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DeWine Announces End to Ohio's Mass Gatherings Ban

The announcement is part of a simplified health order

Today, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the state of Ohio is issuing a new, streamlined health order that encompasses its guidance on mass gatherings and other COVID-19 restrictions. He said the new order is a return to "basics."

Please click here to read the new order.

DeWine and Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), along with Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, said the simplified order drills down on the "common sense" actions at the core of Ohio's previous health measures.

"We're making it clear in this order that proms can occur," DeWine said. "We're making it clear in this order that festivals can occur. We're making it clear in this order that graduations can occur. You can do about anything; it's about how we do it."

"The best safety measures are the ones people can understand, remember and apply faithfully to everyday life," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health.

McCloud said the consolidated order, which was signed today, will help clear up confusion that Ohioans might have about what demands apply to them–whether they're running a business or organizing an event.

Under Ohio's previous mass gatherings ban, people were prohibited from holding “all public and private gatherings of greater than 10 people” outside of their home or place of residence. However, the state made allowances for indoor and outdoor sporting events, entertainment venues, county fairs and other events. Now, McCloud says the blanket mass gatherings ban will go away; instead, the state will ask that people keep their own groups below 10 people. At the same time, people still need to keep distance from other groups, remain seated when eating or drinking and wear face masks at all other times.

The new order reads: "Individuals must avoid gathering in groups and attempt at all times to maintain social distancing. When gathered together, individuals should be in a group of no more than 10 individuals that is separated from other groups by at least six feet."

Indoor events will remain limited at 25 percent capacity, according to McCloud, because of the greater risk of spreading disease, while there are no capacity limits for outdoor events, although venues will need to follow the physical distancing requirements.

DeWine emphasized that the statewide mask mandate remains unchanged.

"Above all, [practice] common sense," the governor said. "Wear a mask. Social distancing. Being outside is always just so much better than being inside. Good hand-washing. And limiting gatherings of large number of people who are directly with you."

At the top of Monday's order is the simple preamble: "Everyone should wear a mask when engaging with others outside their household." Meanwhile, another order, which you can access here, rescinds a number of duplicative or conflicting rules.

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