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Ohio lifts COVID-19 curfew effective Thursday; ends last call restrictions

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that the state has lifted its COVID-19 curfew.

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — For nearly three months, Ohio has been under a statewide curfew aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

RELATED: More coronavirus coverage from WKYC

As of Thursday, that curfew has come to an end.

Last month, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced criteria for the state to reach in order to have its curfew reduced and ultimately ended. After initially seeing the curfew pushed from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a two-week period beginning on Jan. 27, the state has now ended its curfew altogether following a seven-day period in which its COVID-19-related hospitalizations have remained under 2,500.

In announcing the criteria for Ohio's curfew to be reduced and ultimately dropped, DeWine stated that he could reinstate the curfew should the state's active hospitalizations rise to a certain level. On Thursday, DeWine stressed the need for Ohioans to continue to take safety precautions including the wearing of masks and physical distancing as the state continues to distribute the coronavirus vaccine.

The curfew, which was first enacted on Nov. 19, 2020, required businesses deemed "non-essential" to be closed between 10 p.m.-5 a.m. Citizens, with some exceptions, were also expected to remain in their homes or places of residence during that time period.

The dropping of Ohio's curfew could especially help provide a boost to the state's bar and restaurant industry, which has now suffered for nearly a year during the coronavirus pandemic. Last March, DeWine issued an order requiring the closing of bars and restaurants, which were later permitted to reopen in May with proper safety protocols in place.

Also of note, DeWine revealed that the state would be ending its restrictions on last call, which required bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and for all drinks to finish being consumed at 11 p.m.

"No, we don't intend to do that unless the circumstances change," DeWine answered when asked if the last call restrictions, which had been in effect since August, would remain. "If they change, we'll change what we do. But no, we have no intention of doing that at this point."

You can watch Gov. DeWine's full press briefing in the video player below: