COLUMBUS, Ohio — After 15 months and nine days, the State of Emergency declared in Ohio by Gov. Mike DeWine in March 2020 due to COVID-19 will be lifted on Friday.
The governor made the announcement Thursday morning during his news conference announcing the fourth winners of the state’s Vax-a-Million contest.
“A state of emergency in Ohio, as I explained when we went into the state of emergency, has a very, very limited meaning,” DeWine said. “Some states it means a lot of different things. But in Ohio, it has a very, very narrow meaning, meaning.”
One of the few effects the declaration had was in regard to procurement, allowing agencies to more quickly receive resources and supplies without having to go through the normal process.
The executive order declaring the State of Emergency Declaration issued on March 9, 2020 also directed the Department of Health to create and require diagnostic and treatment guidelines, as well as guidelines for private businesses regarding appropriate work and travel restrictions.
The order itself states that the State of Emergency will “remain in full force and effect until the emergency no longer exists, such time to be determined by the Director of Health and the Executive Director of the Emergency Management Agency in consultation with the Governor, who will coordinate State response efforts and terminate the emergency upon recommendation of appropriate officials of the other responding State departments and agencies.”
Guidelines and processes called for in the State of Emergency declaration were put into place months ago, and almost all other mandates and orders put in place due to COVID-19 have since been rescinded already.
One of the last health orders still in place—one that regulated how nursing home and assisted living facility visits would take place—will also be lifted Friday.
The one regulation that will remain in place is the testing of unvaccinated employees at these facilities twice a week.
While the State of Emergency will be lifted on Friday, DeWine was quick to stress, “we still are losing people every single day to COVID.”
He said that cases, hospitalizations and positivity numbers are down, and the state is heading in the right direction.
“But that is being driven by the people who are vaccinated, and the people who are not vaccinated still run a very, very significant risk,” DeWine said.