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Dancing, congregating, socializing at banquet facilities in Ohio restricted in revised COVID-19 health order

Face masks, reduced table sizes required
Posted at 11:00 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 11:00:59-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine announced the details of a revised health order signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes to limit mass gatherings across the state of Ohio.

DeWine said that despite limiting mass gathering to 10 people in April, COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced back to weddings, banquets and social gatherings.

“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” said Governor DeWine. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”

As a result, the state has ordered the following restrictions at wedding receptions, funeral repasts and other events at banquet facilities in order to mitigate the spread of the virus:

  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing.
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.

The revised health order does not apply to religious observances; First Amendment protected speech, including petition or referendum circulators and any activity by media, and to governmental meetings which include meetings that are required to be open to the public, DeWine said.

The health order goes into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 12:01 a.m.