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DeWine Institutes 21-Day Curfew To Curb COVID-19 Spread

[Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]

Updated: 6:05 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Thursday and lasting for 21 days in the effort to slow rising COVID-19 cases.

Breaking the curfew would be considered noncompliance of a general health order, a second-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of a $750 fine or up to 90 days in jail, DeWine said.

“It's really not a business curfew, it's a curfew. The goal is to have fewer contacts and if we can take these contacts that people have with other people down 20 percent, 30 percent, we saw the impact it had in the spring. “It would not apply to those who need to go to work during those hours or those who need to be out for any kind of emergency purpose,” DeWine said. “The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or getting a meal from carryout or drive-thru or delivery.”

DeWine said law enforcement will not be out specifically patrolling for curfew violations.

“We're not really anticipating they're going to get pulled over unless they're doing something else, but let's say there's somebody, there's a group of people coming together and it's 10:30 and they're in a park or they're someplace else,” DeWine said. “Well, it would be logical for police to go over there and say 'Hey, what's going on?’"

The state’s daily new coronavirus cases have tripled over the last three weeks. The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday reported 7,079 new COVID-19 cases and 368 new hospitalizations in the last 24 hours. Ohio currently has 3,648 hospitalized confirmed-COVID-19 patients. Hospitalizations have gone up dramatically and COVID-positive ICU patients have nearly tripled since a month ago, DeWine said.

Lake County is now in the top four among the state’s highest incidence counties, the governor said Tuesday.

“These numbers are just shocking,” DeWine said. “It means one out of 100 people in the last two weeks was diagnosed with COVID. Just think about the odds and we know that's always lower, not everybody's diagnosed. Not everyone has the test.”

Every county in Ohio is at least twice the high incidence level set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor said. The state’s 7-day average positivity rate is 12.8 percent.

“The bad news is that our situation in Ohio is deteriorating,” DeWine said. “We see more and more cases, more and more people in the hospital. And we've got to turn this thing around."

Ohio Restaurant Association President John Barker said members are supportive of the 21-day curfew, as another shutdown would be devastating to the state’s food service industry.

“Restaurants have done everything to ensure that they're not spreading the virus and the good news is that experts, medical experts, confirm it's true; the spread appears to be occurring in unregulated settings,” Barker said. “Most restaurants, especially independent and family owned ones can't survive the pandemic without all of us doing our part to control this virus.”

The governor also continued to implore Ohioans to wear masks and have less in-person contact with those outside their households.

“We know that if we reduce the number of people we come in contact every day with that we reduce our chances of getting the virus and we reduce the chances of spreading the virus if we unknowingly have it,” he said.

DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted pitched the curfew as an alternative to a broader stay-at-home order or economic shutdown.

“The virus spreads when people get together. So for a while, we need to make sure that fewer people are coming together and spreading the virus. No shutdowns, just a slowdown,” Husted said.