DeWine Recommends Limiting Large Indoor Gatherings

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov, Mike DeWine Tuesday announced that he and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have recommended that large, indoor gatherings in Ohio be canceled or postponed due to the potential for coronavirus exposure.

The recommendation comes after consulting with members of the Governor’s Health Advisory Group composed of several physicians and health care professionals from the Ohio Hospital Association.

“After consulting with experts, we know that the decisions we make in the next few days and weeks will determine how many lives are lost in Ohio and how long this pandemic will last. Therefore, I’m recommending that Ohio limits a variety of large gatherings in order to protect public health,” said DeWine.  

The governor’s office listed these specific recommendations and orders:

  • Higher Education: Universities and colleges in Ohio are asked to screen students returning to school from international travel or cruises, including, but not limited to, students returning from spring break travel. Any university-sponsored international travel, non-essential travel, and large gatherings should be canceled or postponed. Higher education institutions should also consider offering online/remote learning.
  • K-12 Schools: Ohio is not currently recommending the closure of elementary, middle and high schools, however, school administrators should begin planning for that possibility, DeWine said. Parents should also begin planning for the potential that they may need to stay home with their children or find alternate child care solutions.
  • Athletics: All indoor high school, college and professional sports competitions should be held without spectators. DeWine asks that events take place only with athletes, parents, sporting officials, and media. Right now, outdoor sporting events can continue as planned.
  • General Large Gatherings: Generally, DeWine recommends that organizers of any events involving a large gathering of individuals in close proximity be canceled or postponed, such as parades.
  • Religious Institutions: All religious institutions should consider limiting practices that could spread germs, such as shaking hands or sharing a communal cup of wine during communion. Those in faith-based communities who are high-risk should consider staying home.
  • Nursing Homes: Because nursing homes house Ohio’s most high-risk residents, the state recommends that nursing homes screen all visitors, including volunteers and vendors, for symptoms of contagious illnesses.
  • Adult and Juvenile Correctional Facilities: DeWine has ordered that visitations at Ohio’s adult and juvenile corrections facilities be suspended. Contractors who are not critical to the workings of the facility will not be granted entrance. Those who are permitted into these facilities will be screened for symptoms of illness and must submit to a temperature reading.

Pictured at top: Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health Director, center, discusses the confirmation of Ohio’s first three cases of coronavirus, as Gov. Mike DeWine, right, studies an update on the cases provided to him during a news conference Monday. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted is at left. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

SOURCE: Office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.