Booze to go at restaurants, increased food stamp benefits, and more inmates are getting out of jail. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is making more moves to fight Coronavirus. We break down the current COVID-19 numbers in the state and all the important points from today’s update.
Booze To Go
Governor Mike DeWine says Ohio Liquor Control has met and issued an emergency rule that allows restaurants to sell alcohol with the meal if they have a liquor license. Here’s how it works:
- Two drinks per meal ordered
- Drinks are prepackaged
- You cannot open them until you get home
- Restaurants must already have liquor license
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said it was a prime example of the state’s attempts to help businesses during the crisis. “This is part of what we do. We listen to restaurants. This really helps them make ends meet.”
SNAP Benefits Boosted
There’s more help on the way to many families receiving food stamps. The Governor said, “Ohioans enrolled in SNAP will receive a boost.”
- All families receiving SNAP benefits will be able to pick up a pre-packaged pack of food at food banks. Normal food bank eligibility requirements will be waived.
- All households not already receiving the maximum amount of SNAP benefits will receive additional money added to their card.
- Cases 4,782
- Hospitalizations 1,354
- ICU: 417
- Deaths 167
- Age Range: Less than 1 week to 101
- Counties: 81 counties
- Tested: 51,000
As expected, the numbers continue to climb. However, Dr. Amy Acton says they are nowhere nearly as bad as the initial worst-case scenario predicted by many models. In fact, she says the numbers are actually below the original best-case scenario. But that’s not reason for Ohioans to let down their guard.
She said, “It is not a science that predicts our outcomes. It’s our actions that predicts our outcome. Modeling is like a weather forecast. Even weather forecasters use more that one model. All they do is point us in a general direction of decision making. It’s important to think about worst-case scenarios.” She added, “Please Ohioans, we have a couple of hard weeks ahead of us. We’ve made painful sacrifices. If we let up, we’ll look more like the original curve.”
Whose Getting Let Out of Jail?
As promised, the Governor announced more proposed releases of Ohio inmates to protect them from Coronavirus.
Governor DeWine said, “Prisons pose a unique challenge. Social distancing becomes much more challenging. We have a number of responsibilities that we take seriously:
First – we must do all that we can to protect prison staff. The vast majority of them cannot work from home.
Second – we have a responsibility to protect the inmates that are in our custody.
Third – we must also protect the public from those who may cause them harm.
DeWine said it was not easy finding inmates to release. Ohio has close to 49,000 inmates. In addition to the 38 inmates recommended for release last week, he will suggest 167 more for release:
- 141 inmates from minimum security facilities that are within 90 days of less of being released
- 26 inmates 60 or older who have chronic health conditions and have served at least half of their sentence
But those convicted of homicide, sex offenses, kidnapping, ethnic intimidation, terrorist threats and domestic violence will not be eligible. They also screened out those who have been denied judicial release in the past, those with prior incarcerations, or with warrants or detainers. Also not eligible are those who have had serious violations of prison rules in the past 5 years.
DeWine said, Under normal procedure I cannot grant commutation. I must give notice to the prosecution and the victim. Because of the need to act quickly, I’m asking judges and prosecutors to waive the 60- day notice so we can take these cases directly to parole board. They are prepared to meet. The victims must and should receive notice.”
However, DeWine said prisoners would not be dumped onto the street. There will be a plan in place giving them somewhere to go.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said that he knows many Ohioans are still struggling to get through to file for unemployment. “That frustrates me, too. It frustrates all of us that we can’t deliver something that somebody needs. Every day I’m on the phone with ODJFS. They are processing a record number. We still know that doesn’t mean that everybody has a great experience.”
Husted made two points clear:
Your benefits will be backdated to the point you were eligible.
We will continue to upgrade by adding employees and increasing capacity.
“Please let everyone know they will get their benefits. We apologize that it is not better.”
It’s Not Gonna Happen
Governor DeWine was asked if Ohio had a plan in place as to who would receive treatment should hospitals run out of ventilators, he had forceful reply. “It’s not gonna happen. I wake up every day, work all day, and go to bed with the determination that we are not going to get there.”
DeWine said the state is working tirelessly to buy more ventilators and to work with Ohio manufactures to make more ventilators. More importantly, he said Ohioans commitment to social distancing will slow the spread to where that won’t be a factor.
But he did say hit was his understanding that the Ohio Hospital Association was working on guidelines but he had not seen them.