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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 To Lift All COVID-Related Health Orders June 2

mike dewine
Courtesy of Gov. Mike DeWine's office

Most of Ohio's COVID-related health orders will be allowed to expire in three weeks on June 2, according to the governor. Mike DeWine says falling case rates combined with rising vaccination totals show the "tide has turned."

"Now, lifting these orders does not mean the virus is gone; it does not mean that we're all safe," he said during a Wednesday night statewide address. "Each Ohio citizen will make their own decision about wearing a mask, social distancing (and) how to protect themselves."

DeWine says that applies to school districts and businesses as well, saying both will still be able to have mask rules and social distancing if they choose.

He says the state will be introducing incentives to get people vaccinated, including million dollar jackpots for adults who get at least the first vaccine dose, and full ride scholarships for teenagers. Those will be drawn on May 26, and some rules apply

"This time will give anyone who has not been vaccinated time to get the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna and be well on the well to full immunity for themselves," he says.

Ohio will begin vaccinating teens 12 years and up starting Thursday. 

"I know that some may say, 'DeWine, you're crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,' " he remarked. "But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic -- when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it -- is a life lost to COVID-19."

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.