COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that effective June 2, nearly all of Ohio's COVID-19 regulations will be lifted, including the state's requirement of face coverings inside public buildings.

DeWine said that requirements pertaining to assisted care facilities will remain in place.

DeWine had originally set a goal of lifting Ohio's COVID-19 mandates after when Ohio would reach 50 new COVID-19 cases per day over a two-week period. As of Wednesday, DeWine said Ohio was down to 122 cases per day over the last two weeks.

DeWine said that the COVID-19 vaccine has allowed the state to lift COVID-19 regulations.

"And so now let's talk about the health orders. For a year, Ohioans have made sacrifices to save lives and keep our state moving forward. Now we have a powerful weapon that is almost 100% effective in defeating this virus," DeWine said.

Meanwhile, DeWine announced that children ages 12-15 will begin being able to get COVID-19 vaccines in the state. The announcement follows a CDC decision to grant an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for the age group.

"And now, everyone 12 and over can use it to protect themselves to put an invisible shield of protection around them. Everyone can now control their own health. Everyone can now control their own destiny," DeWine said.

In an effort to encourage more Ohioans to get vaccinated, the state will run a contest where any adult who has received at least one dose of the vaccine can win $1 million. Additionally, children ages 12-17 can win four years of college tuition to an Ohio public university by getting vaccinated.


Multiple lawmakers and organizations reacted to Dewine's announcement of the removal of the state's health orders.

Ohio House Majority Floor Leader, Bill Seitz:

“It was a great speech. I’m encouraged by his positive turn.”

Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Paduchik:

“Governor DeWine’s full lifting of COVID-19 health orders is welcome news. While the Biden-Harris Administration and Democrat governors have imposed draconian, nonsensical regulations, barred children from school, and implemented policies that disincentivize work and squander taxpayer dollars, Ohio, under Governor DeWine’s leadership, rose to the challenge of our time."

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes:

“As elected leaders, we’re obligated to take seriously our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Using millions of dollars in relief funds in a drawing is a grave misuse of money that could be going to respond to this ongoing crisis. Ohioans deserve better than this. I do hope people continue to get the vaccine and help our state reach herd immunity so our economy and way of life can thrive again.”

Courtney Rice, campaign communications director for Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley:

"This isn't the first time Gov. DeWine has caved to pressure from his party when it could benefit him politically, just like he did on a mask mandate last year. It's disappointing that DeWine continues to care more about appeasing his political base than following the guidance of public health officials."

John Barker, President and CEO of the Ohio Restaruant Association:

“Ohio has been a leader in taking a holistic approach to public health while balancing safety, economic issues, mental health and other realities that COVID restrictions brought with them. Today’s announcement about ending Ohio’s health orders on June 2, 2021 is the logical next step in fully reopening our state for Ohio’s businesses and families. We are pleased to see a decline in COVID cases and hospitalizations as more Ohioans are vaccinated. Eliminating the six-foot social distancing requirement will enable restaurant, bar and foodservice operators to return to greater sales capacity for indoor dining, which is critical to our industry’s recovery and profitability.”

John Palmer, APR, Director of Media and Public Relations, Ohio Hospital Association:

“By working together, hospitals, communities, schools, government, businesses and others, have made important strides in recent months in our fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our 243 member hospitals and 15 health systems, along with their more than quarter million caregivers and workers have worked 24/7 to provide care and services in our communities during this difficult time. We commend Gov. DeWine and Ohio policymakers for their leadership and support throughout this crisis as hospitals have managed over 57,000 hospitalizations and nearly 8,000 admissions in our intensive care units since the pandemic began. Through vaccinations and personal preventive measures such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing we have slowed the community spread of COVID-19. We encourage all Ohioans to reach out to their health care provider, continue taking preventive measures, and to get vaccinated to ensure the health and safety of our communities.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of the story misattributed a quote to Nan Whaley through her communications director. The quote has been correctly attributed to Courtney Rice. (May 13, 2021)