Gov. Mike DeWine also announced the immediate closure of barber shops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors, as well as 180 Bureau of Motor Vehicle registrar offices and 52 driver exam locations.
DeWine has asked law enforcement to not issue tickets for expired driver licenses for those unable to get renewals after March 18 and he’ll ask state lawmakers to implement a grace period for those who cannot renew licenses.
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Once again, DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, used their daily news briefing to bring Ohioans up to speed on the outbreak and to urge social distancing to slow the spread so the health care system isn’t overwhelmed with a spike in cases.
DeWine, Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted called it patriotic and a civic duty to fight the virus by staying home.
“We are at war with a very, very dangerous and lethal enemy. This virus’ mission is to reproduce, and for it to go from person to person, it needs our help. It cannot do its damage without us. We become the enablers,” DeWine said. “We have it within our own control how fast this spreads and how widespread it spreads. We have within our hands, not only our own safety, but the safety of our fellow citizens.”
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DeWine said if he sees that distancing is not taking place, Ohio will have to take more action.
“Ohioans are really beginning to understand where we are and what they have to do. But it is also clear to me that some fellow citizens do not really understand it. They don’t get it,” the governor said. “This is a crisis that you’ve never seen in your life and I hope you’ll never see again in your life, but we have to get through this.”
Wednesday’s message from Acton and DeWine: COVID19 tests will be reserved for front line health care workers and high-risk patients exhibiting symptoms.
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Eighty-percent of Ohioans who get infected will ride it out at home like a bad flu and won’t need testing, Acton said. If their symptoms worsen, they should call the local emergency room and let them know they’re coming, she said.
The Ohio Department of Health confirmed 88 cases of coronavirus in 19 counties, including 26 hospitalizations.
The ODH help line, 833-4-ASK-ODH, is handling a high call volume. Answers are also available at Coronavirus.ohio.gov.
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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Wednesday issued an opinion that says courts may suspend jury trials to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio relaxed regulations for truck drivers hauling motor vehicle fuel within Ohio so they may work more hours.
DeWine’s administration applied to the SBA to qualify Ohio for the “economic injury disaster loan” program, the state said. This program allows low-interest loans up to $2 million.
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Government boards, such as the State Medical Board of Ohio, began holding meetings via videoconferencing and set up means for the public to attend virtually.
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