Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine with Dr. Amy Acton, the head of the Ohio Department of Health, during a press conference updating the public on COVID-19 March 12, 2020. Acton signed a stay-at-home order Sunday asking all Ohioans to limit leaving their houses until April 6. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Starting Monday at 11:59 p.m., Ohioans will be ordered to stay in their homes except for essential activities, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press conference Sunday.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of health of the Ohio Department of Health, signed a stay-at-home order Sunday asking all Ohioans to limit leaving their houses until April 6. The order, which DeWine said is also sometimes referred to as a shelter-in-place order, offers exceptions for essential activities such as for health and safety, necessary supplies and services and for outdoor activity.

“I’ve said over and over to you that every one of us matters, and every day matters, but today is the day that matters,” Acton said. “Today is the day we have to batten down those hatches.” 

DeWine said this is not much different from the recommendations he has already given, but violation of the order could result in a second-degree misdemeanor. 

“There really is nothing in that order that we have not already been talking about. There is nothing in that order that I have not been asking you to do for the last week or so,” he said.

Over the past week, Gov. DeWine issued orders that closed the dine-in options of restaurants and bars, postponed the primary election, postponed nonessential surgeries, and closed barber shops, salons, fitness centers, movie theaters, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, indoor trampoline parks and adult day care centers. 

At the time of publication, there are 351 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 83 hospitalizations and 3 deaths across 40 counties in Ohio, Acton said at the press conference. 

DeWine said businesses allowed to remain open — including restaurants offering carry-out options — must follow good health protocol such as maintaining social distancing, using hand sanitizer and making sure if an employee comes to work sick they are sent home.

DeWine also said that it is important for Ohioans to continue taking care of each other despite the stay-at-home order.

“We don’t want anyone to misunderstand. You still can take care of your neighbor, you can still take care of your mother, your dad, your child,” he said.

The order follows similar ones enacted across the country. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a shelter-in-place order Thursday asking Californians to stay indoors except for accessing food, prescriptions and healthcare, according to the California COVID-19 website.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that he would be issuing the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, requiring everyone to maintain a 6-feet distance from each other in public and for all nonessential workers to work from home, closing all nonessential businesses and temporarily banning all nonessential gatherings for any reason according to the New York COVID-19 website. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a stay-at-home order Saturday closing all nonessential businesses and prohibiting all congregations of individuals except for immediate family members, caretakers, household members or romantic partners, according to the New Jersey COVID-19 website.

Both Acton and DeWine said they were optimistic. 

“I don’t want you to be afraid,” Acton said. “I am not afraid, I am determined.”

View the order below:

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