COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Residents of several big Ohio’s cities and their surrounding counties should stay at home as much as possible and not have guests inside their homes, including on Thanksgiving Day, according to the stay-at-home advisories issued Wednesday by public health directors.
Officials in Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton issued stay-at-home advisories for 28 days in an effort to slow coronavirus spread in those high incident areas.
People living in those cities and the surrounding counties are also advised to avoid traveling in and out of state. The advisories include a recommendation that people forgo having guests in their homes during the upcoming holiday season.
Exceptions would be for essential needs such as medical care, groceries, medicine and food pick-up, according to the orders. There are no enforcement measures included in the health resolutions; all compliance is voluntary.
Officials in Dayton said they will also close city buildings and recreation centers starting Monday.
“We understand the sacrifice and inconvenience experienced by residents and businesses, and we will keep working with the community to reduce the impact of the virus as much as possible,” Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said in a statement sent Wednesday by the administration.
Ohio High School Athletic Association officials said state championship football games scheduled Friday and Saturday in Obetz won’t be impacted by the Franklin County advisory, but those kickoff times have been moved up slightly to help ensure they end by the 10 p.m. curfew.
“We’ll need a sense of urgency to leave the facility after those games, but we don’t want to take away from the postgame experience,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said in a statement sent Wednesday.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced a three-week statewide 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. general curfew.
“Our state is on fire,” he said Wednesday in Columbus, one of several cities — including Toledo, Cleveland and Youngstown — that he visited during the day to promote the need for the curfew, along with strict mask wearing and social distancing. “We’re seeing spread everywhere.”
Just minutes before DeWine spoke in Columbus, Republican lawmakers in the House passed legislation that declares all Ohio businesses essential and hence immune from shutdown or curfew. DeWine called it a “horribly misguided” attack on public health and said he would veto it should it reach his desk.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 3,343 new cases per day on Nov. 3 to 7,280 new cases per day on Nov. 17, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
Associated Press Writer Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report, along with Farnoush Amiri, a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative in Columbus. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.