New limits on mass gatherings take effect Tuesday

New limits on mass gatherings take effect Tuesday
Gov. DeWine giving an update last week on the state’s coronavirus response. Today, DeWine announced new limits on mass gatherings will take effect Tuesday

OHIO (WOIO) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a revised health order Monday that bans dancing and other activities in open congregate areas at wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities.

The order, signed by Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes, goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Nov 17.

Gov. DeWine targeted the order towards private gatherings, not restaurants or bars, pointing out that’s where the spread of the virus has been.

“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” Governor DeWine said. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”

Wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities must follow the following restrictions. Some of these restrictions were first introduced in previous health orders:

  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.

The order does not apply to activity protected under the First Amendment, including religious observances, media activity, governmental meetings, and protected speech including petition or referendum circulators.

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