During a coronavirus update to Ohio citizens Nov. 11 Gov. Mike DeWine said he was reissuing the mask order originally pronounced July 23 and adding three provisions.
The revised order requires stores to post a face covering mandate sign at all of their public entrances. Each store is also responsible for making sure its customers and employees wear masks.
DeWine also established a new Retail Compliance Unit made up of agents led by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to inspect stores for compliance.
While a retail outlet’s first violation would result in just a written warning, DeWine said stores that have a second violation would be closed for up to 24 hours.
“We must do this to protect our frontline workers,” DeWine said.
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DeWine’s decisions come as Ohio is dealing with its third wave of the virus—one that has shown a voracity in surges topping nearly 6,500 cases in a day at its height Nov. 10, with no indication of slowing down any time soon without immediate action.
This time around, said DeWine, the surge has been more intense, widespread and dangerous. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties have a high rate of spread. The Ohio Department of Health’s Coronavirus dashboard shows Franklin County now has a case count of 39,917, the highest in the state by a wide margin compared to the other two major counties with high urban populations; Cuyahoga (26,048) and Hamilton (22,546).
Although DeWine warned that numbers will continue to grow across the state, he also said a vaccine could be here as early as December.
Results shared Nov. 9 by Pfizer showed the pharmaceutical company’s final research of its vaccine trials were “very effective” in preventing the virus, DeWine said.
He said when the vaccine is ready, it will arrive in batches, and the first several months will be spent making sure the vaccine gets to Ohio’s most vulnerable residents along with essential healthcare workers.
“We will be ready to get it out just as soon as we receive it,” he said.