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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.

Confirmed Cases: 150664

Reported Deaths: 4008
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24697784
Lake13220352
St. Joseph8877159
Elkhart8469132
Allen7880222
Hamilton5962113
Vanderburgh559360
Tippecanoe354714
Monroe320738
Hendricks3183130
Johnson2995128
Porter297848
Clark285461
Delaware282074
Vigo252637
Madison229593
Cass222021
LaPorte215557
Warrick188464
Kosciusko176823
Floyd174867
Howard158866
Bartholomew139758
Dubois135125
Marshall132526
Henry122628
Grant120939
Wayne119327
Boone118848
Hancock114145
Noble113533
Jackson108713
Morgan92240
Dearborn91628
Daviess84033
Gibson83411
Clinton81616
Shelby79429
Lawrence78534
LaGrange76715
Harrison74024
Putnam71016
Knox70310
DeKalb69411
Posey6796
Steuben6008
Fayette58517
Miami5845
Montgomery57222
White56815
Jasper5624
Greene51837
Scott50813
Decatur49839
Adams4725
Clay4346
Whitley4316
Sullivan42812
Ripley4228
Wells4155
Starke3937
Wabash3919
Orange38725
Huntington3785
Spencer3706
Franklin36525
Jennings36013
Washington3592
Randolph3398
Fulton3362
Jefferson3305
Pike31913
Carroll31413
Perry29514
Jay2876
Fountain2863
Tipton26823
Parke2203
Newton21811
Vermillion2181
Rush2044
Owen2021
Martin1950
Blackford1923
Crawford1491
Pulaski1471
Brown1303
Ohio1227
Benton1070
Union1040
Switzerland890
Warren751
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 185639

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30978635
Cuyahoga19436675
Hamilton16234338
Montgomery10083186
Lucas8175370
Butler8028123
Summit6555261
Warren406360
Stark3696178
Mahoning3635283
Marion335149
Pickaway296946
Delaware281127
Lorain266689
Fairfield257856
Licking248865
Wood244681
Clark242454
Clermont234937
Trumbull2221134
Greene219640
Columbiana210187
Allen203873
Miami195656
Lake188357
Medina180242
Portage156167
Mercer147128
Ross133833
Wayne131568
Richland128624
Tuscarawas123622
Athens11742
Erie113853
Darke110151
Madison103514
Hancock103023
Auglaize95116
Putnam91527
Lawrence90725
Shelby86814
Muskingum8434
Geauga83650
Scioto8059
Belmont78427
Union7343
Ashtabula72148
Huron69910
Sandusky69422
Preble59517
Seneca58514
Holmes57010
Ottawa56830
Fulton5056
Jefferson4564
Henry45317
Defiance44413
Jackson4417
Clinton43613
Fayette4328
Crawford4308
Highland4024
Logan4023
Champaign3873
Ashland3735
Brown3683
Knox36215
Perry35411
Washington33323
Morrow3312
Hardin32113
Williams3194
Coshocton29812
Pike2880
Guernsey2878
Wyandot28413
Gallia27913
Van Wert2333
Meigs21012
Adams2036
Carroll1917
Paulding1901
Hocking1899
Monroe15218
Noble1210
Vinton903
Harrison793
Morgan740
Unassigned00
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