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Gov. Mike DeWine enacts stay-at-home order

(AP) – Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration is enacting a stay-at-home order as the number of cases in the state spiked Sunday to more than 350.

DeWine said the stay-at-home order will start to be enforced Tuesday by local health departments and local law enforcement. He said the order includes things he’s already been asking residents to do, such as stay at home except for essential needs.

It also includes a list of businesses that are classified as essential and allowed to stay open, he said.

The spreading virus has infected more than 350 people, up more than 100 in a day, with more than 80 in hospitals, DeWine’s office said Sunday. Three people have died, his office reported.

“We are now at a new stage,” DeWine said, stating the decision came from the director of Ohio’s department of health. “Dr. Amy Acton just signed a statewide ‘Stay Home’ order for Ohioans.”

DeWine said the call is a continuance of what the state government has been saying.

“There is nothing in the order that we haven’t already been talking about,” DeWine said. “There is nothing in this that I haven’t been asking you to do for the last few weeks.”

DeWine said the order does permit exceptions to staying home.

“Common sense exceptions: leaving for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, for outdoor activity (walking your dog, going to a park — although playgrounds are closed),” he said.

He said Ohioans are still able to go outside.

“You can go out in your yard, visit the Ohio State Parks —just keep your SocialDistancing,” DeWine said. “Get out and walk — this is important for mental health. Walk your dog, go hiking.”

Acton said, however, business as usual must stop.

“This is not a joke,” she said “It is not a drill. We must limit exposure. This will help save lives. This is the time that you will see quiet descend on our country — as it should — so we can protect those who protect us.”

The governor also discussed the policy on eating out through restaurants.

“Carryout is still ok,” he said. “We advise people to do Social Distancing, but they can still pick up food.”

DeWine said businesses should take a look at the health order.

“It is an order, not a suggestion, and we expect people to comply,” he said.

The governor added that businesses and workers can now access resources on the outbreak in one place at http://Coronavirus.ohio.gov/BusinessHelp

Those listed in the order as essential businesses are grocery stores and pharmacies, food, beverage and licensed agriculture and marijuana production; charitable and social services; religious entities; media, first amendment protected free speech; gas stations and transportation businesses; financial and insurance institutions; hardware and supply stores; critical trades; mail and delivery; laundry services, restaurants for consumption off premises; businesses that offer work-at-home and essential business supplies; home-based care and services; residential facilities and shelters; professional services, such as legal and accounting; manufacturing, distribution and supply chain companies; critical labor union services, hotels and motels and funeral homes.

Acton said “there is no time left” to wait.

“Listen to what Italy is telling us,” she said. “Today is the day. We must do everything we can in our power to protect the people on the front lines — the first responders and healthcare workers.”

She said there were 351 confirmed cases in the state, in 40 counties, with an onset date ranging from Feb. 7 through March 22.

Ages on cases ranged from one to 93 years, with 159 females, 192 males infected.

83 cases have required hospitalization, and three have resulted in death.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Acton said.

However, she spoke of the future after the crisis.

“I see a vision of a future that is brighter than we have known,” Acton said. “I know it in my heart and soul. Please, don’t feel like this is pulling us apart, I believe this is binding us to each other, but it must be all of us who makes these sacrifices.”

See details of the order at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report