Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a press conference on Monday that he is not planning to impose a second full lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, instead calling for a “slow down” in the state.
Ohio is currently seeing thousands of new cases of COVID-19 each day, with nearly 8,000 new cases added on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.
“Instead of shutting down, we have to slow down,” DeWine said at a conference from the Tri-State Airport in West Virginia, according to Fox8. “We have to slow down in our individual lives and our decisions in what we are doing.”
DeWine said he plans to make a formal announcement on Tuesday, saying that he wants to keep schools open and protect those in nursing homes. He did not provide further details.
“We don’t want to shut this state down,” DeWine said. “That has ramifications for mental health, it has ramifications for more drug addiction, overdoses. I mean, all these things go up when you shut the state down. And we do not want to do that. “
On Monday, the governor issued an order that imposes additional restrictions on gatherings in the state. The order is meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at wedding receptions, funerals, and other events.
It bars socializing or activities in open congregate areas, as well as dancing. It also stipulates that guests must be seated at all times, and must be seated in groups no larger than 10 and from the same household. The order prohibits self-serve food and mandates that masks must be worn unless eating.
“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” DeWine said in a statement. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”
The order, which does not apply to religious observances, goes into effect on Tuesday.
Ohio currently has nearly 290,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,300 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health and Human Services.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.