Gov. Mike DeWine outlined what it will take for him to lift his COVID-related health orders as more and more Ohioans vaccinate against the deadly virus.
Top among those conditions: Ohio must drop below 50 cases per 100,000 residents and sustain that case level for two weeks.
"Because of what Ohioans have been doing -- faithfully wearing masks in school and in businesses and while shopping -- we have made significant strides in getting our lives back to normal," DeWine said Thursday.
"When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders throughout the state will come off," he said, going on to describe this goal as "very doable."
NEW: When Ohio gets down to 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks, all health orders will come off. Cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period is a standard measure we have used since early in the pandemic.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 4, 2021
As of yesterday, DeWine said, the state was at 179 cases per 100,000 residents and that number has been dropping dramatically. Over the last month, that measure has dropped more than 260 cases per 100,000.
Since the beginning of December, the drop in cases per 100,000 residents exceeds 550.
DeWine credited the drop in cases per capita to continued mask-wearing, social distancing and the vaccine rollout.
Camilo Otalora, the co-owner of Lost & Found OTR, remains cautiously optimistic about the announcement and what it means for bars like his.
“It’s sometimes we're in the bottom of the eighth, but we're in the top of the seventh. We're definitely on the back half of the game,” he told WCPO Thursday.
The seventh inning stretch comes in the form of health mandates that expire if the state has less than 50 cases per 100,000 people for two weeks -- a number Otalora can play ball with.
"The biggest positive here is the fact that it's a number,” he said. “I can track that number. I can plan for that number."
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Julie Sellers also told WCPO whenever the restrictions are lifted, she hopes people in schools and around the community continue to wear a mask.
It's a conversation individual businesses will have to deal with, too.
"It's communication between business partner, our staff, and make sure we're holding hands and we all say okay this is what we feel is the right approach,” Otalora said.
Watch DeWine's address here: