Stay at home order issued for Ohio

A stay at home order was issued for the State of Ohio on Sunday to go into effect late Monday.

“There is nothing in the order that we haven’t already been talking about,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “There is nothing in this that I haven’t been asking you to do for the last few weeks.”

The order from the Ohio Department of Health will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and stay in effect until April 6. It will be reassesed at that time.

Essential businesses can stay open.

The order can be enforced by the local health departments and local law enforcement.

“We don’t look to see a bunch of people arrested,” said DeWine. “This is not what we want to accomplish. By doing the stay at home health order, we can convey the seriousness of this. The businesses that stay open must figure out how to follow these guidelines.”

It does permit exceptions to staying home. They include leaving for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, to take care of others, and for outdoor activity. Carry-out orders of food are also still allowed.

Unless you work for an essential business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home. Work from home is permitted and encouraged where possible.

”We did not order religious organizations to close, but my message to everyone is that this is serious,” said DeWine. “When you are coming together, whether in a church or wherever – this is dangerous.”

“It’s absolutely essential in Ohio that we don’t do this in a piecemeal way,” said Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton.

Also, all childcare centers, beginning on Thursday, must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license. They will also go down to a maximum of six children per room. This is a dramatic change, but it’s necessary to minimize the risk to the kids, DeWine said.

As of Sunday, there were 351 confirmed cases in Ohio, with a median age of 51 years. There were three deaths, including one in Lucas County. Forty counties have confirmed cases.

“There is no time left. Listen to what Italy is telling us. Today is the day. We must do everything we can in our power to protect the people on the frontlines – the first responders and healthcare workers,” said Acton.