Gov. Mike DeWine says he's considering shutting down Ohio bars, restaurants

"Everything we're doing is to save lives."
Posted at 1:15 PM, Mar 15, 2020

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story and see our ongoing coronavirus coverage here.

In an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Gov. Mike DeWine said he is considering shutting down Ohio bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

When asked if he's considering closing bars and restaurants in the state, DeWine said "we're certainly looking at that."

DeWine has already placed some restrictions on social gatherings of 100 people or more in some public spaces, which he said he knows is not convenient.

"These are tough decisions, we're inconveniencing people, it's making people's lives change," DeWine said. "But we've got to save lives. Everything we're doing is to save lives."

Homa Moheimani with Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) told WCPO that DeWine has kept ORA in the loop continuously. If DeWine orders restaurants and bars to close their doors, the ORA will make a request.

"The ORA will ask that he allows for take-out and delivery to remain open," Moheimani said.

DeWine is scheduled to hold a press conference on COVID-19 at 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

WCPO will continue to update this story.

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 45 countries across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.