Ohio Governor lays out 'Stay Safe Ohio Order', acknowledges criticism

A protester stands on the step of the Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, April 20, 2020, to protest the stay home order that is in effect until May 1. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Gov. Mike DeWine said his message is embedded within the name of Friday’s new order extending the state shutdown until May 29, dubbed the “Stay Safe Ohio Order.”

Posted: May 2, 2020 2:37 PM
Updated: May 3, 2020 8:47 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday issued an appeal for Ohioans to stick together as the state slowly reopens, underscoring a point he has made multiple times in recent days: that it’s possible to restart the economy and keep people safe at the same time.

He said his message is embedded within the name of Friday’s new order extending the state shutdown until May 29, dubbed the “Stay Safe Ohio Order.”

“We can stay safe, we can protect each other, we can protect our most vulnerable, and at the same time get people back to work,” the Republican governor said.

While he laid out his reasoning, criticism is increasing from both sides of the debate over when to get back to normal.

Some argue he’s wrecking the economy by refusing to let all businesses open immediately, while others contend he’s risking lives by moving too fast.

DeWine said his job right now isn’t “a popularity contest” and he takes responsibility for the decisions being made.

“I’m calling it the best that I can,” he said.

DeWine spoke as Ohio COVID-19 deaths topped 1,000 for the first time, and also as dozens of protesters of Ohio’s stay-at-home orders returned to the Statehouse, pounding on windows and shouting.

“Reopen all Ohio businesses now” read one protester’s sign. State troopers in riot gear stood by.

DeWine’s announcement extending the stay-at-home order until May 29 — while also allowing retail stores to expand their business earlier than expected — seemed to confuse a number of Ohioans and stir up others who want stores to reopen immediately and their lives to return to normal.

Some posting on social media questioned how they could shop at retail stores without violating the latest order.

Republican state Rep. Nino Vitale, who is among the more than 30 GOP lawmakers calling for all businesses to reopen right away, blasted the latest order issued by the state health director.

“Now when you go to bed at night, you have NO IDEA what your rights will be when you get up in the morning,” he wrote on his Facebook page Friday.

Consistent with DeWine’s earlier announcements, health care offices were allowed to reopen Friday, followed by construction companies, distributors, manufacturers and offices on Monday, May 4.

Bars and movie theaters remain closed, along with in-person dining at restaurants.

Sporting events and concerts are still prohibited.

Multiple working groups are being formed to come up with the best and safest way to restart activities, including hair care, dining out, going to the gym, visiting libraries and participating in sporting events, DeWine said.

But it’s too early to talk about summer activities and specific dates when things are happening because of the changing nature of the virus, the governor said.

Friday’s 14-page directive from Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says currently closed retail establishments can begin offering curbside pickup or delivery on Saturday.

In addition, stores that restrict operations to 10 customers on an “appointment-only” basis can reopen Saturday.

The measure is an effort to put retailers on par with restaurants and their ability to do carryout, and to address smaller businesses’s frustration that big box stores have been open throughout the pandemic, often selling the same products, from TVs to mattresses, said Roger Geiger, president of the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio chapter.

The goal of the order was “to get these small guys open because they are truly fighting for their survival,” Geiger said Friday.

DeWine had said all week that retail businesses could not reopen until May 12.

Masks are mandatory for employees returning to reopened businesses and strongly recommended for customers and clients under the Ohio order.

Businesses have the authority to require customers to wear masks, and some — like Costco — have already done so.

Geiger’s clothing and sporting goods stores in the Cleveland area will stick with their plans to open May 12, mainly so that they can have their staff ready, said Chas Geiger, a co-owner, and no relation to Roger Geiger.

All employees will be wearing masks, he said, and they’ll strongly encourage customers to do so as well.

“A lot of what we’re thinking about is the confidence of our customers to come back,” he said.

In other coronavirus-related developments in Ohio:

CASES

The state has 1,002 presumptive or confirmed virus-related deaths, and more than 18,700 cases, including more than 3,600 hospitalizations, the state health department reported Friday.

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.

CARE

Kroger opened its first Columbus drive-thru site for coronavirus testing on Thursday, with capacity for 330 tests a day, and planned to open another in Cincinnati on Friday. The company previously added Ohio sites in Toledo, Bowling Green and suburban Dayton, along with Detroit and Denver.

PRISONS

Two prison employees and 31 Ohio prison inmates have died from COVID-19, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

More than 4,000 inmates have tested positive, but the prisons agency has only conducted universal testing at three facilities to date, meaning the actual number of positive cases is unknown.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76522

Reported Deaths: 3086
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16194731
Lake7742281
Elkhart495586
Allen4040163
St. Joseph361083
Hamilton2887104
Vanderburgh205313
Hendricks1943108
Cass18069
Johnson1794119
Porter136239
Clark130750
Tippecanoe124511
Madison103066
LaPorte93530
Howard92065
Kosciusko87212
Floyd82249
Bartholomew82147
Marshall79423
Monroe76732
Delaware76052
Vigo71411
Dubois71312
Boone69746
Noble69029
Hancock68839
Jackson5975
Warrick58830
Shelby56828
LaGrange56610
Grant53130
Dearborn51628
Morgan48934
Clinton4504
Henry41820
Wayne38810
White37711
Montgomery36021
Lawrence35727
Harrison35224
Decatur34232
Putnam3218
Daviess27920
Miami2772
Scott27310
Jasper2572
Greene25434
Franklin24715
DeKalb2384
Gibson2334
Jennings22812
Steuben2153
Ripley2138
Carroll2003
Fayette1957
Perry18713
Posey1800
Starke1807
Orange17824
Wells1782
Fulton1732
Wabash1715
Jefferson1662
Knox1640
Whitley1566
Tipton14912
Washington1441
Sullivan1411
Spencer1393
Clay1315
Huntington1273
Randolph1274
Newton12110
Adams1172
Owen1051
Jay920
Rush894
Pulaski821
Fountain762
Brown752
Blackford662
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike620
Vermillion590
Parke551
Switzerland530
Martin500
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0208

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 104248

Reported Deaths: 3734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18965531
Cuyahoga13869512
Hamilton9844259
Lucas5512326
Montgomery448998
Summit3667224
Butler303364
Marion294245
Mahoning2623256
Pickaway240042
Stark1904142
Warren185039
Lorain183177
Columbiana168360
Trumbull1563110
Fairfield143232
Delaware136519
Licking134551
Clark121315
Lake114642
Wood109058
Clermont96211
Medina95936
Miami86839
Tuscarawas79714
Allen79446
Portage77664
Greene73012
Mercer64113
Belmont62726
Richland61912
Erie61028
Ashtabula57746
Geauga56144
Wayne55459
Ross5094
Madison50310
Darke41429
Huron4115
Ottawa40426
Sandusky39917
Hancock3973
Athens3612
Holmes3316
Lawrence3180
Auglaize2756
Union2731
Scioto2591
Muskingum2481
Jefferson2403
Seneca2344
Shelby2154
Knox2147
Preble2122
Putnam21217
Washington21122
Coshocton1967
Champaign1882
Morrow1792
Crawford1775
Hardin17512
Clinton1716
Highland1692
Logan1672
Ashland1553
Fulton1551
Defiance1544
Wyandot1519
Brown1502
Perry1483
Williams1373
Fayette1240
Henry1222
Hocking1229
Guernsey1197
Carroll1135
Monroe9418
Pike800
Jackson770
Gallia741
Van Wert732
Paulding700
Adams642
Meigs580
Vinton322
Morgan300
Harrison261
Noble170
Unassigned00
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