LIMA — Ohio’s indoor drinking and dining curfew was relaxed by one hour Thursday, as the number of Ohioans hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline.
For the next two weeks, Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio bars and restaurants may stay open until 11 p.m. rather than 10 p.m.
If hospital capacity continues to improve, the curfew may fall back to midnight or expire entirely.
But DeWine warned that the curfew, which was imposed late last year to discourage Ohioans from congregating for long hours at bars and restaurants rather than close those venues entirely, may be reimposed if COVID-related hospitalizations start to rise again.
And COVID-19 hospitalizations would need to fall below 2,500 for seven consecutive days before the curfew can go away. That’s three times higher than Ohio’s peak in a typical flu season.
Also, Ohioans who are age 70 or older will be eligible for 1B vaccinations starting on Monday, as Ohio continues to gradually expand 1B access as more vaccines come into the state.
Vaccinations for Ohio teachers, bus drivers and other essential K-12 employees are already underway and will continue next week, although those appointments will be managed separately from other 1B groups to avoid crowding out newly eligible seniors.
Many Allen County schools are included among the 500 school districts expected to participate in the first full week of K-12 immunizations, which will start on Monday.
DeWine set aside vaccines for K-12 employees so schools would reopen by March. Already, he said the number of Ohio students enrolled in fully remote learning has fallen to 17%.