Nov 17, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 17: Three-Week Curfew
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference on November 17 to address a spike in coronavirus cases. He announced a three-week curfew set to begin on Thursday. Read the transcript of the briefing speech here.
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Gov. Mike DeWine: (05:15)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (05:22)
Well, we certainly had some good news yesterday morning, Moderna with their drug trials of proceeding very well with 95%, Pfizer the week before. So that’s very, very good news. Help is truly on the way for us in Ohio and across the country. So very, very, very good news. The bad news is that our situation in Ohio is deteriorating. We see more and more cases, more and more people in the hospital, and we’ve got to turn this thing around. We literally have to build a bridge to get from here to the point when we’re going to have the immunity from the vaccine. So we got to get over this. We got to get over this bad, bad spot. And we’ll going to talk today about some of the things that we can do, and it sounds like the reports I’m getting around Ohio, we’re already starting to do that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (06:26)
More and more people are wearing masks in retail outlets, which is just great, great, great news. So Eric is back, good to see you Eric, let’s take a look at numbers. Let’s go to today’s slide. 7,000 cases. This has been running between seven and 8,000 for about a week. Six weeks ago we were at about a thousand. So it’s going up dramatically. Number of deaths, sadly at 30. Hospitalizations, way up, 368. We’ll talk about hospitalizations in a moment. Those people in the hospital. 21 day average was 210. And ICU admissions is up a little bit as well.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (07:18)
Let’s talk a little bit about hospitalization. October 13th, we had a thousand people in our hospitals in Ohio who had COVID. November 5th, that number was 2000. By November 12th, that number has gone from 2000 to 3000. And you look at today’s number: 3,648. So this is just, as you can tell, going up dramatically. You’ll see that the yellow is the ICU and that’s going up certainly as well, and you’ll see COVID positive hospitalized is the purple. So just a dramatic, dramatic change. I spent yesterday traveling around in some of the southeastern parts of the state, as well as the northwestern part of Ohio. I had doctors with me at each stop and each one of them described what they were seeing in their local hospital.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (08:26)
The ICU, let me give you the ICU numbers. One month ago, we had 280 of our fellow Ohioans in ICU. Today we have 900. So a dramatic increase of those in that situation. So Eric, let’s take a look at the next one. This is our slide, of course, 88 counties ranked by highest occurrence. And again, as you’ll see every single county is now a high incidence and these numbers continue to go up, even for the counties that have the least spread. If we look here, Meigs County, for example, still these are high numbers. Every county in the state is at least two times the high incident level set by the CDC.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (09:22)
Eric, let’s look at the top 20. And if you look at the top 20, these are astronomical numbers. If you look at the top five, Putnam, Mercer, Allen Lake, Auglaize, these numbers are just shocking. It means that one out of 100 people in the last two weeks was diagnosed with COVID. So just think about the odds and we know that’s always lower than not everybody’s diagnosed, not everyone has the test. And so what that means is that dramatically increases the chance of someone in those counties running into somebody who does in fact have the COVID. And again, it’s the reason for the masks, it’s the reason for the distancing.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (10:15)
All right, Eric, let’s take a look at the next slide. This is something we’ve shown before. I believe this is cases versus testing. This shows we’re very happy to see the testing going up and it continues to go up, but number of cases is going up obviously much more dramatically. So we have some people who think that the increase in testing is what’s causing the increase in cases. Yeah, a little bit of it, but most of it is more and more cases.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (10:46)
So let’s take a look at the next slide, Eric. So this is number, again, of tests perform, and you can see these numbers are going way, way up. We’re happy, certainly happy about that. And the positivity number, the seven day running average, is 12.8 positivity. The last day was 13.8. So certainly not heading in the right direction.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (11:11)
So let’s talk a little bit about building that bridge to get us across until we get to the point when we start not only start getting vaccinations out, but get them out enough so that we’re starting to get that herd immunity. So it’s a ways away, but the good news is it is coming, and it’s great, great news that we got this weekend and last week. We started down that path last week with our retail mask order. We had inspectors go out yesterday for the first day. Again, our goal is to protect the workers in the retail establishment, also to protect customers when they go in. It’s the right thing to do with every county now being hot, every county now having very significant spread. The good news is that we have had some reports that even before Monday, when it started to be enforced, we were starting to see a number of people who are wearing masks in retail establishments go up. And I got some emails from some folks who have been in these different retail establishments and some of them. So that’s great. We just encourage people to continue to do that. We re-issued last week the order that people should not come together, 10 or more people. That has to do, of course, with wedding receptions and funerals. Again, not impacting the wedding receptions or the weddings themselves, the ceremony, nor the funerals, but the receptions, the getting together, the order simply says that it has to follow, basically, the restaurant protocol. There’s a few additional tweaks in there, but it’s basically people need to wear a mask when they’re not actively eating, they need to be seated. They need to be careful. And we think that will help when people follow that as well as we’ve seen a lot of tragedy come out, sadly, out of weddings and out of funerals and spread coming from that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (13:29)
What else can we do? I think really, if we could summarize what we need to do, it’s wear a mask and have fewer contacts. What do I mean by that? Well, think back to the spring, we did shut down, people stayed home, not looking at anything that drastic, but we know that if we reduce the number of people we come in contact every day with, that we reduce the chances of getting the virus, and we reduce the chances of spreading the virus if we unknowingly have it. You can look back in the spring or you can look back in, in March, April, and you just saw activity went down, and we’re not talking about closing any businesses as we did then, but what we’re asking every Ohioan to do is to limit your activity, limit your contacts with other Ohioan.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (14:35)
So how are we going to do that? We’re issuing a curfew. And a curfew will start Thursday at 10:00 PM. So the curfew every day for 21 days, we’re going to try it for 21 days see how we’re doing, for 21 days, three weeks. At 10:00 PM, retail establishments need to be closed and people should be home. That will run until 5:00 AM. I know a lot of people like to get up and exercise and do things, that’s great. We believe that this is going to help. It’s going to reduce some of the contacts that are taking place.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (15:18)
What else can be done? So I’m asking, in addition to the curfew itself, I’m asking each Ohioan, every day, to do at least one thing that reduces your contact with others, or one thing that it enhances your personal contact with someone, your emotional contact with them, but not a physical contact. What are we talking about? Let me give maybe some examples that I just wrote down today. You’re thinking about going and watching the Ohio State game with a bunch of friends. Don’t do it. Pull back, watch that at home. Talk about it on the phone, Skype in if you want to talk back and forth about it, but pull back.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (16:13)
Wear a mask to church. Again, something that people can do. Call a friend, just talk to a friend. Chris is going to talk a little bit later today about some of the mental health toll that’s going on during this pandemic and what people can do to alleviate that, something you can do. Write a letter to someone. People like to get mail. They don’t get a handwritten note very often. Give them that. Again, something positive that we can do during this time. Something we did back in the spring, we consolidated trips, talking to someone the other day, and they said in the spring I would have made one trip to the grocery store. This week I’ve made two, maybe three. So you can buy the same amount of stuff, we want to help the merchants, but make a list, consolidate it.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (17:14)
These are just simple things. Everyone can come up with their own list. So I’m really asking, and we’re asking every Ohioan to do one thing at least, or two or three, that cuts down the contact every single day. Ask what you can do for your fellow man, ask what you can do for the people of Ohio. And we are all in this together and what each one of us does will make a difference. We don’t have to cut these contacts down by as much as we did in the spring, but if we can cut it down say 20%, 25%, we’re going to have a significant impact. And you couple that with what we really didn’t know in the spring and that was that these masks work really well. And so couple the masks with that, couple the cutting down on the number of contacts, and that’s going to go a long way to keeping our hospitals from being overrun, it’s going to go a long way to keep our kids in school, it’s going to go a long way to keep our loved ones who are in a nursing home safe. We’ll now go to our Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. Doctor, thank you for joining us. You’re officially on the team and so thank you very, very much for the good work that you’re doing. I know that you and I have talked an awful lot. We talked some before you took the position, but we’ve been talking a lot more since you took this position. So give us a little perspective from a medical, scientific point of view about what we’re seeing in Ohio right now and maybe some of the things that we should be looking to do and what the significance of all this is.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (19:15)
Well, thank you, Governor DeWine. I’d like to share information about really two things, the science of COVID-19 and how our hospitals are handling all of this. First, let’s turn to the science. At the beginning of March, when COVID-19 first arrived in Ohio, we didn’t know much about the virus and the disease it causes. This science has evolved. This virus has spread across the world and today, our picture of how the disease progresses is much more complete. What we know is that this disease is spread mostly through the air by respiratory droplets. When we cough, sneeze, sing, talk, even when we breathe, we expel virus droplets into the air. If an infected person is having a conversation in close proximity to another person, or coughs, or sneezes next to them, we know now that that second person is at real risk of being infected by some of these airborne droplets.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (20:26)
Fortunately, what we know today is that there really are simple things each and every one of us can do to protect ourselves from these droplets. We can maintain a good distance, say six feet from those around us, and we can wear a mask. These are simple and yet very effective non-pharmaceutical interventions that accomplish three things. They protect the person you’re interacting with because the mask limits your respiratory droplet spray, and keeping your distance makes it harder to share the virus. Today, we also know that the masks protect the wearer from being on the receiving end of another person’s respiratory droplets. And there’s now scientific evidence that if you’re wearing a mask and yet still are infected, you’re less likely to get sick than if you weren’t wearing a mask.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (21:26)
I also want to comment on the importance of good ventilation. As we shift to being more and more inside, we need to look for ways to ensure a good ventilation when we’re around others. So if you’re going to be inside around people who aren’t in your inner circle, consider cracking a window in addition to wearing a mask. The science is absolutely clear. Keeping your distance, wearing a mask, and good ventilation all work together to form a protective barrier against viral transmission. It doesn’t matter if you feel fine or you just have a mild tickle in your throat, you could be asymptomatic, and still a carrier, able to infect the people around you, even if you feel absolutely fine. That’s why it’s crucial that each one of us wears a mask when we’re around anyone who isn’t in our immediate circle. Now, as the holidays approach, these protective measures are going to be even more important. It’s obviously not possible to wear a mask while you’re eating where you’re drinking, which is why we’re recommending that you celebrate small this season. Keeping your celebrations to the inner circle of people who live in your household will help protect you and your family.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (22:57)
Now I’d like to turn to our hospitals. Something that’s important for us to know as we think about and talk about COVID-19 is the trajectory of this disease and how long it may take for someone to get sick. Sick enough to end up in the hospital. Say, for example, I was infected with COVID-19 on Monday. It could take three days for the virus to make me sick enough to start showing symptoms. Then it could take me another couple of days of feeling lousy before I decided to go to the doctor. Assuming I got tested and the doctor gave me a result and that result came back, let’s say fairly quickly, in 48 hours, it could take another couple of days of feeling badly before I got sick enough to say, “I need to go to the hospital.” Once people get admitted to the hospital, we need to be aware that they aren’t staying a short period of time. We’ve made great strides-
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (24:03)
… a short period of time. We’ve made great strides in the treatment of COVID-19. And those advancements have, in fact, reduced hospital stays a lot. Nevertheless, even with these improvements, a person who gets admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 typically will stay several days. And if you’re sick enough to end up in the ICU, especially on a ventilator, your length of stay could be weeks. Now, if you’ve never seen anyone who needs a ventilator for assistance with breathing, you should know that it’s not an easy road. It can take a long time to rebound from being an event. It’s grueling and requires a long recovery, even after you’re breathing on your own again. I speak directly with my colleagues in healthcare around the state each and every day, and what they’re telling me so that the situation is very serious. As we look around the state, every county is being impacted. There’s no relief valve. There’s no place where the virus isn’t transmitting at a high rate.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (25:12)
A month ago, we had a thousand people in the hospital at any given time. Today, that number is more than 3,600, and it’s growing considerably. In the spring, we focused our efforts on conserving PPE and building physical capacity, the space and the stuff for our healthcare system. We were successful, and we’re in much better position today to help support our hospitals through this surge. However, we now face a different kind of crisis. It’s the people, it’s a staffing crisis. Our caregivers are in a precarious situation. They’re at risk of illness because of their exposure or their family’s exposure outside the hospital. As a result of these outside the hospital exposures, some of those people, some of those vital nurses and other medical staff may be quarantined or may become ill themselves. Many of them have been treating COVID-19 patients since March, and they’re just exhausted.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (26:26)
Let me leave you with this thought. We all we need to do absolutely everything we can to contain the spread of this virus. We’re at a critical juncture. We need to protect our healthcare workers. I spoke earlier about the trajectory of the disease. Remember that even if we make necessary changes immediately, it’s going to take us weeks before we start seeing that any real improvement in those hospital numbers. Even if you don’t believe in masks, please wear one, keep your distance from other people, and reconsider your gatherings to protect our healthcare workers. They really need us now more than ever.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (27:19)
Doctor, thank you very much. Thanks for being with us. Great to have you on the team. Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss is next, and we’re going to Skype her in. And Lori, you’ve talked to me a lot about what we’re seeing out there with people and their mental health needs. I know that as I’ve talked to other people across the state, we’re seeing that as well. Maybe you can help us a little bit about how to get through this and maybe help family and friends get through it.
Lori Criss: (27:53)
Yeah. Thank you so much, Governor, for having me back. I appreciate your attention to our physical health and our mental health as Ohioans. And I know that so many others do as well. This pandemic is definitely creating prolonged stress for all of us. And if you’re feeling stressed out, you’re not alone. It’s okay to not be okay. And it’s okay to ask for help. And these are things that you’ve heard me say before, you’ve heard the governor talk about before, and it’s true. We’ve established in Ohio CareLine, so that if you want to talk to someone about your stress, you can call 1-800- 720-9616 to connect with a mental health professional 24 hours a day. And maybe you don’t want to have a conversation, you’d rather just text with someone, that’s available too. You can text the number four and the word hope to 741741. And you can chat via text. Either way, you’re connected to a mental health professional that’s just going to walk you through answering questions that you have, listening to your concerns, connecting you to resources or information in your local community.
Lori Criss: (29:04)
Maybe you don’t really need to talk to someone yet, but there are still healthy ways for each of us to think about adapting to adversity during the pandemic. And these are pretty simple things that each of us can do, but they do take some attention on our part to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves. So the first, the governor’s already talked about this, staying emotionally connected to people that we care about each day, reaching out to a friend or a family member with a phone call. It helps us feel better as the person making call, and it’s always great to get a phone call from a friend too. Get a little bit of fresh air, a little bit of sunlight, a little bit of exercise each day. That gets a little harder in the colder months in Ohio, especially in the sunlight sometimes, but getting outside, and even if it’s just bundling up and taking a walk around the block or doing some stretches inside near a window, these are good things for us, physically.
Lori Criss: (29:59)
And then the other thing I’ll just mention quickly today is prioritizing time for your spirituality or your faith. Spending some time in meditation or prayer is something that can really help with managing stress too. So, again, these things sound simple, and it’s easy to move away from any one or all of these things on a day-to-day basis, especially if we’re dealing with financial struggles or missing loved ones during the holidays or supporting a school-age child during the learning from home. But research shows that these coping strategies will help each of us deal with adversity, and they help each of us build some confidence in our skills, calmness in our mind, and perseverance when we’re starting to feel the fatigue of the pandemic and it taking place over months and months. So remember, taking care of yourself is a priority, not a luxury.
Lori Criss: (30:58)
And now I just want to take a minute to talk to our friends and family and neighbors who have been struggling with or recovering from a mental illness or a substance use disorder. Maybe starting before the pandemic, please keep up with your treatment, keep up with your medication, stay connected to your support groups. If you run a facility that hosts a support meeting, find ways for that meeting to continue in person in a safe way, if possible. And if not, look for ways for people to connect virtually through social media meetings or other connections. These support meetings are life-saving, so stay connected to your peers. They’ll help you when times get tough. Also, we know that no matter how long someone’s been in recovery from a mental illness or a substance use disorder, relapse can happen under prolonged stress, and so the pandemic is certainly something that can threaten relapse for our friends and family who are in recovery.
Lori Criss: (32:01)
Let’s make sure that none of us are making assumptions, that we’re checking in with our friends, checking in with our families who we know have struggled with addiction or mental illness in the past. Invite these family members, these friends, into our inner circle, into our bubble to help them find ways to be safe and help support their wellness from COVID-19, but also to reduce opportunities from being alone and for having a substance use crisis without support, and that could include an overdose. Ask your friends and family who are in recovery if they’re okay, encourage them to stay connected to treatment and support, ask if they need help getting what they need. And if they do, then there’s resources available. You can go to takechargeohio.org, or you can, again, call the Ohio CareLine at 1-800-720-9616. These are simple ways that each of us can commit to supporting ourselves and one another every day during the pandemic and beyond. And, remember, taking care of yourself is a priority, not a luxury.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (33:12)
Well, Director, thank you very much. All good comments, very important comments. For example, if someone is in an AA group, what you’re saying is try to figure out either how to physically continue that, wear a mask, do something, or do it on online or somehow keep that connection. Is that-
Lori Criss: (33:35)
That’s right. That’s right. There are a lot of peer support groups, family support groups that are continuing in person, maybe there’s fewer people, they’re sitting further apart, they’re wearing masks, the meetings might be shorter. So don’t assume that a meeting’s not happening, reach out and find out. But also online, there are a number of meetings available, and there are organizations that are hosting those, and they’re private and confidential and secure as well.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (34:03)
Great. Well, thank you very much. Thanks for the great work you do, and your team and folks around the state of Ohio. We appreciate that very, very much. Before we go, the lieutenant governor, maybe just a couple more comments about the curfew, because I’m sure people are saying, “Well, what all does that mean?” Again, 10 o’clock to five o’clock in the morning, basically want people not to be out, but there certainly is always exceptions. It would not apply to those who need to go to work during those hours, or those who need to be out for any kind of emergency purpose.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (34:36)
Curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or getting a meal from carryout or drive-through or delivery. Curfew is not intended to stop anyone from going to a hospital, obviously, or seeing a doctor or getting help or treatment for medical or mental health conditions. So just kind of common sense or ideas to kind of carve this time out. And we know that if we all do it, with some exceptions, that that in and of itself will reduce some of these contacts that are going on. So Lieutenant Governor, we’ll turn it over to you.
Jon Husted: (35:10)
Thanks very much, Governor. Last part, people need to pay attention to that. It’s just common sense. And Lori and Bruce were great, a lot of great advice there. And I’ve had lots of conversations over the last week from people who offered opinions and advice, and I’ve just tried to put it in perspective for them. We’ve heard a lot of statistics. It’s always hard to know which ones to use, but it took us five months to get to our first 100,000 cases. And we had 100,000 cases of virus spread over the last three weeks. That puts in perspective about what we’re confronting now. And I know the governor and Bruce alluded to this, but over the past 21 days, hospitals, as a result of that spread, have seen the increase from around 1400 patients to over 3600. And as a result, some of those hospitals have had to accommodate this increasing numbers by slowing, postponing, some elective surgeries. And we just can’t see this trend continue without it having a really increasingly negative impact on the way that our caregivers provide that care.
Jon Husted: (36:24)
And so doing nothing is not an option. It’s easy to understand why though, because I’ve had a lot of these conversations, it’s easy to understand why targeted shutdowns of businesses like restaurants and physical fitness centers were, for some, considered pretty unpopular, and they didn’t consider it a fair solution because those businesses and the people who rely on those paychecks would bear a disproportionate responsibility of the burden, when we know, we all know this, that the responsibility for the solution lies with all of us. Personal responsibility and accountability and shared responsibility. We don’t need to shut down, but we do need to slow down for a few weeks to get this virus back into a manageable situation.
Jon Husted: (37:16)
I often hear people asking for this balanced approach as the best approach. And our challenge now is how do we reduce the spread of the virus, not overwhelm our hospitals, keep businesses open, save jobs, educate kids, avoid the unintended consequences, anxiety and stress and mental health issues, addiction and abuse, those things that Lori Criss talked about that can wear on us. This is the complexity of the problem that we’re trying to resolve. And of all of the options we discussed with business leaders, healthcare community leaders, legislators, school leaders, a 21-day temporary curfew was considered the least disruptive option to our economy, but also believed to have a meaningfully positive impact for our healthcare providers. That’s the balance. And the majority of the opinions of the people we talked to felt the approach the governor outlined today would be the best way to go.
Jon Husted: (38:21)
The virus spreads when people get together. So for a while, we need to make sure that fewer people are coming together and spreading the virus. No shutdowns, just a slowdown. This has been hard on everyone. I’ve talked to sons and daughters who’ve lost parents to COVID, overwhelmed nurses who care for COVID patients and don’t want to carry the virus back home to their families, I’ve talked to business owners who’ve closed and even more who are struggling, and employees who’ve lost their jobs and those who are anxious, fearful that they might lose theirs, and moms who are stressed over educating their kids at the same time they’re trying to work from home. I know it has been hard and it is hard, but we need to get the spread of this virus under control, and we can do that. And we’ll get through this, we just do what the governor’s asking us to do. We’re going to get through this, to that vaccine. That’s the light. There’s some great news, as the governor mentioned, about some quality vaccine options that are on the way. We just got to get through this tough part.
Jon Husted: (39:33)
And I know it affects every family, and every family needs to have a plan. And I shared with the governor this morning about what our family plan is. On Sunday, my dad called. He and my mom are in their 80s. And I know the highlight of their year is Thanksgiving because it’s the only time of the year where all of their kids and their grandchildren are ever together. And I knew when I picked up the phone and answered my dad’s call, he was concerned, didn’t know how to do it safely. So we talked about it. We made a family plan. Our families are all going to limit our exposure between now and Thanksgiving. We decided that we would have Thanksgiving outside this year. Now I know that can be weather-dependent, so we’re going to be flexible. Maybe it’ll be the day before Thanksgiving, it might be on Thanksgiving, it might be the day after Thanksgiving, based on whether the weather will cooperate and allow us to do that.
Jon Husted: (40:36)
And we’re going to space everybody out, have every family sit at their individual table in our normal family group. But we’re all going to be together, just a little farther apart than usual. And we know that this will dramatically reduce the chance that my mom and dad will get the virus or be exposed to the virus. And no, it won’t be a Thanksgiving as usual, but with the right attitude, it will be a great Thanksgiving. And if we do it right, if we all do it right, that will make sure that my mom and dad get to be around for their next Thanksgiving. It will be inconvenient, but we’ll get through it. We’ll all get through this. Everybody has to have that family plan. And sometimes we have to have those difficult conversations, like I’ve had to have with my own family about how we do this.
Jon Husted: (41:25)
And I want to say thank you, thank you for all of you who will make sacrifices, have been making them, and will be making them as families over this holiday season and during the next 21 days, but we’re going to get through it. We just got to stick together. With that, I’m going to introduce somebody that I’ve been sticking together with, at least on the phone, for an hour a week since April, and that’s John Barker. He represents the Ohio Restaurant Association. We have been in regular conversations with them about how to keep those very difficult to operate businesses during a pandemic open and safe.
Jon Husted: (42:08)
And maybe over Thanksgiving, just as a thought, you can order out from one of his restaurant members that will help you keep things safe for you and your family as your you’re trying to celebrate the season. So let me introduce John Barker. And he’s going to, really, I think, reflect what the conversations have been with the business community about how we find that balance between the needs of our healthcare community and the needs of businesses and the economy. So, John, let me turn it over to you.
John Barker: (42:43)
Thanks, Lieutenant Governor. Our restaurants appreciate the plug for some pickup Thanksgiving dinners. That’ll help everybody. And also thank you, Governor, for all the time that both you and the lieutenant governor have given to the business community and to the ORA. I’m really happy to be here today. I represent the Ohio Restaurant Association, but our board of directors were in support of your announcement today about the 21-day curfew. And we’re all committed, we’re going to do our part to help control the spread of COVID-19. Now, we know there’s tremendous pressure on the medical system and healthcare workers. It is severe. We know that. And all Ohioans now have the chance to kind of step up a little bit more, help curb the spread and lower the number of patients that are in our hospitals and the ICU units. We know those are real numbers, and we know we’re all very concerned about that.
John Barker: (43:34)
I have two daughters in the healthcare field. My oldest is a physician assistant here in Columbus, and the other is a registered nurse in Iowa. They talk to me all the time about what they see firsthand, and this virus, getting it down in Ohio and getting it down across the United States, is part of all of our jobs as citizens. So we appreciate everybody being so focused on this, and we really appreciate your decision, as well as this announcement today. We think it’s the right step at the right time. It’s going to allow Ohioans to do their part without having what we thought would be an immediate and disastrous impact on restaurants and thousands of employees that we shut everything down. The vast majority of restaurants and hospitality locations in Ohio, they are operating safely. We know that. They care so much about their employees. They actually refer to them as their family. And we know that we also love taking care of our guests. So we certainly want to be safe.
John Barker: (44:28)
Months ago, we started something called the Ohio. Restaurant Promise, and that’s where operators pledged to meet and exceed the Dine Safe Ohio requirements. And we’ve seen incredible examples all over the state. Restaurants, they’re separating their tables, they’re doing that six-foot distancing, they’re placing barriers between tables and booths. They’re doing more extensive cleaning and sanitizing. And it was already something that was critical to our industry. They make sure that their employees are wearing their mask and that guests are wearing mask until they sit down to eat. And I even saw, over the last couple of weeks, the installation of new air filtration, updated air filtration systems and units in restaurants all over the place. It’s just a great, great thing that we’re seeing.
John Barker: (45:11)
We’re really proud of the work that’s being done by restaurants, food service locations and many bars, even though many of them are facing sales that have been down between 20 and 70% versus the same time a year ago. And any of you that are in business know how difficult it is to operate that way. At the same time, they have all these PPE costs that are very significant. I think it’s important to recognize that restaurants have done everything to ensure that they’re not spreading the virus. And the good news is that medical experts confirm it’s true, the spread appears to be occurring in unregulated settings like we’ve talked about, home parties, family gatherings, social events, some schools and other places where individuals are not always following the advice and wearing masks, as our doctor talked about. We believe the curfew is the best choice to slow things down right now and help everybody understand it’s time to be even more cautious. I think it’s a good decision. Most restaurants, especially independent and family-owned ones, can’t survive the pandemic without all of us doing our part to control this virus. Many restaurants and small businesses all over Ohio were able to take a part of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was a lifeline. That was funding that we got a few months ago. But that money’s gone. Now, more recently, Governor, you and the lieutenant governor provided several forms of financial support, including the BWC refund, and we’re so thankful for that. Those are all steps to help businesses get through this and employees.
John Barker: (46:46)
However, we all know it’s not enough. Restaurants and food service and retail businesses, they need to remain open. We’re providing food to guests at restaurants, but you know that we’re really stepping up and doing more and more carryout and pickup window and delivery. And this is going to help ensure that as many of those 585,000 people who call our industry their home, that’s where they work, keep their jobs. We’re really also thankful for our ability to continue offering, takeout and delivery past 10 o’clock. We feed Ohioans, and we take care of thousands of essential employees who work those second and third shifts, as well as everybody on the frontline who’s working 24 hours a day. We take this responsibility seriously, and we pledge to continue operating safely and continue to work with you. Thank you.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (47:40)
John, thank you very, very much. Appreciate it. A number of your members have contacted me about what they’re doing with their air filtration, and some very, very, really following the science on that. And that’s very important. We appreciate that very much. Thank you. Thanks for being with us.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (48:01)
Thank you. Thanks for being with us. Ready to go to questions.
Speaker 1: (48:06)
Governor, your first question today is from Laura Hancock and Cleveland.com.
Laura Hancock: (48:11)
Good afternoon, Governor.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (48:12)
Laura Hancock: (48:14)
On Monday, the FBI searched the home of the PUCO Chairman, Sam Randazzo, an indication that he could be under a federal investigation. You appointed him. Are you comfortable with him continuing to serve in that position? Have you discussed the situation with him?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (48:33)
I’ve not discussed it with him. We have no indication he’s under investigation or he’s a target of investigation. We’ll wait until we find additional facts, but we don’t have any indication of that at this point.
Speaker 1: (48:50)
Next question is from Tom Jackson at the Sandusky Register.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (48:56)
Tom Hancock: (49:07)
Consider actually closing restaurants and bars on Thursday like you had previously talked about and also are people going to be allowed to do carry out after 10 or does everything shut down at 10?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (49:24)
Well Tom, I missed the first part. I think I got the question. I’ll try to answer it. If I didn’t answer it, you come back and tell me I didn’t answer it. But as far as the carry out, yes, carry out will be allowed. Nothing, no retail, no place you can walk in, retail, but you could do a drive-through for a restaurant that only had drive-thru. If they have delivery, you could do the delivery. You can get a pizza delivered, whatever you want to have delivered. So, and I sort of missed the first part of the question, I think.
Speaker 1: (50:00)
Governor, the first part of the question is have you now ruled out closing bars and restaurants because previously there was an announcement you were going to discuss that Thursday.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (50:11)
Yeah, we looked at this and frankly we heard from a lot of people who work at bars and restaurants and I’ve always said we do listen. I got some amazingly compelling emails in regard to this, some texts and behind each worker there’s a story. There’s a single mom out there who this is what she’s doing, trying to keep her family moving forward. We’ve got people with other other situations. So every employee has a story. Every owner has a story as well. So what we try to do is balance things but we have to take action. And so we’re going to try this. We’re going to do this for three weeks. We think that we can accomplish, frankly, a lot more by having curfew than we could at closing one or two different business sectors.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (51:06)
And so we’re going to try this for 21 days. This coupled with the mask wearing enforcement in retail, which we’re already starting to see some results. It looks like more and more people are wearing masks. That along with our request today for everyone not only with the curfew, but to do one, two, three other things in a day to reduce the number of contacts that you have with somebody else, and then wearing the masks. So if we could all do these things, we will avoid shutdowns, but no one can predict the future. I do feel very strongly that we have it within our power to keep our kids in school, to keep those in nursing homes safe, and as well as keeping our hospitals from being over run and not being able to serve us. So we have it within our power to do that. We think we have a formula here to do it, to start knocking the curve down again, and we’re going to try it.
Speaker 1: (52:12)
Next question is from Farnoush Amiri at the Associated Press.
Farnoush Amiri: (52:17)
Hi, Governor. Thanks a lot for taking the time today. I do want to go back and clarify, because I think you mentioned something about people still being allowed to go get groceries after 10:00 PM, and I guess I’m a little confused on how that would work if all retail was-
Gov. Mike DeWine: (52:34)
Look, I don’t think grocery stores open beyond 10:00, but if people are going in there, it’s probably not a high risk. There’s probably not that many people in there. So we’re not going to say you can’t get groceries and we’re not going to say you can’t go to a pharmacy. Now, whether there’s a pharmacy open beyond 10:00, there may be some, but we’re not going to tell them that they have to close. Someone may need a drug. Someone may have some reason that they have to be at a grocery store. So, basically we want everybody home by 10:00, but there’s always emergencies and there’s always some exceptions. But all retail closed by 10:00. You can do carry out. You can do delivery. But all the retail basically that you walk into is in fact closed. That should accomplish putting people at home, but there are a couple exceptions that we think make sense.
Speaker 1: (53:31)
Next question is from Andy Shallot, Ohio Public Radio and Television.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (53:35)
Andy Shallot: (53:36)
Hey, Governor. So you just detailed how this order impacts businesses and how restaurants can stay open for delivery and pickup. How does this order impact just everyday people? Like you said, you’re hoping that after 10:00 PM people go home, how will the health order be written? Is it like a stay at home order from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (53:57)
Well, it’s going to be similar. I mean, we’re calling it a curfew. We think a curfew probably describes it best. I mean, this was reported, I saw some headlines this morning and some stories yesterday that talked about a business curfew. It’s really not a business curfew. It’s a curfew. The goal is to have fewer contacts. And if we can take these contacts people have with other people down 20%, 30%, we saw the impact it had in the spring. We’re not shutting businesses down. But remember in the spring, we had a lot of businesses open anyway. Some were closed. We went to the essential, non-essential, but the whole idea is if you can slow these contacts down, that’s going to go a long way to slow this virus down.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (54:47)
This virus lives only when it goes from one person to the other. And so if you reduce those number of contacts, that’s why I ask people in addition to the curfew, do something every day. Think what am I going to do? What would I normally do? I’m getting ready to do and say, no, I don’t want to do that because that will increase the contacts. And so if you just decrease the contacts, we’re going to be better off. The curfew starts us down that path, masking people to do more than the curfew. And we believe that those things coming together, along with the mask wearing in retail, we hope mask wearing throughout, we’ll start flattening this curve and start getting this thing under control.
Speaker 1: (55:30)
Next question is from Geoff Redick at WSYX in Columbus.
Geoff Redick: (55:35)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (55:36)
Geoff Redick: (55:37)
Does this strengthen the 25 person gathering limit? In other words, that’s not often enforced. Would it be more enforced under the curfew? Secondly, [crosstalk 00:55:47] science behind this?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (55:49)
Yeah, look, I mean, we don’t anticipate, for example, someone’s driving down the road on 71 or 70 or wherever, and it’s past 10:00. We’re not really anticipating they’re going to get pulled over unless they’re doing something else. But let’s say there’s a group of people coming together and it’s 10:30 and they’re at a park or they’re someplace else. Well, it would be logical for police to go over there and say, “Hey, what’s going on?” And so that does not depend on the 25 person order. It is a curfew. And the curfew is what really would control. If you look at the 25 person order, we reissued it. And the real substantive change in there is we’re very specific in regard to banquets, very specific in regard to weddings, funerals, these gatherings after the funeral, after the wedding, where people naturally want to get together and that’s fine, but they need to wear masks. They need to be careful. They need to be seated. And so that was not in the previous orders. That is now in the orders.
Speaker 1: (56:58)
Next question is from Kevin Landers at WBNS in Columbus.
Kevin Landers: (57:03)
Hello Governor, thanks again for doing this. You are going to be criticized for not being tough enough at a time when cases are going up. If we shut down for 21 days, wouldn’t that have a more dramatic decrease or impact in eliminating these cases from going up? What was your driving decision as to why you didn’t feel strong enough to do a shutdown?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (57:25)
Well, a shutdown is rather dramatic. We did it once. Doing it the second time has double the ramifications, quite candidly. Some people survived the first shutdown. Won’t survive the second shutdown even if it’s a relatively short period of time. There are all the other consequences. Lori Criss talked about the consequences that we have seen in regard to mental health. You do a shutdown, you increase the mental health problems. You would be saying, if you did a complete shutdown, nobody goes to school. And yet we know that there are kids who are doing well in school that don’t do well outside of school. And each school is making that determination. We would then be overriding that and telling every school they have to close and they have to go remote. All kinds of consequences. We saw when we looked at overdoses deaths in the spring, they went up. Goes back to something that Lori was talking about, Director Criss was talking about, people being together.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (58:37)
And we think one of the reasons those overdoses went up is frankly, people took drugs. They overdosed. No one was there to call 911. So for everything we do that distorts the economy or changes things, there are consequences. And there many times, they’re unintended consequences. So what I had to do is balance that, the bad things that could happen with what would be the positive things that would happen. Came up with this idea that a curfew could carve into that time, cut the contacts down. But the success of this also not only depends on people following the curfew, but also people wearing mask, and seeing that mask compliance go up in some counties from 20%, we needed to get to 90, 95% in stores. We expect to see that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (59:35)
And it’s also from everyone pitching in and saying, “Hey, we can do this.” So we’ve set a goal. We’ve got 21 days. We need to knock this thing down. We need to start seeing cases go down. Because even at the rate we are now, and we’ve not seen them go up for the last two or three days. Now it’s over the weekends you always get kind of skewed numbers. But even at this high number, if it never goes up anymore, it’s not acceptable. These high numbers that we are out for 7,500, 8,000 cases a day, are going to mean a lot more deaths and a lot more people in ICU, and a lot more people in the hospital, a lot more schools close, a lot more virus get into our nursing homes and our hospitals be really hit.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:00:23)
So I’m counting on the people of Ohio. We got 21 days. Let’s do it. Let’s start today. Let’s do what we need to do. And we’ll evaluate it after 21 days. No responsible governor would ever say, I’m not never going to do this or I’m never going to do that. This is our attempt not to do those things. It’s our attempt to pull everybody together on one team, not single out any particular industry, but say, hey, we’re all in this together. We got to knock this thing down. Let’s let sprint. Let’s do it for 21 days. Let’s see where we are and we’ll evaluate it after 21 days.
Jon Husted: (01:01:01)
Governor, just wanted to add a couple things to answer the question. Just to try to simplify this for folks, it’s that if 10:00 PM comes around and you got to go to work, then you can go to work. If you’ve got an emergency, you can go take care of it. But otherwise go home and try to help us achieve the goal of reducing people who are not normally in the same household from coming together. When we had these long discussions over the past week, the hospital officials said, “Look, that’s the goal.” Everything that contributes to people coming together is the cause and everything that we can do to prevent people from coming together is the solution. And we tested this idea of the curfew with the business community, and the hospital community, the health community, and they all thought this was a reasonable compromise to get there to find that balance.
Jon Husted: (01:01:58)
And if people follow it, it will work. It will definitely work to help slow the number of contacts and get us to the point where we’re going to be able to get this in a manageable situation again. And as far as closing more down, I mean, we always have to remember this is a balance. The Governor and I have done, I don’t know, Governor, probably close to calls with 30 counties, and superintendents, and hospitals, and local government officials. And when you do these calls, you get the practical feel for the interconnectedness of how everything is in our society. That when schools are closed, nurses who work in hospitals don’t have anybody to take care of their children, how all of these things are connected and how keeping things open and doing it right benefits everyone from an economic and health point of view. But we just have to own it. We have to own doing this right so that we can knock this virus down, get through this difficult period so that we can get to the vaccine.
Jon Husted: (01:03:02)
And to Kevin’s question, we can do this. This is a good compromise between all of those competing interests.
Speaker 1: (01:03:13)
Next question is from Jessie Balmert at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jessie Balmert: (01:03:18)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:03:18)
Jessie Balmert: (01:03:20)
My question is what evidence or experts did we consult to decide on the 10 to five number and how that will make enough effect on the numbers? And then the second quick question is what penalties are there for not complying with the curfew?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:03:40)
Look, we know the basic science and we had the doctors who we normally consult take a look at this. And the basic science is fewer contacts, fewer spread, less spread. So anytime that you can reduce contacts, statistically, you will reduce spread. Particularly when you have, in some counties today, when you look at the number of cases that they have, and you look at it, and you say it’s one out of a hundred people in the last two weeks have come down with the virus in this county, I mean, that tells you how dangerous it is out there.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:04:24)
So whenever you can reduce that contact, it matters, and this is one way of doing it. It’s not the only way of doing it. We could have done it other ways, but it seemed to me to make sense. And we ran it by a lot of different people and scientists and who thought, yeah, that makes sense. But look, nothing is perfect. Nothing is guaranteed. This all depends on how well we do this. So, thank you.
Speaker 1: (01:04:55)
Next question is from Laura Bischoff at the Dayton Daily News.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:04:58)
Laura Bischoff: (01:04:59)
Hey, Governor. I wanted to circle back to Laura Hancock’s question about Sam Randazzo. You said there’s no indication that he’s the target of an investigation. Why don’t you consider an FBI pre-dawn search warrant, where they carry out box loads of stuff, not an indication of an investigation? I mean, you’re a former prosecutor. You oversaw BCI. Tell us when these kinds of searches are just friendly visits.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:05:23)
Well, look, the FBI many times will indicate that someone’s a target. They’ve not indicated that he’s a target. I have no reason to think he’s a target. I don’t know. So, we’re waiting for additional information, quite candidly. I hired him. I think he’s a good person. If there’s evidence to the contrary, then we’ll act accordingly, but not going to act without facts.
Speaker 1: (01:05:55)
Next question is from Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade.
Jim Provance: (01:05:58)
Hi, Governor, thanks again for taking our questions. Why did you settle on three weeks? I mean, do you anticipate that we would have to extend the curfew beyond that? Would we have enough evidence as to whether it’s working after three weeks, and do you know whether this has been tried in other states and what the success rate has been?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:06:17)
Yeah. I’ve seen that some states have looked at curfew. I don’t know that we’ve got any empirical data what has happened when others have used it. It has been used in Europe. The situation in Europe is different because in Europe, what they’ve been able to do when they put a earlier curfew, an earlier, you can do a 6:00 or a 7:00 or an 8:00. When they’ve been able to do that, clearly they’ve knocked businesses out and knocked a lot of employees out and they subsidize those individuals. We do not have the ability in Ohio, sadly, to do that. I mean, we’ve looked at it. We’ve looked at all kinds of options. Can we subsidize people? And the federal government came through with some very significant money, but that money is now gone, and we don’t have the ability to look at that as an option.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:07:08)
So in answer to your question, we know it’s been used in Europe, but it’s been used differently than we would be using it here because we don’t have we don’t have any money and therefore we can’t extend those hours.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:07:22)
21 days, there’s nothing magical about 21 days. We instituted some things last week that we thought will make a difference. We’re instituting the curfew now. We’re asking Ohioans to do very, very specific things or refrain from doing specific things. There’s much more awareness today in Ohio about what the problem is, as people are seeing these numbers go up, as they’re starting now to hear from their local hospital officials. So 21 days is an eternity with this virus. So where we are in 21 days, I don’t know. I hope we’re in a better position than we are today, but it seemed like 21 days was, let’s give this a run for 21 days. We may have to take much more drastic action. We don’t know. We may be able to get rid of the curfew. We may keep the curfew. We’re going to have to judge this at that time. But this is long enough until we can see, get some patterns, and it’s long enough to see what is going on and what result there is of doing this.
Speaker 1: (01:08:31)
Next question is from James Pilcher at WKRC in Cincinnati.
James Pilcher: (01:08:36)
Good afternoon, Governor. I wanted to circle back and get the specifics on enforcement penalties. Who enforces this? What are the penalties? And as an adjunct question, I saw a post today from an elected mayor in the state saying, “Don’t listen to the tyranny. Have as big a Thanksgiving as you want.” What do you say to somebody like that? I know one’s more of a logistical question.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:09:04)
Yeah, well, look. I think we’re at the point of this debate and this discussion after eight months that the science is clear. As a former colleague of mine, Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, you’re just not entitled to your own facts.” And I would say that to that mayor and to other people who are just totally irresponsible and want to be telling people to do things that may end up hurting them or killing them. So I just, I find that to be totally, totally outrageous.
James Pilcher: (01:09:41)
Can you just follow up on the penalties and the enforcement? Is it going to be up to law enforcement to enforce this and can they arrest somebody? What, are they going to give them tickets? What are the penalties here?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:09:53)
Yeah, I’m going to have my team send in to me the statute or the reference point in here. And I’ll get back. I’ll answer that in a minute. But basically we’re having calls now, our team is, with local law enforcement. And again, we don’t not expect law enforcement to go pull people over because they’re out beyond 10 o’clock. But if they’re seeing something going on, this is a way that law enforcement can walk up to them and say, “Hey guys, you’re here, you’re hanging out at this gas station or you’re here or there, you’re congregating together, and there is a curfew. And why don’t you just go home?” We’re not looking for a heavy hand here, We don’t want to put law enforcement in a difficult position. On the other hand, it is a serious matter and we need to deal with it. So I’ll get back. I’ll answer that as soon as I get something from our team here. So, thank you.
Speaker 1: (01:10:58)
Next question comes from Josh Rutenberg at Spectrum News.
Josh Rutenberg: (01:11:02)
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:11:04)
Josh Rutenberg: (01:11:05)
Question for you. You’ve used words in this very press conference like dramatic to paint the picture of the virus, and common sense as far as what certain measures need to be taken. And the Lieutenant Governor said that this was the least disruptive option in the economy. But do you have data to suggest that the majority of people are out between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM as opposed to 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM? And if not, why is this not being done in reverse?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:11:33)
You know, Josh, excellent question. Right now, I can guarantee you there are some people who are tweeting and who are saying that DeWine is a dictator and a tyrant in doing this. So, we got different points of view. But we wanted to see what could be least disruptive that would not cause other problems, other social problems, unemployment, or mental health problems, but could make a-
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:12:03)
… more mental health problems, but could make a significant difference. And no, of course there’s more people out during the day than there is between 10:00 and 5:00 AM. But there are people out at 10:00. And the goal is we put a stop of alcohol some months ago at 10:00 in our bars. Okay? Then people say, “Well, they’re congregating here, they’re congregating there. They’re doing this.” This should eliminate most of that additional congregating and that contact that occurs after 10:00. And so while there may not be as many people out after 10:00, with the exception of those who are working and doing other things, many of them are out congregating together. And so this should get rid of most of that. Nothing’s perfect.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:12:56)
And this coupled with what we did last week with retail establishments, where we’re saying, you you, unless you’ve got a medical reason … And by the way, we respect those medical reasons. If somebody doesn’t have a mask, no one should give them a hard time. Let’s just assume that they’ve got a medical reason. But you couple those things that we’ve done in the last six days, and we think it gives us a shot at this thing, a good shot at slowing this down. Now we know it’s not easy. When you get spread as high as 7,000 new cases a day, it’s hard to slow this down. The faster this train goes, and it’s going pretty fast now, the harder it is to slow it down. But we think we have a shot at doing it without causing many other social problems that also are very, very bad.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:13:58)
So I’ve said this before, but most of what I’m doing and the choices I’m making are between two bad decisions. Which one’s worse? Which one’s least worse? So Lieutenant Governor?
Jon Husted: (01:14:10)
Yes. Thank you, Governor. You hit the right point right there is that over the last week we have … I mean, look, we’ve been doing this for nine months, but over the last week, we really pursued all of the available options. And we talked to medical officials and people that were talking about the strain of the economy and the mental health issues. Because COVID is not the only problem with the pandemic. COVID is the cause of the pandemic, but it creates other problems, economic ones, mental health ones.
Jon Husted: (01:14:44)
And this I know. I’m convinced from the conversations I’ve had over the last week that this is a balanced approach. This is a middle ground. This will slow down enough, the people that are coming together, that we can impact the spread of the virus, move it back to the point where it can be controlled, and at the same time, not cause a catastrophic effect in the economy. And you have to care about both. You can’t just care about one in isolation. You have to find a balance. That’s what the governor tasked all of us to do is to help with that challenge. And based on all of the recommendations, this was the most impactful with the least disruption that we could determine that we could come up with.
Speaker 2: (01:15:36)
Next question is from Scott Halasz with the Xenia Daily Gazette.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:15:40)
Scott Halasz: (01:15:41)
Hey Governor. How are you?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:15:42)
I’m well, sir.
Scott Halasz: (01:15:44)
Good. A lot of school, or not a lot, but there are many schools in the Dayton area who are starting to go back to remote learning for the next couple of weeks or even longer because of some outbreaks within their district. That leads to a few questions I’ve received from some folks regarding winter sports. Are we expecting any guidance from the state or is the Ohio High School Athletic Association going to be the sole decision-maker as far as what happens as far as attendance, whether sports are going to go on? Because they’re starting to kind of kick in now with things starting up.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:16:22)
Yeah. Good question. The way it is set up now, it will be similar to fall sports with no fans other than parents. But we’re monitoring this, we’re looking at spread, we’re talking to school superintendents. As Jon said, we talk to them all the time. Can’t talk to all of them, there’s a lot of them, but we certainly talk to a lot of them. I think most of them have my email and I’m getting input from them. But so far, we’ve not taken any action to postpone the season. So we’re watching it. We’re watching the spread, we’re consulting with health directors and we’ll see. But so far, winter sports will proceed with a limit on number of spectators.
Jon Husted: (01:17:21)
Governor. It’s a timely question because I have a call with the Ohio High School Athletic Association today at 4:30 to get an update of some interactions that they’ve had as an association to talk about the health situation as it is. As the governor mentioned, the rules … Well, I had a call with all of the coaches, athletic directors, superintendents last week to go through all of the rules, make sure everybody understood the inside versus outside aspects and the things that need to occur to it safe. There’ll be significantly less in attendance because we’re going to be inside versus what it would have been outside with the football game. But there are fewer participants. Where a football team, you might have 50, 60 players, with some of the basketball and others, you have maybe 12, 15 players total.
Jon Husted: (01:18:16)
We are in constant communication with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. It’s not on them. It’s a collaboration with us where we’re working together to make sure that we can keep this as safe as possible.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:18:29)
Let me just add, Matt Donahue has texted me, “Noncompliance is violation of 3701.352.” This was a general health order, just like any other order, I believe. Second degree misdemeanor. Not more than $750 fine. 90 days in jail. I would just point out that to my knowledge, no one has been charged under these health orders. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t be, but they have not been so far.
Speaker 2: (01:19:00)
Next question is from Lucia Walinchus at Eye on Ohio.
Lucia Walinchus: (01:19:05)
Good afternoon, Governor, and thank you so much for taking my call. We’ve been talking a lot about making sure that people stay safe and stay away from each other so that we don’t overwhelm hospitals. Last week, the Ohio Court of Claims ruled that the number of beds available and PPE and ventilators and so forth should be released to the public. So I just wanted to inquire if you had any plans when and how to release that? Are you going to add that to the dashboard? Is there a certain time you’re going to release tat every day?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:19:35)
There’s no reason we can’t release that, that I’m aware of. And I’m not sure exactly how we’re going to release it, but we should be able to get that out.
Lucia Walinchus: (01:19:43)
Great. Thank you.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:19:44)
This is all data that we’re pulling, we’re getting, that’s been reporting to us from the hospitals around the state.
Lucia Walinchus: (01:19:53)
Great. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (01:19:54)
Next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:20:01)
Randy Ludlow: (01:20:05)
Good afternoon, Governor. We’re still a little unclear on the retail component of this. You said retail businesses will generally be required to close. What are the exemptions? Who can remain open? And is dine-in permitted of restaurants past Thursday?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:20:26)
No. Randy, we’ll have this in the order. It’s not out yet, but you’ll see it. But basically, it is curfew, people should be home by 10:00. There are exceptions, exceptions if there’s some emergency, some reason they need to be out and they’re basically common sense exceptions. As far as retail, we’re never going to close a pharmacy, not going to close grocery store because they have things that some people need late at night if someone in sick. We’re not going to close those. As far as food, no dine-in, nothing open. But there could be delivery of pizza, for example. There could be a drive-through order and pick something up right there. So those things would be permitted. But any retail you walk into basically, with the exception, as I said, of the grocery store and the pharmacy, would be closed at 10:00. So it has the ability to really kind of push people more towards home and slow things down for that period of time.
Speaker 2: (01:21:47)
Randy Ludlow: (01:21:49)
I’m sorry. Will dine-in still be permitted at restaurants past Thursday?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:21:54)
No. No dine-in. No dine-in beyond 10:00. Curfew goes into-
Randy Ludlow: (01:22:01)
I’m asking about during the day. You had talked of closing restaurants. Apparently you’re not going to do that. Dine-in will be permitted prior to 10:00 PM?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:22:10)
Yeah. Sure. And look, we encourage, the restaurants have worked hard on this and there are a few outliers, but they need to have people with masks and do everything they need to do. But the vast, vast majority of restaurants are doing what we’ve asked them to do and are working very, very hard at that. Look, we encouraged carry out. I think carry out is one way we can support our restaurants and it’s a good thing.
Speaker 2: (01:22:46)
Next question is from Desirae Gostlin at WKBN in Youngstown.
Desirae Gostlin: (01:22:53)
Hi. Yes. Thank you. Just to clarify on the last call bar rule, is that still in effect or do people need to be out of the door before 10:00?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:23:04)
Yeah. Every retail establishment will close at 10:00.
Speaker 2: (01:23:11)
Next question is from Jack Windsor at WMFD in Mansfield.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:23:16)
Jack Windsor: (01:23:19)
Hi Governor. Last week, your medical experts told us that they see mask compliance being high, and that shutdowns would do more harm than good. And then back on July 15th, cases were already dropping when you said, “If all of us put on a face covering for four weeks, six weeks, we would drive this epidemic into the ground.” Now here we are, 16 weeks later. And in light of that, last week, the New England Journal Of Medicine military study indicated that cases were actually higher in those who quarantined and underwent strict enforcement of masking, distancing and disinfecting. So it appears that the masking, distancing, quarantining isn’t stopping the spread. But we do know that it’s certainly creating unintended consequences that are hurting many people. But it also appears that you’re not willing to come off a dime and consider different directions. So my question is why?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:24:09)
Well, I’m going to refer to our doctors. Doctor, still on?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:24:12)
I am indeed. Yeah.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:24:13)
All right. Bruce, you want to answer that to Jack?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:24:16)
I would caution anyone looking at a particular study and using it as a basis for contradicting a vast repository of medical data and information. It is incontrovertible that masking is effective in reducing the transmission of this virus. It is incontrovertible that staying apart from one another reduces the spread of this. And it defies common sense. If one understands the very good science around the droplet nature of this virus and its droplet spread, if one looks at the pattern of transmission across large populations, it is absolutely evident that this is a respiratory virus, respiratory virus not unlike the flu, and that we need to do the simple, common sense things our mothers taught us when we were young to avoid getting cold and flu. We just have to do it in a much more serious way with this one, because it is more transmissible and there is recent research showing that it has evolved to be highly contagious. And I think that’s the story.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:25:28)
Speaker 2: (01:25:30)
Next question is from Adrian Robbins at WCMH in Columbia.
Adrian Robbins: (01:25:35)
Hi Governor. Thank you so much for taking my question. Dr. Vanderhoff said that we see hospitalizations as kind of a lagging indicator. From what the hospitals are telling you, do we have 21 more days if the curfew isn’t as effective as we need it to be, when it comes to how quickly our hospitals are filling up?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:25:58)
Well, I’ll let the doctor answer that one as well. I just, I’ll start by saying, look, our goal is to set this out for 21 days. If hospitals come to me at any time and say, “We have an emergency, you must take additional action,” we’re going to listen. I mean, it’s all based on facts that are coming in. So we make these decisions every day. We’ve set this out. We think that we can let this run for 21 days. And particularly if Ohioans really get the percentage of mask wearing … I’ll go back to what Jack said. I disagree with what Jack said. We have some communities where mask wearing’s 20% in some establishment, but it’s going up now. And that’s a good thing. Bruce, you want to add any-
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: (01:26:52)
I think it’s a very good question. And what I hope people are beginning to gather is just what you’re pointing to, that this is a ship that won’t turn around quickly, but we should be able to see a real impact from the guidance, the steps that have been advised and taken over the last week or so, the masking, the asking people to stay apart, and now this curfew in about two weeks. So a two to three week interval to look and see, look for an impact, is just about the right amount of time. It’s a reasonable window of time to look for that impact and look specifically for it on our hospitals.
Speaker 2: (01:27:42)
Next question is from Ian Cross at WEWS in Cleveland.
Ian Cross: (01:27:48)
Hi, good afternoon. Thank you, governor. I have a two-part question. What guarantees can you provide to assure the small business community that compliance enforcement will be applied evenly and fairly, regardless of if it is a Fortune 500 company or a small family run business? And secondly, do large retailers with significantly more resources and customers at any given time have a great responsibility to go beyond the health order that went into effect on Monday?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:28:14)
Yeah. Give me the second question again.
Ian Cross: (01:28:16)
Sure. Large retailers with more resources and more customers, do you think that they have a greater responsibility to go beyond what the health order Monday entailed?
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:28:29)
Well, the health order is pretty explicit. I think many companies certainly are already doing some of this, but I’ve had some conversations with some of the bigger ones directly. So yeah, I think they will. But what we want to see is substantial mass compliance in a store. We want to see not crowding and that’s the responsibility of these companies to make sure that that happens. So I think we’re certainly going to see that.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:29:03)
As far as fairness and compliance, look, I mean, it’s always important to have fairness. It’s always important to be even handed. And the goal, and we’ve instructed the inspectors in their background is that their job, normal job is to making sure that there’s a safe work environment. Same thing, making sure there’s a safe work environment. We’re not in a gotcha business. We’re in the business of if there’s a problem, telling the owner. If there’s a problem, telling the manager there’s a problem. “Hey, this is how you fix it. This is what you need to do.” So we intend to work with people, but people have a right when they go into a retail establishment to feel that of the people in there are going to have a mask on. And if you work there, you have the right to think that people come in the door are going to have a mask on too.
Speaker 2: (01:29:56)
Governor. Next question is the last question for today. And it belongs to Kenny Bass of WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia.
Kenny Bass: (01:30:04)
Governor, thanks for stopping by our region this week. It was good to hear from you in our area. I don’t want to go too far down any conspiratorial rabbit holes here, but there are many, and you’ve even referred to people today who could dismiss you as a tyrant imposing your will. But I would say that there are many moderate, fair-minded people in the country who have legitimate concerns about government power and the ability it has to influence our lives. And so how do you help ease any concerns they might have about what limits that you see your power as governor should be imposed upon and how we’re not sliding down this hole to where more and more things are denied or taken away, whether it’s good natured or not? I mean, there is a constitutional right to freedom of assembly. Curfews I know have been proven to be held up in court under emergency circumstances. But there are many who have a lot of concern and worry about this country, even in the midst of a pandemic, fundamentally changing in some way.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:31:12)
Well, Kenny, I think that’s a very good point. And I think it’s something it’s a caution that all of us should hear who are in government, all of us who are making decisions. Throughout this, we’ve been very clear that we’re not going to violate the first amendment. And some people have criticized me for doing that. Some people have said, “Well, you needed to shut churches down.” I said I’m not going to shut churches down. Some people said, “You need to shut demonstrations down.” I’m not going to do that. Some people have said political rallies, you need to tell them … I begged people to do things at rallies, begged people to do …
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:31:52)
There’s a limit. And I think we have to have respect for our Constitution. We have to have respect certainly for the first amendment. And I believe that we have shown that throughout this. So we’re going to continue to do that, but it certainly is a good is a good caution.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:32:11)
So we’re going to wrap up today. Our son-in-law, Bill Darlene, sent a video. I think you’ll enjoy it. Our Columbus area musician, Dave Powers, professor of music at OSU, did this video. He’s an Emmy award winner. He delights audiences with his passion and his ability to improvise. Dave plays our state song, Beautiful Ohio. Let’s listen.
Gov. Mike DeWine: (01:35:23)
Well, we thank Dave very much. Great job. Thank Bill as well for bringing that to our attention. We’ll see you all on Thursday. Thank you very much. Have a good day.