Gov. Mike DeWine reissued July’s statewide mask order with three new provisions during an evening address on Wednesday.
The announcement is a reissue of the order originally issued in July that required statewide mask-wearing while in public places. The reissue takes this order and addresses Ohio businesses by adding the following provisions:
- Each business will be required to post a Face Covering Requirement Sign at all public entrances.
- Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks.
- A new Retail Compliance Unit, which is comprised of agents led by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensations, will inspect to ensure compliance.
DeWine said that these provisions must be followed to protect Ohio’s frontline workers, as there has been a recent spike in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.
“Our healthcare workers are, quite frankly, exhausted,” DeWine said. “They’ve been running a marathon for nine straight months, and with this new wave and the onset of flu season, it’s like they are starting the race all over again. If we don’t change this, we will not be able to provide appropriate care for all the Ohioans who need it.”
Additionally, DeWine announced that in one week the state will determine if bars and restaurants will remain open. The potentially impending closures will be determined by coronavirus trends in the state over the next week.
“I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and the owners. But, these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus,” DeWine said.
This latest announcement comes as the third spike of COVID-19 hits the state. During the first spike in the spring, all non-essential businesses were closed. In July there was a second spike, prompting the statewide mask ordinance that has remained in place.
As the weather has turned cold and people are inside more often, experts have warned of more spikes of COVID-19 diagnoses.
“We are now at the most crucial phase of this pandemic,” DeWine said.
DeWine reminded the state of the importance of adhering to the mask mandates and avoiding social gatherings, particularly with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, stating that anyone who comes into a home where they do not live puts those that do live there at risk.
“We’ve got to go back to basics,” DeWine stated, encouraging social distancing and for people to cease unnecessary contact outside of the home. The governor also encouraged that those capable of working from home do so. “We can control our fate.”