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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

DeWine Says He's Optimistic For Return Of Fans At Games, Dancing At Proms

Progressive Field
Progressive Field

Gov. Mike DeWine says Ohioans who are planning now for spring events – proms, weddings, baseball games – should feel confident things will be better this year compared to 2020. But there’s a big caveat. 

DeWine says crowds at spring baseball games might be able to go to 30% capacity and he might be able to lift some restrictions on proms and weddings because Ohio is making progress against COVID. But he says virus variants could affect the situation. 

"If it ramps up and is much more contagious, we could be in a very different and much worse situation in May, June, or July or whenever these events are coming up so we’ll give guidance but there’s a big asterick," DeWine says.

Gov. Mike DeWine
Credit Jo Ingles
Gov. Mike DeWine

DeWine says the vaccine supply should be increasing in March, thereby making it more likely that he can expand eligibility for shots.  DeWine says the age group won’t be expanded to include 60 to 64 year olds yet, but he says that will likely happen in weeks. He says he’s optimistic because the shots that have been going to school employees in February will now go to the rest of the 1B group. And he says it's good news that the Johnson & Johnson vaccines might be available soon as well.

“More is coming and March is going to be a better month than February as far as availability of vaccine," DeWine says.

DeWine says age is the biggest factor in COVID mortality so it will be used to decide who is eligible for the vaccine. But he says other groups at higher risk could also be added soon as well. 

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau