Edited on April 9, 2021 at 11:23 a.m. to include the amended health orders that clarify mask wearing, social distancing and the congregating of groups.

A little over a year after then-Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed the “stay at home” order requiring all Ohioans to stay at home except under certain conditions and most businesses but for “essential businesses or operations” to cease operations, Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that the current Director of the Department of Health, Stephanie McCloud, was rescinding all 18 health orders still in place and replacing them with a new, single, five-page order.

The new order removes most – though not all – of the remaining orders that impact Ohio businesses. The new order still contains capacity restrictions on indoor facilities with fixed seating, such as theaters and stadiums, which must continue to limit spectators to 25 percent of capacity, and requires a distance of six feet between seated spectators with groups of no more than 10 people seated together. Restaurants, bars, and banquet facilities must continue to require patrons to be seated while eating, and also continue to keep tables a minimum of six feet apart. All indoor facilities are “expected to employ filtration of MERV 13 or higher as soon as practicably possible.”

That’s the extent of the remaining restrictions on employers, though the statewide mask mandate is still in force and employers must still post signage at all entrances notifying persons entering of the requirement to wear a facial covering. The order continues to encourage other measures, such as discouraging large gatherings, maintaining social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and the availability of sanitizing products for employees and customers – but none of these are mandates.

The lifting of all other restrictions is a testament to the commitment businesses across the state have made in doing their part to help stop the spread of the virus, coupled with the fact that over 30 percent of Ohioans have now received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Today’s announcement by Gov. Mike DeWine is welcome news and provides another optimistic sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The order went into effect immediately and has no specified end date.