Gov. DeWine bans gatherings of 100+, announces extended spring break for schools

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW)– There are now five confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Ohio as officials announced a series of new orders to prevent the spread.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held a news conference on the updates on Thursday. Acton said they expect the virus to peak from late April to mid May.

Acton said the newest case is a Trumbull County man, who is quarantined with his wife and children.

“We must treat this like what is it and that is a crisis,” DeWine said.

DeWine said there is now a ban on mass gatherings of 100 or more people. It includes auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, large conference rooms, meeting halls, cafeterias, parades, fairs and festivals.

This excludes airports, hospitals, shopping malls, typical office environments, restaurants and grocery stores. The order does not apply to religious gatherings and gathering for exercising First Amendment protected speech. There is no time frame on when the ban will end, DeWine said.

Additional exclusions are listed in the full Ohio Department of Health order. 

The governor also said all schools will be on an extended spring break, beginning at the end of the school day Monday and lasting until April 3. It applies to all K-12 public, private and charter schools. DeWine said the closure doesn’t apply to day care centers and home-based childcare providers.

DeWine said school districts should work to provide education through alternative means. Over the next 72 hours, the Ohio Department of Education will develop guidance for K-12 schools to ensure the continuation of important services, including meals.

The Ohio Department of Health will soon update its current order limiting visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“This is temporary. We will get back to normal in Ohio. It won’t happen overnight,” DeWine said.

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

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