COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine emphasized the importance of restaurants adhering to state parameters for opening when he spoke during Monday’s update — and he had stern words for those that aren’t toeing the line.
“I’ve always tried to be blunt about everything we are finding. I’ve been candid in saying that in this reopening phase, there is a significant risk,” said DeWine at the press conference and via Twitter. “But, there are significant risks if we do not open up. It’s up to all of us to open our economy but to do this in a safe way.
He continued, “When we look at how restaurants/bars operate, distance is key. We got reports over the weekend that most were doing an amazing job. But, it’s clear that we have some outliers — businesses that were not doing what they should do.”
DeWine stated bluntly that if eateries can’t adhere to state’s parameters, they should “make the wise decision” and remain closed.
He said all available resources will be utilized statewide and locally to ensure that restaurants are adhering to guidelines — or risk facing fines, loss of licenses, and even criminal charges.
“We will coordinate with (officials) as part of the Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit,” DeWine said. “They will surge in to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.
“They will issue administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. Further, we will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against these bad actors.
“The truth is that our economic recovery in Ohio is tied directly to how successful we are in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said. “We are talking about the slowing of the spread. This can only be done by distance. More distance, less spread of the disease.
The State of Ohio’s totals as of Monday afternoon are: 28,454 total cases (including probable cases) comprised of 53 percent males and 46 percent women, with 4,998 hospitalizations and 1,328 ICU admissions, with 1,657 deaths.
As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, Clinton County officials report the county has had 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases and five probable ones for a total of 40 — 20 men and 20 women.
Thirty-two people have recovered, and one Clinton Countian is reported hospitalized with the virus.
The age range is now 19 to 91. Until Monday, age 26 was the youngest reported age.