COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday evening, Governor Mike DeWine made a plea to Ohioans to get back to the basics by protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community from the spread of COVID-19.

He stressed that what each person does in his or her own life impacts all of us.

“This surge is much more intense, widespread and dangerous,” he said.

A third wave of the coronavirus has hospitals on alert and Gov. DeWine more concerned than ever. Ohio is in a state of emergency.

“We are now at the most crucial phase in this pandemic,” Gov. DeWine said.

The governor says these high numbers of COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths absolutely cannot continue. So, he decided to reissue the statewide mask order for businesses, but with some new provisions.

“Most retail businesses have done a good job providing a safe place for their employees to work and their customers to shop. However, it is clear there are some businesses where mask-wearing is simply lacking,” Gov. DeWine said.

Customers and employees must wear a mask and every door to the business must have a mask message posted. Business owners will be responsible for making sure employees and customers are following the rules.

A retail compliance unit will be formed and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will monitor infractions.

“A first violation of this order will bring about a written warning, but a second violation will bring about closure of the store for up to 24 hours,” Gov. DeWine said.

If cases keep trending upward, the governor says he’ll be forced to make some very tough decisions, which include closing bars, restaurants and fitness centers again.

“I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees. I’m well aware of the burden this places on the owners, but these are places candidly where it’s difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing,” Gov. DeWine said.

The governor also sent out a reminder that the limit on gatherings is still in place.

“We have seen great tragedy associated with some of these events,” he said.

An order to limit these parties and social gatherings will be coming. It’ll require everyone to sit down and wear a mask during an event, like a wedding reception, unless you’re eating or drinking.

“The order prohibits things such as dancing or games,” Gov. DeWine said.

Gov. DeWine wants Ohioans to do the things that have been asked of us all along: wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands — simple tasks he says will make all the difference in the long run.

“We can’t surrender to this virus. We can’t let it run wild until enough of us get the vaccine. It’s advancing quickly and seeking victims in every community in Ohio. If you don’t know any of its victims yet, sadly, I suspect you will,” he said.

As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, a total of 267,356 (+5,874) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 5,623 (+76) deaths and 21,290 (+253) hospitalizations. There are a presumed 191,950 recovered cases in the state. 

The amount of cases reported Tuesday (6,508) were the highest since Ohio began recording the data.