Masks required statewide starting Thursday evening

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A mask mandate will go into effect at 6 p.m. Thursday across all of Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced face coverings must be worn at all times in public.

“Our preliminary data indicate that the rate of increase in new cases has slowed in the high-risk counties where masks are already mandated, so we are cautiously optimistic that things are heading in the right direction,” said Governor DeWine. “We believe that requiring masks statewide will make a significant difference and will be key to making sure other counties do not progress to a higher level of increased spread.”

Everyone statewide must wear a mask when inside, except at home; outdoors when it’s not possible to stay six feet away from others who aren’t members of your household; and when waiting for, riding, driving or operating public transportation, including ride-sharing services.

The governor’s order applies to people ages 10 or older.

It does not apply to people with a medical condition or disability, people exercising or playing sports, officiants at religious services, people actively involved in public safety and those who are eating or drinking in public.

DeWine also announced a statewide travel warning.

It’s not a ban, but the warning does ask people to quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel to states where at least 15 percent of COVID-19 tests come back positive.

Right now, those states include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas.

The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.

“I know this will be hard and is a sacrifice, especially as summer vacations are in full force, but when we have a higher likelihood of being exposed, we should take precautions to limit the exposure of others,” said DeWine.

Ohio’s positive test rate, which is an indicator of the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, has been around 6.2 percent.