MEIGS COUNTY — Meigs County Sheriff Keith O. Wood and Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney James K. Stanley announce that local law enforcement will be filing criminal charges against individuals found to be violating Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s Stay at Home Order.
Violations of the director of health’s orders is a second-degree misdemeanor with penalties including up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Dr. Acton signed the Stay at Home Order on March 22, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the State of Ohio. An extension of the order through May 1 was signed on Thursday afternoon.
The order, which went into effect on March 23, directs all Ohioans to remain at home but allowed for travel in certain circumstances. Those circumstances include traveling to work at an essential business, traveling for essential government functions, and traveling for essential activities.
Essential activities include travel for health and safety, travel for necessary supplies and services, travel for recreational activity, travel for certain types of work, and travel for the care of others. Outdoor activity includes such physical activity as walking, hiking, and biking, among other activities. Outdoor activity does not include discretionary socializing in public or at another’s residence. Additionally, leaving one’s home to commit a crime is obviously a violation of the Stay at Home Order.
“So far, we have at least three people arrested who are subject to prosecution for violating the Stay at Home Order,” Stanley said. “This is very serious. Lives are at stake. Folks must stay home unless they absolutely must engage in essential travel for a permitted reason. Discretionary socializing, even when maintaining a distance of six feet and groups of fewer than ten individuals, is strictly forbidden.”
“Stay at Home! The coming days of this pandemic, according to the Health officials, is very clear to prevent the spread of the COVID-19,” Sheriff Wood said. “This has without doubt been a very difficult crisis in World History. Acts of total disrespect to this order will be enforced. Follow the ODH guidance, working together as a community will save lives!!”
Information provided by Prosecutor James K. Stanley and Sheriff Keith O. Wood.