Many Ohio businesses to reopen in May with masks required

A woman walks her dog past a sign thanking healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, April 27, 2020, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine acknowledged he was walking a fine line by trying to revive the state’s economy at a time when he says the virus is still much a threat.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 6:50 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s first steps toward reopening the state after more than a month of strict stay-at-home orders will require masks for workers and shoppers, while giving hope for businesses eager to open their doors again and indefinitely putting off Ohioans’ return to restaurants, barbershops and gyms.

The much anticipated return to normalcy will happen slowly, with the reopening of many health care offices on Friday.

Retail stores will need to wait two weeks before they can open, DeWine said Monday.

Masks will become standard for the foreseeable future, whether at the office, grocery or on the assembly line.

“No masks, no work, no service, no exception,” DeWine said.

The governor acknowledged he was walking a fine line by trying to revive the state’s economy at a time when he says the virus is still much a threat.

But there are positive signs he pointed to while making a case for the gradual reopening — the number of people testing positive, being hospitalized and dying has been on the decline the past five days, according to the state’s health statistics.

“Some will say we shouldn’t have opened up at all, some will say we didn’t open up enough, and I understand that,” DeWine said.

“To the best of my ability I think we found the sweet spot,” he said. “I think we found the spot that is most likely to cause less damage, more likely to cause good. It’s a risk, and I fully understand.”

The governor said he considered but rejected the idea of allowing parts of the state with fewer cases to open up further, saying it didn’t make sense to create a patchwork of decisions by Ohio’s 113 public health agencies.

Nonessential surgeries and other medical procedures that don’t require an overnight hospital stay can begin again in Ohio starting Friday, along with dental and veterinarian practices.

Manufacturing, distribution and construction companies can begin operations May 4, along with offices, although DeWine urged companies to continue to have employees work from home as much as possible.

DeWine said retail businesses can begin to reopen May 12 as long as employees and customers wear masks, and other safety practices are followed, such as sanitation and social distancing.

The governor called his plan a “good beginning” made possible by Ohioans’ efforts so far, and which will be aided by ramped-up testing and disease-tracing efforts.

“We’ve gotten this far — but we have a ways to go,” DeWine said. “These are the first steps.” He said a total reopening May 1 would be irresponsible, given that the virus is still out there “killing people.”

Day cares, gyms, swimming pools, and movie theaters are among those businesses that will stay closed. The reopening of restaurants and businesses like barbershops won’t happen for a few weeks and will be aided by what is learned over the next few weeks, the governor said.

Brenda Kocak, who owns a men’s hair salon in suburban Columbus, was hoping to hear that she could reopen soon after spending weeks watching safety seminars and buying face masks, capes and surface cleaners.

“It just makes no sense,” she said. “How can it be more safe to go into a dentist’s office and get your mouth cleaned than it is to go to a salon and get a haircut?”

Kocak, who has owned Modern Male Spas in Dublin, said she can’t afford to stay closed much longer.

The Ohio Restaurant Association also pushed back, urging the governor to allow restaurants to begin offering socially distanced dine-in service by May 15.

Half of the state’s residents want to see Ohio’s economy get a jump-start this week, but their support waned when asked about opening specific businesses and churches, a new poll found.

Only about one-third of the Ohioans surveyed were ready for salons, churches and restaurants to open. And even less thought playgrounds and day cares should open this week, according to the poll conducted last week by Baldwin Wallace University.

Many of the Republicans who hold a majority in the Ohio House are pushing for allowing all businesses to reopen by Friday.

Their plan released on Monday and backed by more than half of the GOP House members said they think all businesses are essential and that many have made changes to protect employees and customers.

But Democrats in the House said the state is not ready because there’s not enough testing or tracking of people who have been near someone who was infected.

“Without that information, we are operating blindly and making ourselves susceptible to a second surge,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes, the top Democrat in the House.

In other coronavirus-related developments:

CASES

The state has 753 confirmed and probable deaths associated with the coronavirus to date and more than 16,000 positive tests, including more than 3,200 hospitalizations, Ohio health officials reported Monday.

Most Ohio coroners are collecting extra blood samples from autopsies to go back and test for antibodies to better determine how many Ohioans were exposed to the coronavirus, Dr. Kent Harshbarger, Montgomery County coroner, told The Columbus Dispatch.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

PRISONS

The state said Tina Reeves, 58, a nurse at Pickaway Correctional Institution in central Oho, died of COVID-19 on Sunday, the second Department of Rehabilitation and Correctional employee killed by the coronavirus.

Nineteen Ohio prison inmates have also died from COVID-19, according to the state prisons agency.

More than 2,000 inmates out of about 2,500 at Marion Correctional Institution have tested positive to date, while more than 1,500 of about 2,000 have tested positive at Pickaway Correctional Institution, where 13 of the inmates who died were housed.

TESTING

Cincinnati-based grocery chain Kroger Co. is expanding free drive-thru testing for health care workers, first responders and people with COVID-19 symptoms.

The company said Monday it has added Ohio sites in Toledo and Dayton, along with Detroit and Denver.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
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