COLUMBUS—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH has signed an order to prohibit mass gatherings in the state of Ohio.
Mass gatherings are defined as any event or convening that brings together 100 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.
This would include parades, fairs, and festivals.
Mass gatherings does not include normal operations of airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers, or other spaces where 100 or more persons may be in transit. It also does not include typical office environments, schools, restaurants, factories, or retail/grocery stores where large numbers of people are present, but it is unusual for them to be within arm’s length of one another.
The order does not include religious gatherings, gathering for the expression of First Amendment protected speech, weddings or funerals.
This order will take effect immediately and will remain until the state of emergency declared by the Governor has been rescinded or modified.
Governor DeWine also announced all kindergarten through 12th grade schools close for a period of several weeks.
Beginning at the conclusion of the school day on Monday, March 16, all K-12 schools will close to students through Friday, April 3. This order includes all public, community, and private K-12 schools in the state, but does not apply to Ohio’s childcare system such as daycare centers and home-based childcare providers.
During this extended period of closure, schools should work to provide education through alternative means and school district leadership may make decisions on whether to use their school buildings. Staff members should continue to report to school as directed by administrators.
“We want to thank educators and administrators for the extraordinary efforts they will take to continue offering services during this time of national crisis,” said Governor DeWine.
Over the next 72 hours, the Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance for K-12 schools to ensure the continuity of important student services, including a strategy for providing meals.
Other announcements made by Governor DeWine:
FIFTH CASE CONFIRMED:
Ohio now has five confirmed cases of COVID-19. The fifth case involves a 55-year-old Trumbull County man who is currently hospitalized. The man has no travel history outside of Ohio, and this case represents a case of community spread. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton expect that the number of cases will continue to grow, as medical experts have predicted the number of cases will continue to double every six days.
NURSING HOMES/ASSISTED LIVING:
At the urging of the nursing home industry, the Ohio Department of Health will soon update its current order limiting visitors to nursing and assisted living homes to reflect that no visitors will be admitted.
For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.