Ohio Governor Mike DeWine confirmed the state’s curfew has expired, but urged residents to stay vigilant so as not to increase hospitalizations.
The curfew, which had been running nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., was last extended on Jan. 27. At the time, DeWine said state health officials would monitor hospitalizations related to COVID-19 for two weeks, and if they declined enough, the curfew could be dropped.
The curfew, which started in November and originally began nightly at 10 p.m., was designed to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. But the number of confirmed hospitalizations has dropped consistently in recent weeks, with them below 3,000 every day since Jan. 26 and below 2,500 for the eight most recent days that the state has made data available.
DeWine had said that if confirmed hospitalizations stayed below 2,500 for seven straight days that the curfew would end.
When the curfew was introduced, COVID-19 cases were sharply increasing and the holiday season was about to begin. DeWine called it was a “bridge” until a vaccine was available. The first two COVID-19 vaccines were approved in December.
Curfew exceptions included people traveling for work, getting medicine, food or groceries, or for emergencies.
The bar and restaurant industry complained about lost business caused by the curfew, especially as it has dealt with having fewer customers overall because of the pandemic. The curfew’s end would allow bars and restaurants, in addition to retail businesses, to resume late-night hours.