Stay-At-Home Order Extended To May 1; Coronavirus Update, April 2, 2020

Updated: 5:19 p.m., Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ohioans will spend at least another four weeks under a stay-at-home order, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday afternoon.

The new order, which goes into effect Monday night as the initial March 22 order expires, includes some changes DeWine said are based on feedback from Ohio’s mayors, police and citizens.

Retail establishments, including grocery stores, will be required to post a maximum number of people admitted to the store at once and enforce it with a strict one-in/one-out policy. As spring finally takes hold in Ohio, retail garden stores can remain open but also need to determine a capacity appropriate for social distancing and enforce it.

“We're not telling them what number to set because every business is configured differently," DeWine said. "We want each of these businesses to set a number, post a number. Everybody in the store knows the number and then if they fill up to that number, then they stop people from coming in.”

Anyone traveling to Ohio from out-of-state is asked to self-quarantine for 14 days under the new order, excluding those who live near state lines and may work or have to travel to another state on a regular basis.

The initial stay-at-home order, part of the effort to contain the coronavirus, was set to expire April 6. The new order signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, extends the precautions to May 1.

 

 

Ohio had 2,902 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of early Thursday morning and 81 deaths, Acton said, with 28 percent of the cases requiring hospitalization and 9 percent of patients in intensive care.

“We will continue to have to stay at home. We will continue to do what we have to do,” DeWine said.

The new order also creates a “dispute resolution panel” for businesses that are similar but are concerned they are being treated differently in different counties or municipalities. Deliberations will be conducted remotely and decisions from the panel are final, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.

While DeWine said he did not want to discourage anyone from getting married during this time, receptions for weddings and funerals still must follow the rule of a maximum number of 10 people at a gathering.

State parks remain open, though campgrounds will close under the new order.

“We are not closing state parks,” DeWine said. But if people cannot or do not observe social distancing, parks could be closed on a case-by-case basis.

“A state park that is configured in such a way with the trails that what they're seeing out there is people are coming in contact with each other or coming close to each other and they really can't be separated, then the director certainly has the option to take whatever action she needs to take,” DeWine said.

Other updates in the new order include:

•           A clarification to close campgrounds with an exception for situations where a camper or recreational vehicle in a campground serves as a permanent residence and they are unable to secure safe alternative housing.

•           The requirement that public swimming pools and swimming pools at private clubs or housing complexes close to prevent transmission of COVID-19. This does not apply to private residential pools.

•           The closure of day camps for children.

•           The prohibition of organized youth and adult sports.

•           The clarification that fishing is permitted as long as proper social distancing is practiced.

DeWine said he has been advised by Acton that the peak for infections and hospitalizations in Ohio is now expected “somewhere between April 15 and May 15” and that the range of dates remains fluid.

DeWine also continued the call for more personal protective equipment (PPE) as hospitals prepare for the expected surge in hospitalizations. During Wednesday’s briefing, DeWine appealed to Ohio manufacturers willing to retool their operations to help produce PPE. He unveiled a website for those who think they can help to get in contact with his administration.

“We have had as of this morning… over 600 businesses that went online to see if they could be of help,” DeWine said Thursday.

The governor is also creating an economic advisory board to get a jump on Ohio’s recovery process. Frank Sullivan CEO of RPM International Inc., a Medina-based maker of sealants and coatings, will lead the group.

“Just as we have looked to experts to help us move through this crisis, we’re also looking to experts as we move forward, as we will come out of this and as we focus on our economic recovery,” DeWine said.

As expected, Ohio's unemployment statistics continue to climb along with the rest of the country.

“In the last two weeks we've added 468,414 people to the unemployment rolls as a result of coronavirus,” Husted said. “To put that in perspective, all of 2019 we had 364,603 people.”

The state's Department of Job and Family Services Director Kim Hall is hiring fast, Husted said, in an effort to speed claims along as much as possible.

“She's added 300 new employees as of today to the call center to help with that system and just told me right before I came in here that they expect to add 1,000 by the end of next week,” Husted said.

But the statewide order of a 90-day pause on foreclosures does not excuse people from paying their rent or mortgages, Husted said.

“You need to work that out, the terms of that, you need to work that out with the financial institution or your landlord,” Husted said. “It is not a license to not comply with the terms of those arrangements. You need to make new arrangements.”

 

An earlier version of this story listed March 23 as the date of the initial stay-at-home order. That order was signed by Dr. Amy Acton on March 22. ideastream regrets the error.

ideastream's Glenn Forbes contributed to this report.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

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