COLUMBUS, Ohio — Oho Governor Mike DeWine is making tough decisions to ensure this disease doesn’t overwhelm our healthcare system.

Sunday, he called for the closures of all bars and restaurants until further notice —with the exception of carry-out and delivery— after seeing evidence of crowded bars over the weekend.

  • DeWine says he's doing this in anticipation for St. Patrick’s Day this week
  • DeWine is also making sure those who are economically impacted by this crisis have the resources they need to stay afloat
  • Lt. Gov. Husted is working to qualitfy the state for low interest loans to small businesses 

With Saint Patrick’s Day Tuesday, he’s pulling the plug now.

“What we wish is that next Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone will be there.  And they’ll have the opportunity to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, but they’ll have the opportunity to live their life, and live their American dream,” said DeWine.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says there are a new rash of cases statewide, but that within the next few days, this virus will be ubiquitous.

“Cases can be very misleading to the public because, it’s a past historical event. Because of our lack of testing, cases are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Acton.

She says everyone needs to act now in order to keep themselves out of the hospital.

She says nationwide, statistics show there will be a need for 200,000 ICU beds.  Today, there are only 45,000 available and most are already occupied.

“We are in the time of evacuating during a hurricane, where it is starting to pour more and more heavily each day. We do not want to be making these moves in the heat of the storm,” Acton said.

Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted is taking the lead on the economic impact side —broadening unemployment benefits for those caught in the crossfire of COVID-19.

“The governor is going to sign an executive order regarding unemployment compensation. This will impact workers directly impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency. He will be issuing this executive order that will be making several changes to the state policy to enable workers who do not have paid-leave benefits, to access unemployment benefits during this period of emergency,” said Acton.

That means if you lost employment through no fault of your own as a result of coronavirus, you will be eligible for expedited unemployment benefits.

Businesses who have to shut down will also get a hand. According to Jobs and Family Services, all unemployment taxes will be mutualized to not overburden a business.

Additionally, Husted is working to qualify the state for low interest loans to small businesses who are hit hardest during this time.

“The economic hurt, the other hurt for individuals who are going to lose their jobs —this is brutally tough. My hearts go out to them. But we have to do what we have to do to save their lives,” DeWine said.