COLUMBUS, Ohio — A key change to Ohio's Vax-a-Million vaccine incentive came on Monday, just hours before Gov. Mike DeWine provided his usual COVID-19 press conference.
Rather than being automatically entered based on the voter registration roll, vaccinated Ohioans must now opt-in to have a chance to win one of the five weekly $1 million prizes.
HOW CAN YOU ENTER YOUR NAME INTO THE DRAWING?
Ohio residents can now enter into the lottery system by filling out a questionnaire at Ohiovaxamillion.com or by calling the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
During Monday's briefing, DeWine detailed the rules of the lotto and dove deeper into his decision last week to lift the mask order for vaccinated Ohioans before the June 2 date he previously set.
Here's a breakdown of what was discussed.
UPDATED MASK ORDER
The CDC last week announced a change in mask guidance, allowing those who are vaccinated to not wear a mask in most situations.
Soon after, DeWine said the state's mask order would be amended to reflect those changes from the CDC. That updated order was signed Monday afternoon.
Unvaccinated Ohioans are still required to wear a mask in public until all of the state's health orders are lifted on June 2.
Under the new order, and in line with CDC guidance, everyone should continue to wear masks when they are in a healthcare setting, while using public transportation and when they are in a business that chooses to require masks.
Schools are still being asked to mask up until that June 2 date as well. At that point, if schools are still in session, each district can decide if they would like to continue requiring students and staff to wear a mask.
While masks in school buildings will not be required by the state after June 2. DeWine said his recommendation is that schools keep the use of face coverings until the end of the school year.
Again, businesses can also choose to require masks after Ohio's pandemic health orders expire. A number of grocery chains have already announced their intention to continue the mask requirements within their stores.
VAX-A-MILLION AND SCHOLARSHIP DRAWINGS
Beginning May 26, five weekly winners will be chosen to take home $1 million. In order to be eligible, you must be 18 or older, live in Ohio and be vaccinated before the drawing occurs.
On Monday at 11 a.m., a notable change was made to the original process. The Ohio Vax-a-Million will now be opt-in.
DeWine said vaccinated Ohioans who wish to enter can go to OhioVaxaMillion.com or call 1-833-ASK-ODH starting tomorrow at 8 a.m.
Once you are in, you are set, DeWine said. You do not need to re-register each week.
May 26 will also be the first drawing of five for those 17 and under to win a four-year full scholarship to any state university in Ohio. Vaccinated Ohioans eligible for this drawing can also register at OhioVaxaMillion.com.
VACCINES FOR THOSE 12 AND OLDER
As a reminder, Ohioans 12 and up are now eligible to be vaccinated. However, so far, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for this age group.
For information on how to get vaccinated, parental consent and what to know before taking your child to an appointment, click here.
Youth in Ohio can be vaccinated at many locations across the state, including children's hospitals general hospitals, retail establishments and health departments.
DeWine noted that many people have voiced a preference for going to their primary care physician and urged any pediatrician who is interested in providing the vaccine to their patients to reach out to the state.
He said manufacturers have made it easier to store the Pfizer vaccine, which no longer requires ultracold storage.
For more information, go to the Ohio Health Department's website here.
The state's rate of cases per 100,000 people dropped Monday to 106.9, a drop of 13 points since last Thursday.
DeWine said the state has seen an average drop of two to three points per day since mid-April and he believes the state is on track to meet his goal of 50 cases per 100,000 people in the coming month.
Plus, he said, following the announcement of the state's new vaccine incentives, vaccinations look to be on the rise.
"This is the way we get out of this pandemic," DeWine said.
Last week, DeWine said Ohio would opt out of the additional $300 a week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance starting June 26.
On Monday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted outlined the programs and services Ohio is offering both employers and those searching for work.
"Because of the wide availability of both jobs and the vaccine in the state, ODJFS now has several buttons featured prominently on their websites for employers to report former employees who are receiving unemployment but have refused offers of suitable work," a statement from the Governor's Office read.
Right now, OhioMeansJobs.com has more than 180,000 job openings listed, with more than half paying above $50,000 per year.