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.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Van Wert
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Storms return for Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events