COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine eased Ohio’s stay-at-home order and travel restrictions from mandatory to strongly recommended Tuesday, while emphasizing that the coronavirus is not gone and Ohioans must keep putting the safety of others first to contain its spread.
“What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread,” the Republican said at his Statehouse briefing. “For many of us, really for all of us, we will have no other time in our life where our own individual actions or inactions can impact the lives of so many of our fellow citizens.”
The new “urgent health advisory” strongly encourages — but not longer legally requires — Ohioans to stay home or to avoid unnecessary travel. Those who travel into Ohio will no longer need to observe a 14-day quarantine, unless they’re showing signs of COVID-19, DeWine said.
The advisory, which was still being finalized, will not lift mandatory business protocols, such as those placed on restaurants and bars or those requiring certain employees to wear masks, nor will it lift the ban on large gatherings, spokesman Dan Tierney clarified after the news conference.
DeWine said Ohioans are still advised to follow 6-foot (2-meter) social distancing protocols, to wear masks and to frequently wash their hands.
Other coronavirus-related happenings Tuesday:
The state announced a fourth prisons employee has died from COVID-19 complications. Correctional Officer Dewane “Pete” Gannon, 58, a guard at the Correctional Reception Center in central Ohio for the past 10 years, died Monday, said Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith. A guard and two nurses previously died.
More than 600 employees system-wide have tested positive, along with more than 4,500 inmates. Of those, 63 inmates have died from confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, with deaths spread across seven institutions.
Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.