Gov. DeWine to slap ‘significant new restrictions’ on what will and won’t be allowed after weddings, funerals

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Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine took to Twitter Wednesday to blame residents of his state for helping to spread COVID-19 after failing to socially distance while pledging new restrictions on gatherings for weddings and funerals.

“It is essential that we also remember the existing orders that are already in place to slow the spread of the virus. In April, we issued an order to limit gatherings of more than 10 people. That limit is still in effect and applies to public events and private gatherings,” he wrote.

“Despite this order, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” he continued. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.


“To address this, we will be issuing a new order soon to place significant new restrictions on these social activities,” DeWine promised.

“Specifically, open congregate areas can no longer be open. The order will require everyone to be seated and masked unless they are actively consuming food or drinks and it will prohibit things such as dancing and games,” he said.

On Wednesday, DeWine said Ohio would remain in a state of emergency as coronavirus cases spike in his state as well as several others around the country.

In addition to the new social gathering restrictions, WPTA21 reported that DeWine will also order all businesses in the state to post a face-covering document at their main entrance requiring patrons to wear masks.

Store owners and employees are required to wear masks and will now be responsible for enforcing compliance of the mask mandate on customers.

In addition, the state will be forming a new agency that will be responsible for enforcing the mask mandate on businesses. Initially, violators will receive a written warning but subsequent infractions will incur a mandatory closure order of up to 24 hours.

DeWine also said he will consider re-ordering bars, restaurants, and fitness centers shuttered again if COVID cases continue to climb.

“We are now at the most crucial phase of this pandemic,” he said.

On Wednesday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, director for the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and an adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on COVID-19, raised eyebrows when he recommended another “four-to-six week” national lockdown, shutting businesses again and piling on new debt to pay unemployment wages.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four to six weeks.

“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that,” he added.

Last week, Pfizer announced it has developed a COVID vaccine with a 90-percent rate of preventing infections.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen,” he added.

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Jon Dougherty

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