COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine again warned Ohioans about the dangers of large gatherings, citing specific cases of parties, crowds at some bars packed together inside and outside with no social distancing or masks, and other occasions which resulted in increased numbers of those with COVID-19.
“I continue to have grave concerns about the spread of coronavirus at establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption,” DeWine said at Thursday’s briefing. “We have seen outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus.
“The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors. Patrons either stay at one location, sometimes for hours or bar hop. Either way, they interact with many different people — especially the younger crowd.”
He added that “we do not want to shut down Ohio’s bars and restaurants” but that eateries and bars must comply with state mandates. He also said bars would have to stop daily sales of alcohol at 10 p.m. beginning Friday night, as long as the Ohio Liquor Control Commission OKs an emergency administrative rule Friday morning.
DeWine also cautioned Ohioans about small casual gatherings — generally at peoples’ homes — saying only family members and close friends should gather at homes and those that do should wear masks and exercise caution.
DeWine said that Ohio on Thursday reported 1,733 new cases of COVID-19 — “the highest daily count we have ever reported. This is not good news.”
He unveiled the latest map of the public emergency levels for Ohio’s 88 counties, saying, “The good news is that more people are wearing masks in our urban counties and we are seeing the spread slow. The bad news is our more rural counties are turning orange with significantly more spread taking place.”