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DeWine Shifting Away From Public Health Orders, Towards Advisories

Gov. Mike DeWine is revising the state's public health policies on COVID-19 to slowly transition away from public health orders. He says this represents a shift to give more of the accountability to Ohioans.

The new health advisory named "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans" recommends people stay in their homes as much as possible and urges people to observe social distancing measures and wash their hands often.

These were protocols that used to be in public health orders, which could come with legal enforcement. But DeWine says the state is in a position to move away from orders.

"This is really, now, and it's been evolving. This is really in the hands of the people of the state of Ohio," says DeWine

We are now moving from orders to strong recommendations. This is a new phase in our battle against #COVID19, and it is incumbent upon each of us to protect each other.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 19, 2020

The governor says since the state started issuing social distancing orders, hospitals have built up capacity and obtained more personal protective equipment, while the state has ramped up testing capacity.

But DeWine says public health orders that are still issued for businesses continue to add a layer of protection. Large gatherings are still prohibited in Ohio, with the exception of certain groups listed in previous orders such as places of worship and free speech events.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.