Gov. Mike DeWine is easing restrictions on Ohioans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting a stay-at-home order that has drawn the ire of some in his party.

DeWine is replacing the order with a new “Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory.”

The new advisory maintains a restriction limiting mass gatherings to 10 people and “strongly recommends” Ohioans, particularly high-risk residents, stay home as much as possible. The advisory lifts travel restrictions and bars non-residents who have COVID-19 or who exhibit its symptoms from entering the state except for medical treatment.

“The coronavirus is not gone. It is real. And it is deadly,” DeWine said on Twitter. “This new phase that we are now in is about learning to live with this virus. It is with us – it will remain with us – and we must do all we can to contain it and keep it from killing our fellow citizens.

“What this comes down to now is that each of us has a responsibility to each other to slow the spread,” the governor added. “No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving the lives of so many of our fellow citizens.”

The move comes a day after DeWine announced a new team to crack down on bars and restaurants that do not comply with the Responsible RestartOhio plan. The governor announced the step following reports of crowding at some places.

“Ohio’s restaurants, food service and bar locations take seriously the commitment to health and safety,” the Ohio Restaurant Association said in a statement.

The vast majority of Ohio’s restaurants and bars have met or exceeded all that is required of them to responsibly restart their businesses for outdoor dining, which began on May 15.

“Like everyone, we are significantly concerned about limited reports of establishments in Ohio acting inconsistently with reopening guidelines set forth by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health orders,” the association added. “We believe these are isolated incidents and not reflective of our industry’s overall positive response to reopening safely.”

As of Tuesday, Ohio reported 28,952 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 1,720 “confirmed and probable” deaths. Earlier this month, the state House passed a measure giving lawmakers oversight over pandemic orders.

“In the end, no order and no law will be as successful as a well-informed public who simply cares and respects each other,” DeWine added in a tweet.

By Todd DeFeo

The Center