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Statewide mask mandate for Ohio will take effect Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine says

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (seated) signs legislation forming the Ohio Cyber Reserve Oct. 25, 2019, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Sgt. 1st Class Chad Menegay/Ohio National Guard)

A statewide mask mandate for Ohio will go into effect Thursday at 6 p.m., Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.

The move comes as 1,527 coronavirus cases were reported in Ohio during the past 24 hours — the 15th straight day of 1,000-plus cases in the state, and the third-highest daily number since the pandemic began. Ohio saw a record 1,679 daily new cases reported last Friday.

Masks will be required for people in indoor public places, in outdoor places where social-distancing can’t be maintained, and using public transportation, DeWine said. Exceptions will be made for those who are under the age of 10, have a medical condition, are playing sports, or anyone speaking at a religious service

Until now, DeWine has only imposed mask mandates in individual counties that are put under “red” or “purple” alert by his administration using seven different data indicators, including recent increases in community spread, doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, and intensive-care visits.

During a statewide address last Wednesday, the governor implored Ohioans to voluntarily wear masks, though he said at the time that any additional health orders would be a “discussion for another time.”

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Ohio is one of about 30 states to impose a statewide mask requirement; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is also expected to announce a statewide mask for his state on Wednesday afternoon. Exact requirements of the mandates, however, vary by state — some only apply to indoor spaces.

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