Monday Update: Ohio Takes Steps to Better Enforce Social Distancing at Bars and Restaurants
COLUMBUS (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – After no media briefings on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, Governor Mike DeWine along with other state leaders and health officials spoke in Columbus this afternoon providing updates on COVID-19 in Ohio. Here is a complete outline on everything that was discussed.
Update on Cases
The Ohio Department of Health’s latest report shows the daily totals for cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all below the 21 day average. Ohio now has a total of 28,454 cases and 1,657 deaths. Nearly 5,000 Ohioans have been hospitalized from the coronavirus while 1,328 have been admitted into the intensive care unit.
Over 270,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered throughout Ohio. The Buckeye State has a positive test rate of around 10.5%.
Key indicators ⬇ pic.twitter.com/sFLwAfdD4o
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 18, 2020
Update on Stark County
Stark County is up to 595 total cases of COVID-19. The latest state report shows a few new fatalities bringing the county’s death toll up to 77. 131 people have now been hospitalized in Stark County due to the virus.
Update on Minority Strike Force
Similar to numerous other areas throughout the country, the coronavirus has disproportionately affected African Americans in Ohio. Governor Mike DeWine assembled a Minority Health Strike Force to address this problem over a month ago. DeWine says he’ll be talking more in-depth about that task force on Thursday and what can be done to help populations who are being hit hard by COVID-19.
Increased Enforcement of Reopening Guidelines at Restaurants
On Friday, bars and restaurants in Ohio were able to offer outdoor dining. Following the first weekend the dining service was available, Governor DeWine spoke on the importance of these businesses following all the reopening guidelines.
“The truth is that our economic recovery in Ohio is tied directly to how successful we are in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said. “We are talking about the slowing of the spread. This can only be done by distance. More distance, less spread of the disease.”
When looking at how restaurants and bars operate, DeWine says distance is key.
“We got reports over the weekend that most were doing an amazing job,” said DeWine. “But, it’s clear that we have some outliers, businesses that were not doing what they should do.”
As a result, the state is marshaling all the resources at its disposal to assemble a large contingent of law enforcement and health officials from across state agencies and from our local communities.
DeWine says his administration will coordinate with them as part of the Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit. They will surge in to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.
They will issue administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. Additionally, the state will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against these bad actors.
Update on High School Sports
Lt. Governor Jon Husted says the state will begin to coordinate with OHSAA to get a better picture of what can be done to limit the spread of coronavirus but possibly allow high school sports to compete. This comes after the announcement made last week that non-contact sports leagues can return on May 26.