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.
Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 12, 2021
"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."