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: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
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