Hospitality business owners in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio have been calling for an end to the state’s evening curfew, which halts non-essential activities 10 p.m.-5 a.m. in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
But Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine now says that he may reduce curfew hours if the Buckeye State sustains a downward trend in key metrics and may even eliminate it all together.
During his Jan. 26 update, DeWine affirmed the Ohio Department of Health’s recommendation that Ohio's curfew begin at 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. if COVID-related hospitalizations drop below 3,500 for seven consecutive days.
That will be determined this week, DeWine says.
“As of today, hospitalizations have been below 3,500 for the past six days. If hospitalizations remain at this level for a seventh consecutive day, Ohio's curfew will be amended on Thursday and will be in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for at least two weeks,” DeWine says.
After that, if Ohio’s COVID-related hospitalizations drop below 3,000 for seven consecutive days, the curfew would be further scaled back to begin at midnight for two weeks.
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. “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 "Stay at Home Tonight" curfew order last week 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.
DeWine said then 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.