A curfew set to expire today will be extended through Jan. 2, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday.
“We believe the curfew, along with mask-wearing, have had an impact, and the next 21 days are extremely critical,” he said. “We must all do everything we can to slow down the virus.”
DeWine announced a 21-day curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting last month as the state saw coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge.
“It really goes back to what the doctors tells and that is that this virus is spread by contact,” he said. “If you can you reduce contact you are statistically going to the reduce spread of the virus. So if you can cut down on the time of people out mingling you are going to knock it down.
The governor said the state chose 10 p.m. to as a balance so that people would still be able to go out and support businesses, but would also reduce how long people would be out.
DeWine noted that there are a few events scheduled that will conflict with the curfew. The Ohio Department of Health is issuing a variance for the Columbus Crew championship game, the Browns and Bengals games and the University of Cincinnati conference championship football game.
DeWine said the start times for those games were set based off national television contracts and as a result will finish after the 10 p.m. curfew.
“These events have been run consistently with the protocols were asking all Ohioans to follow,” he said.
The governor also noted that the curfew does not impact any religious services, including midnight mass.
““No order we’ve issued, no curfew, nothing impacts religious services,” he said.
DeWine announced Stay Safe Ohio, a set of protocols meant to guide Ohioans through the next few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
The next three weeks are crucial in Ohio’s fight against coronavirus, DeWine said, noting that our actions over the next 21 days will set the tone for next year.
“These next several weeks will be the toughest yet,” he said. “We’re heading into the biggest holiday season on our calendar, while riding the biggest wave of COVID-19 that we’ve had so far.”
Some of guidelines under Stay Safe Ohio include staying home, wearing a mask, washing hands, keeping your distance from others and more.
Ohio cannot afford to overwhelm hospitals and health care workers right before the state is expected to start receiving its first batches of the coronavirus vaccination, DeWine said.
“COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical wellbeing of all Ohioans, the mental health of our citizens, and our economic security,” he said.
The governor said that until Ohio can get the coronavirus vaccine and start distributing it to residents, Ohioans need to find a way to live with the virus.
“They way we live this is following these 10 items,” he said of the Stay Safe Ohio protocols.
Montgomery County dropped down to level 3 after spending two weeks at purple, or level 4.
It joins the rest of the Miami Valley at level 3, which is the second most severe level of the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.
Ohio has five purple counties: Richland, Medina, Portage, Stark and Summit. Ashland and Guernsey counties are on the level 4 watch list.
At the beginning of the month, Ohio record more than 5,000 daily cases for the first time. By the end of November, the state hard reported more than 10,000 cases a day and was regularly seeing more than 7,000 daily cases.