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Ohio ramps up mask rules and may close bars, restaurants

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine shifted the authority of mask enforcement from the local counties to the state. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will be responsible for inspections across the 88 counties.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 10:24 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine beseeched Ohioans on Wednesday to take the surging coronavirus spread seriously, issuing new orders on mask enforcement in businesses, gatherings across the state and threatening to close bars, restaurants and fitness centers if cases continue to rise.

“Throughout our country’s history, each generation has faced unique sacrifices,” DeWine said in the statewide address. “Today, we all must do something far less dramatic but very important: wear a mask so your friends and family members can live.”

DeWine shifted the authority of mask enforcement from the local counties to the state. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will be responsible for inspections across the 88 counties.

If a business receives more than one violation it will have to close for 24 hours.

“We must do this to protect our frontline workers,” DeWine said. “Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment where it is as safe as can be.”

DeWine, 73, who has been elected to almost every position in Ohio during a 40-year political career, is also requiring businesses to display ‘No Mask, No Service’ signs and to refuse service to customers who don’t comply.

The state also banned social areas like pool tables and dance floors at bars and restaurants.

But the governor’s orders Wednesday were not as far-reaching as in March, when Ohio became one of the first states to go into lockdown.

DeWine warned that if the number of Ohioans in hospitals and ICUs keeps rising, he will again close all bars, restaurants and fitness centers in the state. He said that next week the state will review whether to shut them down.

“I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees,” DeWine said. “I’m well aware of the burden this will place on the owners, but these are places where it’s difficult and impossible to maintain mask-wearing.”

The mask and gathering rules go into effect Thursday.

Wednesday’s speech marked the governor’s second statewide address in eight months.

At the beginning of the pandemic, DeWine’s aggressive moves won him praise but have made him a target of fellow Republicans who strafe under many of his mandates.

More recently, he has tilted toward messages of personal responsibility, following the direction of governors in Republican-leaning states who resisted wide crackdowns.

His first address took place in mid-July as Ohio experienced its first peak after reopening its economy in May.

Months later, the state is still under that statewide mask order, although until Wednesday, DeWine and state officials had made no effort to enforce it. But what Ohio is seeing now is a peak unlike what happened in the spring and summer.

The number of daily virus cases exceeded 6,000 on Tuesday, a stark jump from 1,400 this time last month. Hospitalizations are also on the rise, with more than 2,700 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 related symptoms. Of those hospitalized, 327 are on ventilators.

Doctors across the state warned Monday of a dark winter to come if hospitalizations continue at this rate.

“The capacity issues we face now are different from what we experienced in the spring,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, who was appointed chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health by DeWine on Thursday. “What we are seeing now is an increasing demand on our staff.”

Ohio has seen 5,547 COVID-19 related deaths to date, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, making the death count the 13th highest in the country overall.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has more than doubled.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107047

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284921459
Cuyahoga1155972204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524821040
Summit48339999
Lucas43303817
Butler38901603
Stark33286929
Lorain25641502
Warren24557303
Mahoning22330601
Lake21135385
Clermont20097252
Delaware18817135
Licking16645222
Fairfield16561204
Trumbull16522479
Medina15593270
Greene15252246
Clark14219306
Wood13280197
Portage13226214
Allen11905239
Richland11598211
Miami10835223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9020230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8649122
Marion8635138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7137179
Hancock6996131
Ross6933161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6528104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5436125
Darke5415129
Seneca5343126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387277
Preble3847103
Clinton378466
Ottawa372681
Highland359265
Williams347578
Champaign343658
Guernsey324153
Jackson317354
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2698101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196748
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
Clear
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Huntington
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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Tuesday is another mostly sunny and comfortable day with a small chance of a stray afternoon shower or sprinkle.
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