COLUMBUS — What had been a suggestion became an order Sunday afternoon.
At his daily coronavirus press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio health department, signed a stay at home order for all Ohioans, effective at 11:59 p.m. Monday. The order is in effect until April 6, when the situation will be reassessed.
As of the press briefing, there were 351 confirmed cases in Ohio including one in Greene County. Around Ohio, 40 counties have at least one confirmed case with 83 hospitalizations, and three deaths.
“We are certainly at war,” DeWine said. “In a time of war we have to make sacrifices. Time is of the essence and we have to buy that time.”
The order exempts essential businesses and operations — including home-based businesses — while prohibiting all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit, except for some allowed activities. It also prohibits any non-exempted gathering of more than 10 people.
“There is really is nothing in that order that we have not already been talking about,” DeWine said. “There’s nothing in that order that I have not been asking you to do for the last week or so.”
Among the businesses exempted are grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations and businesses needed for transportation, financial and insurance institutions, and restaurants for consumption off premises.
The order allows citizens to leave their homes for essential tasks including outdoor activity, obtaining necessary supplies and services, engaging in activity essential to health and safety and for essential work, and to take care of others.
Otherwise, Acton said Ohioans should remain at home.
“This is the time you really need to follow this and make your circle very small,” Acton said. “I need to not drive to this press conference and see folks going around like business as usual. This is not a joke. This is not a drill. This is our one shot in this country.”
DeWine also announced effective Thursday that day cares must operate under a temporary pandemic child care license. Rooms must not have more than six children at one time.
“We are at an absolute crucial time in this war,” DeWine said. “What we do now can make all the difference in the world. What we do now will slow this invader. I am convinced we can do this. We can do this. We are Ohioans. We are Buckeyes. We are strong. We can get through this.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.