Ohioans will be housebound for another month, despite some hopes that Tuesday morning would mark the end of the stay-at-home order.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that Ohio’s stay-at-home order will extend to May 1 and added additional restrictions to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. The order will go into effect Monday. The first stay-at-home order issued March 22 was originally scheduled to end April 6.
“We would not make these decisions — I would not make this decision — if it wasn’t a matter of life and death,” DeWine said. “I’m convinced that what we’re doing is saving lives. I know it’s saving lives. All the evidence shows that it’s saving lives.”
Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said young people have been hospitalized due to the virus and need to take the restrictions seriously.
DeWine also asked any person traveling from outside the state to self-quarantine for 14 days. He said this does not apply to those who work just across state lines.
“We are in this together. This is not easy for any of us,” DeWine said.
The new order also requires businesses such as grocery stores and hardware stores to set a maximum number of people allowed in the store at once. DeWine said the state will not set a maximum number of people allowed inside essential businesses and individual stores should set limits that allow for proper social distancing.
DeWine said state parks will remain open and weddings and funerals will not be restricted, but people should use good judgment and receptions cannot exceed 10 people.
Lt. Gov. John Husted said the order does not excuse people from paying their rent or mortgage; instead, it institutes a 90-day pause on foreclosures.
“If you find yourself, due to COVID-19, coronavirus, that you cannot pay your mortgage or pay your rent, then you need to work that out. The terms of that, you need to work that out with the financial institution or your landlord,” Husted said.
At the time of publication, there were 2,902 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 802 hospitalizations and 81 deaths across 75 counties in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s website.
The virus is expected to peak between late April and mid-May, Acton said.
“At that time, it won’t be one day and then it just falls away,” Acton said. “It will be day after day of a lot of hospitalizations and so the time going out of it, as you can see, this curve takes a while and it’s spreading out and so that takes us well into the time of June and we will be looking for signs that we can come out of this just as soon as possible.”