Ohio curfew shortened; pandemic jobless claims spike again

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. 

Andrew Welsh-Huggins

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state’s coronavirus curfew has been shortened as hospitalizations continue to fall under an order issued by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Beginning Thursday the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, will change to 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., under the order signed by DeWine Wednesday evening.

The move was welcome news to restaurants and bars, whose owners have complained that the 10 p.m. cut-off was arbitrary and they could easily enforce social distancing later in the evening. DeWine has called the curfew a compromise that allowed businesses to stay open rather than completely shutting them down.

The curfew requires Ohioans to stay at home during those hours but contains multiple exceptions for work, grocery shopping, medical appointments, religious observation and many other necessary activities.

The Ohio Department of Health says more than 2,940 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus Wednesday. The governor has said the curfew can be eliminated altogether if hospitalizations fall consistently below 2,500.

Also Thursday, the state said the number of jobless claims spiked once again. Human Services agency data shows Ohioans filed more than 49,970 initial jobless claims for the week ending Jan. 23, a 16% jump from the previous week.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from about 8,115 new cases per day on Jan. 13 to over 5,120 new cases per day on Jan. 27, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.