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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issues order banning gatherings of more than 100 people

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has issued an order prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 100 people.
Credit: Julie Carr Smyth/AP
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, to announce impacts on the Arnold Sports Festival of the coronavirus.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that he has issued an order banning gatherings of more than 100 people due to concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The order does not include typical office environments, schools, restaurants, factories, or retail or grocery stores where large groups of people are present but it is unusual for them to be within an arm’s length of one another. It does extend to auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, large conference rooms, meeting halls, cafeterias, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.

Voting for Tuesday's elections will continue as planned. The order also does not apply to religious gatherings or gatherings for the purpose of exercising First Amendment protected speech.

Earlier this week, the first cases of coronavirus in Ohio were detected. In total, five people in the state have tested positive for the virus, with 52 people under investigation.

Earlier this week, DeWine recommended that spectators not attend local sporting events. After initially limiting its spectators to essential personnel only, the Mid-American Conference has canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments at Rocket Mortage FieldHouse in Cleveland and the Ohio High School Athletic Association has canceled the remainder of its state tournaments.

The NCAA Tournaments, which has already limited its audience to essential personnel, is currently scheduled to host games in Dayton and Cleveland next week. On Wednesday evening, the NBA announced that it has suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The NHL and MLS have also suspended operations, with MLB reportedly expected to follow suit.

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