Ohio governor says ‘rampant’ Covid spread may prompt closure of bars, restaurants
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio warned that “rampant spread” of the coronavirus across the state could prompt him to reimpose tougher health restrictions on businesses.
“If the current trend continues, and cases keep increasing, we will be forced … to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. We will look at this one week from tomorrow,” DeWine said in a statewide address.
DeWine acknowledged the economic impact such measures would have, but he said, “these are places, candidly, where it’s difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”
The governor also said new restrictions will be placed in the coming days on banquets, wedding receptions and events after funerals. “We have seen great tragedy, great tragedy, associated with some these events,” he said. The order will ban dancing and games, as well as require congregate areas in event spaces to be closed.
Ohio’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases is 5,049, representing an increase of 51% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The state’s seven-day average of currently hospitalized Covid-19 patients is at 2,283, per a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project. That is up 35% compared with one week earlier.
“This surge is much more intense, widespread and dangerous” than what Ohio experienced earlier in the pandemic, DeWine said. He also revised the state’s mask mandate, requiring businesses to post signs at public entrances and also establishing a new investigative unit to increase compliance inspections.