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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.

Cases: 1560117

Reported Deaths: 20796
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2118112563
Lake1021301523
Allen964791027
Hamilton75541551
St. Joseph66476761
Elkhart51045634
Vanderburgh50511531
Tippecanoe45721338
Johnson39600527
Hendricks37933463
Porter35132476
Madison30330547
Clark27296331
Vigo26401347
Monroe24100249
LaPorte23921313
Howard23237381
Delaware22453370
Hancock19314220
Bartholomew18980216
Kosciusko18400204
Warrick17733216
Wayne16982303
Floyd16686257
Grant15966300
Morgan15091232
Boone13924138
Dearborn12235113
Shelby12225152
Noble12170142
Henry12027202
Dubois11696152
Marshall11625171
Jackson11111104
Cass10578143
Lawrence10529221
Huntington10523140
DeKalb10482132
Gibson10114127
Montgomery9671144
Harrison9471117
Knox9415125
Whitley902571
Steuben8934105
Putnam8542100
Miami8533135
Clinton849397
Jasper8462116
Jefferson8319127
Wabash8027140
Ripley7504117
Scott685787
Adams6829103
Daviess6825130
White638184
Greene6317112
Clay628975
Decatur6261121
Jennings619781
Wells6090121
Fayette6054122
Posey580148
LaGrange549097
Randolph5364129
Washington528071
Owen5211100
Fountain493681
Spencer467456
Sullivan462066
Fulton450993
Orange449784
Starke448887
Rush433941
Jay432564
Perry409155
Carroll394749
Franklin394650
Vermillion370762
Pike334246
Parke331239
Tipton330475
Blackford282255
Pulaski281775
Brown239856
Newton239761
Benton228921
Crawford224932
Switzerland207914
Martin196722
Warren183922
Union178119
Ohio129216
Unassigned0763

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2515949

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2719422100
Cuyahoga2606673087
Hamilton1758091756
Montgomery1177451651
Summit1089011418
Lucas935321193
Butler83907963
Stark771001431
Lorain64214809
Warren53428489
Mahoning51224930
Lake47591611
Clermont46928452
Delaware41107220
Trumbull39746790
Licking38790416
Medina38646427
Fairfield35828349
Greene34313435
Portage32429366
Clark32361453
Richland29653444
Wood29379301
Allen25875403
Miami24243408
Muskingum23564255
Columbiana23046409
Wayne22093365
Tuscarawas19637428
Marion18616235
Erie18608224
Ashtabula18569362
Scioto18159214
Ross17594260
Pickaway16419181
Hancock16115232
Geauga15511229
Lawrence15094186
Belmont14236248
Union1419584
Huron13908184
Jefferson13656261
Sandusky13268200
Athens12877107
Knox12160201
Seneca12055204
Darke11440202
Ashland11248184
Washington11152172
Auglaize10873147
Crawford10432178
Shelby10402160
Brown10094145
Highland9746151
Fulton9726154
Guernsey9683122
Defiance9567137
Logan9470147
Clinton9428132
Mercer9099112
Madison9032111
Preble8524170
Williams8305138
Putnam8069136
Champaign8040113
Ottawa7971123
Jackson7848121
Perry7514102
Coshocton7411136
Morrow729184
Fayette715992
Pike666689
Hardin6564133
Gallia638891
Adams6227127
Van Wert6065121
Henry602596
Hocking5918105
Wyandot503594
Carroll5009101
Holmes4880167
Paulding426465
Meigs400974
Monroe316468
Harrison299162
Noble296952
Morgan292748
Vinton258646
Unassigned08
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