UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 28, Gov. DeWine walked back the guidance on face coverings in Ohio’s reopening protocol to be “strongly recommended” instead of required. On Wednesday, they clarified employees in Ohio are required to wear masks/face coverings.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton held a briefing Monday afternoon to discuss the latest efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus and plans for reopening businesses in Ohio.
Timeline for phase one of reopening Ohio:
- May 1 – Health care procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay in Ohio can move forward.
- May 4 – Manufacturing, distribution and construction will be opened up.
- May 4 – General offices will be able to reopen. Companies are asked to have employees work from home if possible.
- May 12 – Retail businesses, with employees and customers wearing masks.
- Businesses like salons, gyms and restaurants will have to wait to see how the first reopenings go.
As of Monday, there are 16,325 cases reported in the state, leading to 3,232 hospitalizations and 753 deaths. Of those hospitalized, 978 required intensive care.
The governor said the reopening will start on May 1 with healthcare services.
Governor DeWine announced all health procedures that can be done without an overnight stay can move forward beginning May 1. Procedures that were previously allowed will also be allowed.
Dentists and veterinarians can also move forward with services on May 1.
On May 4, DeWine says Ohio manufacturing, construction and distribution businesses will be able to open. General office settings can also reopen on May 4.
Companies are still asked to have employees work from home if possible.
On May 12, consumer retail and services can reopen. Employees and customers should wear masks.
Ohio’s Stay-At-Home Order:
The stay-home order will still be in place, DeWine said. It will be modified for those going to their work or for retail. Gatherings will still be limited to 10 people and people should still stay home when possible.
Businesses that open up will need to employ safe business practices, according to DeWine.
DeWine opened Monday’s briefing by saying he will talk about where we’ve been and we are going in the battle against the coronavirus.
He said Ohioans have done an amazing job at staying home and staying apart. He says Ohio is in a position to start to get its economy moving because of those efforts.
DeWine said he looks at the five-day average of cases and he sees a difference. He does not yet see a 14-day downturn, but says we are making progress.
To fight the virus, DeWine said the state needs to ramp up testing and do contact tracing. He says May will be a critical month.
By the end of the month, the governor said he would like to see 22,275 tests conducted per day.
To perform contract tracing of cases, DeWine estimated the state will need around 1,750 additional workers by June.
Lt. Governor Jon Husted said the plan announced Monday was made with the best advice from both the medical and business community.
Governor DeWine said he is prepared to hear criticism from both sides of the issue. Some will say he is opening the state too soon, others will say he has already waited too long. He says he hopes he has found the ‘sweet spot’ in the middle.
Despite the May 1 date of a gradual economic reopening, K-12 school buildings in Ohio will stay closed for the remainder of the academic year, and graduations will be held as virtual commencement ceremonies.
A new poll released Monday shows Ohioans support DeWine but worry about the timeline of reopening Ohio,