CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Thursday unveiled a new county-by-county alert system for coronavirus risk in the state, but he stopped short of announcing any new restrictions or closures amid a surge in the virus.
The color-coded public health advisory alert system has four levels based on seven coronavirus data indictors.
Cuyahoga County is among seven counties in the state at level three due to a growing number of cases, including outside of congregate settings. DeWine said the county met four of the system’s seven indicators.
DeWine said people in level three counties should limit activities as much as possible, consider necessary travel only and limit gatherings. He said it should be a “wake up call.”
At this point, the system does not include any new restrictions, including for businesses, based on alert level, but DeWine left the door open to that. He said the alert system will inform future decisions by local and state leaders.
DeWine said the state can not move backward with the economy and is in a new phase of “living with the virus.” However, he said the state planned to “crack down” on bars and restaurants that aren’t following established rules, including for social distancing.
Some business owners struggling to regain business after earlier closures said additional measures could put them out of business.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be very, very hard, a second time,” said Sargon Zodo, General Manager of Taza in downtown Cleveland’s Warehouse District. “We will suffer.”
He noted the challenge downtown bars and restaurants face as large events including concerts, sports and plays remain cancelled and many companies continue to have employees work from home.
“Obviously they’re still afraid, they’re working from home, and further restrictions will affect us, definitely,” Zodo said.
Right now, no county in the state is at the highest alert level, level four. Under that level, people are asked to stay home except for essential services.