with Exceptions
Friday morning, the Liquor Control Commission voted 3-0 to approve an emergency rule that would prevent the sale of alcohol at all liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night with consumption required by 11:00 p.m.
On Friday, Governor DeWine signed the following Executive Order:
Executive Order 2020-30D: "Rescission of Executive Order 2020-10D and Emergency Adoption of Rule 4301:1-1-80 of the Ohio Administrative Code by the Liquor Control Commission
Additionally, Governor DeWine made several appointments to boards and commissions, including to The University of Akron Board of Trustees, Wright State University Board of Trustees and others.
CURRENT COVID-19 DATA
As of Friday afternoon, there are 91,159 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 3,489 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 10,678 people have been hospitalized, including 2,534 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.