DeWine spells out a cautious approach to re-start Ohio’s economy


By Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer



COLUMBUS — Hospitals will be the first businesses to open back up May 1 as Ohio tries to get its economy started back up again due to shutdowns and health-orders related to COVID-19

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the first openings in today’s news briefing.

  • On May 1, hospitals will open, along with dentists offices and veterinarian offices.
  • On May 4, companies that focus on manufacturing, distribution and construction will be able to open up.
  • On May 12, consumer-, retail- and service-oriented businesses, along with general office work can resume.

Businesses allowed to open must still adhere to Covid-19 guidelines in order to remain open.

Also, some new rules and regulations will be in place.

Social distancing guidelines and the use of Personal Protective Equipment rules must be maintained. That means masks are necessary … for all workers and all customers.

DeWine emphasized that this is just a start, and the opening of more segments of the economy are all predicated on how this first phase goes.

Hospitals have been a priority from the start in Ohio, and will remain so.

“On March 10, Ohio Health Director Amy Acton issued an order that prohibited non-essential medical procedures,” said DeWine. “Why? To make certain that as the virus spread we had enough had enough beds, PPE and because we wanted to utilize social distancing.

“At this time, our hospitals are not full, we have space. Although we still are lacking the amount of PPE we need, and that is still a concern, we are dealing with it. As of May 1, all health procedures that can be done — that do not require an overnight stay” are allowed.

On May 1, dentists, and veterinarians also can move full-steam ahead.

DeWine reminded Ohioans that they have done a great job so far, but must continue the steps already taken.

“You have done an amazing job, staying home, staying apart. The things I’ve asked you to do, you have done. We are where we are today — where we can start going back — because of what you have done.”

But the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, he stressed.

“The coronavirus is still here, as dangerous as it has ever been. It is still living among us,” DeWine said. “I have described the virus us a monster, and it is searching for bodies. It does so by going from one body to another. Many of the things you’ve done have slowed the process, but it is still here.

“We have have the tools to slow it down, to break it from going from one place to another. Those tools are the same today as they are when this started: Distance, distance, distance; washing your hands … the normal sanitation of areas, face coverings. These are things we have used successfully and things we will need to keep doing as we go about re-starting the economy.”

The second phase or reopening begins May 4 and deals with manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses.

Again, basic guidelines must be adhered to, including social distancing and/or the installation of barriers between workers.

On May 15 retail, service- and consumer-oriented business and general office environments can open.

Although some retail businesses, including groceries are still open, some new rules will apply after May 15, including the fact that all workers and shoppers must wear masks after that date.

The guidelines for all are pretty simple, but include:

  • No mask, no work, no service. No exceptions.
  • Businesses and employees must conduct daily health assessments.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • There must be a priority given to clean sanitizing during workdays and after businesses shut down for the day.
  • Businesses have to b able to meet social distancing guidelines.
  • Capacity must be limited to 50 percent of whatever their local fire code allows.
  • And any employees that are found to have symptom of COVID-19, must immediately be reported to local health districts so workers can start tracing others who may been in contact with the sick employee.

Employers are being asked to let remote workers continue to work at home if that is humanly possible.

The stay-at-home order for Ohioans will remain, but it will be modified as the economy opens back up.

Some businesses remain closed, including restaurant and hair salons and barbers.

“This is a start,” DeWine said. “We want to get Ohioans back to work. But we need to see how this works before we open up more businesses. We will monitor the numbers and see how testing and tracing in going.

“We don’t want to open things up and then have to go back because of a huge spike in cases and hospitalizations.”

He also reminded the most vulnerable Ohioans, people age 65 or older or those with other medical problems to be exceedingly careful.

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By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com