COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine addressed Ohioans in a statewide broadcast at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, to “discuss the critical stage Ohio is at in battling COVID-19.”

The address comes as Ohio continues to set new records for cases and hospitalizations in the state.

DeWine opened his address by talking about the development of a vaccine by Pfizer. He said he wants to discuss what happens in the state until that vaccine comes out.

“We are now at the most crucial phase of this pandemic,” said DeWine.

The governor says the surge we are seeing now is much more intense, widespread and dangerous than the others we’ve seen before.

DeWine said some attribute the spike to more testing. He said the truth of the matter is that testing has not even doubled, but cases have gone up almost four times.

Despite improved treatment for COVID-19 and great work by healthcare professionals, DeWine says too many Ohioans are dying.

“Too many of our fellow citizens are still dying. To those families, please know that Ohio grieves with you,” DeWine said.

Governor DeWine says today the question is whether or not we have enough people in our hospitals instead of enough PPE. He says if we don’t change this we won’t be able to provide appropriate care for Ohioans who need it

“If nothing changes this could all happen in just a few short weeks,” said Governor DeWine. He says Ohio remains in a state of emergency.

The governor said we still have opportunities. He said we have to get back to basics, wear a mask, and wash hands. He says we need to not have parties, and to practice social distancing.

According to DeWine, most retail businesses have done a good job providing a safe place for their employees to work and for their customers to shop. However, he says it is clear there are some businesses where mask-wearing is lacking.

DeWine announces a reissuing of the state’s mask order, with some additions.

  • Each business will be required to post a Face Covering Requirement sign at all public entrances to the store.
  • Each store will be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees are wearing masks.
  • A new Retail Compliance Unit, comprised of agents led by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect to ensure compliance.

DeWine also announced a new order pertaining to gatherings.

The order will apply to gatherings such as weddings. The order will require everyone to be seated and wearing a mask unless actively eating. It also prohibits dancing and games.