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: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
Montgomery433890
Whitley405642
Huntington402181
Steuben398659
Miami392568
Jasper386254
Knox375690
Putnam371860
Wabash360583
Ripley346470
Adams344955
Jefferson335685
White329753
Daviess3028100
Wells294881
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284664
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269855
Clay265448
Randolph244683
Washington244534
Jennings235149
Spencer234131
Starke227558
Fountain218347
Sullivan213943
Owen210858
Fulton201542
Jay200832
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175626
Vermillion173544
Franklin170135
Tipton165746
Parke148916
Pike137934
Blackford136032
Pulaski120047
Newton112636
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton100814
Martin91415
Warren83515
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0421

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1106796

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284601459
Cuyahoga1155792204
Hamilton812751245
Montgomery524631040
Summit48327999
Lucas43289817
Butler38886603
Stark33275929
Lorain25631502
Warren24554303
Mahoning22327601
Lake21133385
Clermont20095252
Delaware18815135
Licking16643222
Fairfield16552204
Trumbull16520479
Medina15592270
Greene15246246
Clark14216306
Wood13276197
Portage13226214
Allen11904239
Richland11596211
Miami10832223
Wayne9112222
Columbiana9016230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8646122
Marion8633138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8049164
Ashtabula7136179
Hancock6995131
Ross6932161
Geauga6831150
Scioto6525104
Belmont6148174
Union583549
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5433125
Darke5414129
Seneca5342126
Washington5307109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443665
Ashland435097
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4031110
Brown401861
Logan387177
Preble3847103
Clinton378166
Ottawa372581
Highland359165
Williams347578
Champaign343558
Guernsey324153
Jackson317254
Perry297150
Morrow291240
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2697101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220062
Carroll196648
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135739
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Mostly sunny skies dominate on Monday. A weak cold front may cause a handful of showers to pop up after noon.
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