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DeWine defends curfew during Vienna stop

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine removes his mask to answer questions from the media about the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew being instituted today to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeWine made a stop at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport in Vienna on Wednesday to talk about the spiking virus numbers in the Valley and statewide. Staff photo / Renee Fox

VIENNA — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine defended the statewide curfew that begins today at a press conference at the airport in Vienna.

DeWine fielded numerous questions about the efficacy of a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew with numerous exceptions. The stop at the airport was part of a tour DeWine is making to drive home COVID-19 precautions. He is expected to give a 2 p.m. update today.

He and Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health, said the curfew will reduce the amount of time people are interacting together, which will decrease the amount of community spread.

“Anytime you can reduce contact between people, with as high a rate as we have now, we can reduce the spread,” DeWine said.

While many people already may be in bed by 10 p.m., “young people” aren’t necessarily, DeWine said. Reducing the hours gathering places can be open will reduce the amount of contact people have with one another, he said.

“It’s simple math,” DeWine said.

While police officers won’t be expected to pull over people past 10 p.m., they are tasked with breaking up any social gatherings they witness, DeWine said.

“We are trying to apply the pressure by doing things we think will work,” DeWine said.

DeWine said he wants to avoid a complete shutdown to avoid the negative impacts on employment and mental health.

“We don’t want to have a shutdown, we’re having a slowdown,” DeWine said.

DeWine also asked people to do at least one thing per day to reduce potential physical contact with others.

Kravec said, “Anything we do today will have an impact two weeks from now.”

And “if we don’t stop gathering in groups,” hospitals will become overwhelmed.

“I wish the general public could see the stress our staff is under,” Kravec said.

Sure, there is nothing “magical” about 10 p.m., but it will reduce the amount of time people spend with one another, Kravec said.

A lot of patients already are in local hospitals, Kravec said, and if staff is out from infection or quarantine, no reserve staff is standing by to come to the Mahoning Valley to help because other areas in Ohio and the rest of the country are having the same issue.

“I am trying to demonstrate the gravity of this,” DeWine said.

THE HOLIDAYS

DeWine said Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving known for Christmas shopping deals and big crowds, “is not going to happen.”

Retailers understand the danger of gathering crowds of people together for bargains, and so are spreading out their offerings.

“It’s just not safe; it’s dangerous,” DeWine said.

Retailers will be expected to monitor their occupancy and stick to limits and hours set by the state, he said.

“Each one of us has a lot to live for,” DeWine said.

Sacrifices have to be made this year in order to guarantee future Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas mornings and ball games with the ones we love, DeWine said.

“The end is in sight,” with the COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, so “we gotta hang in there,” DeWine said.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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