COLUMBUS, Ohio – A bill drafted in the Ohio House of Representatives that would remove penalties enforced on businesses for COVID violations may have a rallying point after two separate videos were sent to The Ohio Star – in them tipsters allege Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud and her husband are both spotted on separate occasions inside a Columbus area establishment where there appear to be violations of statewide COVID regulations.
According to information obtained from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU)– the officials who go undercover in bars and restaurants – the establishment where both McClouds are seen had not received a citation for violating COVID orders between March 2020 and March 2021.
During the Monday COVID briefing Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud would release a consolidated order to simplify state-imposed COVID restrictions.
The “order does consolidate several orders and transfers important items we want to focus on into one order,” said McCloud. The crux of the order will be “the mask, staying in smaller groups, distancing from others, sanitizing.”
Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud endorsed two mandates – one related to sporting events and the other to mass gatherings.
During a COVID briefing last week Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced the statewide curfew could be lifted as early as this week if COVID hospitalizations stayed below 2,500 for seven consecutive days.
Over the last week, inpatient beds filled with COVID confirmed and probable patients numbered as follows:
February 2: 2,486
February 3: 2,380
February 4: 2,251
February 5: 2,172
February 6: 2,026
February 7: 1,969
February 8: 2,012
Saturday night the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) cited six establishments around the state for violating Ohio Department of Health (ODH) orders relating to safe dining and staying home after 10:00 p.m.
Citation cases will now go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission – potential penalties include fine, temporary closure, liquor permit suspension and/or revocation.
Today Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Stephanie McCloud signed the Director’s Second Amended Order that All Persons Stay at Home During Specified Hours Unless Engaged in Work or Essential Activity.
Sources inside the state government told The Star in November that the original curfew order came as a reaction to significant backlash from Ohioans as information leaked that Governor DeWine was going to push for another shutdown.
One source said, “people in the room when the decision was made agreed that a curfew wouldn’t do anything significant,” but would be an acceptable compromise the DeWine team would accept.
Last week The Ohio Star reported on the Ohio Education Association (OEA) Position Statement, which called for schools to suspend in-person learning immediately until January 11. The document outlined four steps the union urges government leaders and schools to follow – reset, restart, reprioritize and resource.
OEA President Scott DiMauro accepted the invitation to talk with The Star in a one-on-one interview.
The Star asked questions submitted from Ohioans around the Buckeye State.