COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Because of declining hospitalization numbers, Ohio’s statewide curfew will start at 11 p.m. beginning Thursday, the office of Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

An official from DeWine’s office confirmed that since hospitalization numbers have stayed below 3,500 for seven consecutive days that the start time of the curfew will be pushed later under a new policy that DeWine outlined on Tuesday.

Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the health order Wednesday.

The curfew, which began Nov. 19, had been starting at 10 p.m. It will continue to run through 5 a.m.

The new curfew hours will last through Feb. 11 at 12:01 p.m., according to the health order.

Under the new policy for phasing out the curfew:

  • After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 3,500, the curfew will begin at 11 p.m. and run at least two weeks
  • After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 3,000, the curfew will begin at midnight and run at least two weeks
  • After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 2,500, the curfew will end.

Here are confirmed COVID-19 patient counts for the past eight days:

  • Jan. 20: 3,556
  • Jan. 21: 3,382
  • Jan. 22: 3,270
  • Jan. 23: 3,125
  • Jan. 24: 3,009
  • Jan. 25: 3,037
  • Jan. 26: 2,963
  • Jan. 27: 2,944

The curfew has been unpopular with bars and restaurants, whose industry has suffered from closing early in addition to having fewer customers because of the coronavirus pandemic. But DeWine said a main reason for instituting a curfew was to keep the hospital system from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

In recent days, those hospitalization numbers have started to come down. When DeWine announced the new policy Tuesday, hospitalizations had been declining every day since Jan. 18.