A stay-at-home order has been issued for Ohio residents, which will go into effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m. As part of the new directive, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close.
"All individuals currently living within the State of Ohio are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence," reads the order from Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton.
Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday that the order is scheduled to last until April 6, but it will be reassessed at that time.
Residents can still leave their homes to conduct essential activities for health and safety reasons, including going to the grocery, pharmacy and gas stations, as well as taking care of family members and neighbors.
The order also allows people to go outside for exercise while maintaining social distancing. However, DeWine says playgrounds will be closed.
Ohio is also implementing restrictions on daycare centers starting on Thursday, including limiting to six children to a room.
“We’re trying to show the seriousness of this," DeWine said. "This is no longer a suggestion, this is no longer good idea. This is something that is important to put it into a health order."
The order can be enforced by law enforcement, but the governor said he doesn't anticipate a bunch of people being arrested. However, violators could be charged with a second degree misdemeanor.
Essential business that will be allowed to stay open include grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants for carry out and delivery and hardware stores.
Other business that are allowed to stay open include: food, beverage and licensed marijuana producers, financial and insurance insititutions, food banks and social services, trader workers, laundry services, transportation services, home-based care services, media organizations, religious institutions, hotels and motels and funeral homes.
The order also allows professional services including lawyers, accountants, insurance business and realtors to keep working.
DeWine said even though religious institutions are permitted to stay open, he stressed gathering together is dangerous. He implored religious leaders to find other ways to hold services, including through live streaming.
Business that are allowed to stay open must follow good guidelines in terms of health, including maintaining social distancing, designate six-foot distances between employees, having hand sanitizing products available for employee and customers and separate hours for vulnerable populations.
"Today is the day that we have to batten down the hatches," said Acton. “Listen to what Italy is telling us, today is the day.”
On Sunday, the state announced 351 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 40 counties, with 83 hospitalizations. Three people have died, including 76-year-old Mark Wagoner Sr. in Lucas County and a 91-year-old married man in Cuyahoga County.
Acton said the stay at home order protects medical professionals on the front lines.
“I am not afraid, I am determined," Acton said. "This is our one shot, all of us will need to sacrifice.”
DeWine said all daycare centers must operate on a temporary pandemic childcare license through April 30.
The governor said these restrictions include a maximum six children per room, limited use of shared space and recommends not having common space, keep children with the same parent together and limit interaction at drop-off and pickup times.
The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634. More information is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.