The Ohio Department of Health has shaved one hour from Ohio’s statewide curfew, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Jan. 27.
Beginning today, Jan. 28, Ohio’s “Stay at Home Tonight” curfew, which halts non-essential evening activities in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, will begin at 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. The curfew will continue to end at 5 a.m. daily.
Barring a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the amended order will remain in effect through Feb. 11. Ohio Department of Health director Stephanie McCloud signed the order.
“The change is being made because Ohio hospitalizations for COVID-19 have remained below 3,500 for seven consecutive days,” DeWine said in a statement.
DeWine had indicated earlier this week that a shorter curfew could be in the works if Ohio could maintain 3,500 hospitalizations for one week. If Ohio’s COVID-related hospitalizations drop below 3,000 for seven consecutive days after the new curfew, it would further scale back to begin at midnight for two weeks, he said on Jan. 26. And if they then drop to 2,500 for seven consecutive days, DeWine said the state would lift the curfew order completely.
But any rise in COVID-related hospitalizations would reset the clock and reinstate previous curfew measures.
“When our COVID hospitalizations are above 2,500, which is more than three times Ohio's peak in a typical flu season, our hospitals strain in their ability to deliver other care, especially routine diagnostic and procedural care,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health, said earlier. “When cases are above 3,500, our hospitals are highly stressed as evidenced by local and regional diversions and the greater need for transfers.”
Ohio extended its curfew order on Jan. 21 just as it was set to expire on Jan. 23. The order originally went into effect in November and has been extended several times as Ohio's number of coronavirus cases rose through the winter holidays.
Hospitality business owners in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio have been calling for an end to the state’s evening curfew, but DeWine has said that the combination of indoor activities and maskless patrons enables more transmission vectors for the virus.
“We based this on the science,” DeWine said on Jan. 21. “When we hit the winter months, we’ve had more spread inside. No longer can your patrons be outside on a patio; they’re inside. It [the virus] spreads more inside. Your business is a business where unfortunately people cannot wear a mask at the same time they’re eating or they’re drinking.”
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported on Jan. 22 that the Buckeye State lost 11,500 jobs in December, with 9,200 of those happening within the hospitality sector.