COLUMBUS, Ohio — On the day after revealing his plan to drop the state's COVID-19 health orders -- including the mask mandate -- starting June 2, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine returned to the podium for a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday in Columbus.
“It is time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols," DeWine said during his statewide address Wednesday afternoon. "You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus. And now, our cases are down, and we have a tested and proven weapon with the vaccine that all Ohioans 12 and over can utilize.”
DeWine had more announcements on Thursday, including information on how the state plans to hold its upcoming "Ohio Vax-a-Million," a weekly drawing for those adults who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 with a prize of up to $1 million.
The pool of names for the "Ohio Vax-a-Million" drawing will be derived from the Ohio Secretary of State's publicly available voter registration database. Additionally, a webpage will be available to register.
A total of five weekly drawings for each prize will take place, with the first winners being announced May 26th.
The drawings will be administered by the Ohio Department of Health, with technical assistance from the Ohio Lottery Commission, and will be funded through existing allocations to the Ohio Department of Health of unexpended coronavirus relief funds.
Also on Thursday, DeWine announced that his administration will inform the U.S. Department of Labor that Ohio intends to stop participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program effective on June 26.
"When the program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was through social distancing, masking, and sanitization," said Governor DeWine. "This is no longer the case as we now have an abundant supply of vaccines."
The FPUC program gave states funding to offer enhanced unemployment benefits, including an additional $600, and now an additional $300.
Watch Gov. DeWine's full briefing from Thursday in the player below: