Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a series of statewide drawings to provide incentives to Ohioans to get a COVID-19 vaccination. He also announced that most COVID-19 health orders will be removed on June 2. The timeline will allow any Ohioan who has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination to do so. DeWine made the announcements during a statewide address on May 12.

We applaud the decision, but we still can’t help being nervous. It may be a rough transition from fear to trust. And the percentage of those avoiding the vaccinations is still high.

But DeWine was optimistic.

“It is time to end the health orders. It’s been a year. You’ve followed the protocols. You’ve done what we’ve asked. You’ve bravely fought this virus," DeWine said. "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.”

Measures being removed will include facial covering protocols, social-distancing guidelines and capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor events.

DeWine announced that any pandemic health orders that will remain solely relate to either 1) nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which will also have federal safety protocols, and 2) data collection related to the pandemic.

In another effort to increase the number of vaccinated Ohioans, DeWine announced a series of statewide drawings to provide an extra push.

Ohioans under the age of 18 who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be entered into a drawing for a four-year full scholarship to any of Ohio's state colleges and universities, including full tuition, room and board.

Ohioans age 18 and older will be entered into a weekly drawing with a prize of up to $1 million.

A total of five weekly drawings for each prize will take place, with the first winners being announced on May 26. Winners must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the date of the respective drawing.

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.

We love the incentives. Frankly, getting a million dollars for doing the right thing is pretty darn attractive.

Good luck, everyone! And if you still want to wear a mask, we won’t be mad. We might still be wearing them ourselves.

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