CLEVELAND — As of midnight on Wednesday morning, and for the first time in over a year, all COVID-19 health orders in Ohio will be gone, allowing residents to live a pre-COVID lifestyle.
Walking out of your house on Wednesday might feel like any average day. While the changes might be clear at first, you could slowly see them as the day goes on.
“It’s very gratifying to be finally coming out of it,” says Michael Boland, manager of Mabel’s BBQ Downtown.
Coming out of a year full of uncharted territory, filled with continuously changing restriction and to-go- only, the changes coming were announced by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine two weeks ago.
“It’s time. It's time to end the health orders,” DeWine said.
“We are happy now to be able to also work by the guidelines set out for us,” Boland adds.
When the pandemic swept across northeast Ohio, Boland held onto business the best he could.
“It’s pretty crazy to think back on a year ago and think about prior sales numbers,” Boland said.
Sales sunk for businesses in nearly every industry.
“We saw a lot of businesses that were restaurants that were local stores that really saw a fall in revenue,” says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com.
Social distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions are amongst the lifeted orders, meaning businesses can pick up the pace.
“There's a chance that we could rebound in a significant way but I don't think it necessarily going to be a straight reversal,” Ramhold said.
Boland doesn't expect a quick business rebound either.
“I think over the course of summer we'll see just a continuous increase,” Boland said.
From the federal level to the state level, COVID-19 health orders came one year after the pandemic crippled the country. As of Sunday, 45 percent of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.
Doctors say while that helps slow the spread of the pandemic, it won't just disappear.
“Something I often say is that pandemics don't end in a bang, but in a whimper,” Dr. Stephen Kissler at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health notes.
The state mask order will be lifted Wednesday as well. Boland said he will not require staff or customers to wear masks indoors. However, businesses still reserve the right to require masks inside if they choose to.
Editor's Note: The below video is from 3News' coverage of Gov. DeWine announcing the end of Ohio COVID-19 health orders on June 2.
- No, there is no set standard that will mark the end of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Ohio will no longer update COVID-19 public health advisory mapping system
- WATCH | Meet the first Vax-a-Million winners in Ohio's COVID vaccine lottery: 'I still can't believe it'
- Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center COVID-19 mass vaccination site to close on June 7