Who will decide when Ohio reopens? DeWine says plan will be specific to state


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday he has a good working relationship with the White House, particularly in an exchange of information about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The relationship is such that DeWine did not contradict a declaration from President Donald Trump that it would be the White House, not the states, who will decide when to lift social distancing recommendations.

Trump asserted Monday that he is the ultimate decision-maker for determining how and when to reopen the coronavirus-stricken country, though it is unclear what authority he has to overrule the states.

While Trump, who is anxious to put the crisis behind him, has issued federal social distancing recommendations, it has been governors and local leaders who have instituted mandatory restrictions, including shuttering schools and ordering the closure of non-essential businesses.

When asked directly about who will decide when social distancing restrictions will be lifted, DeWine spoke about his relationship with the White House and fellow governors.

“We’re all in this together and the sharing of ideas is an integral part of doing this,” DeWine said. “Each governor is going to come up with their own plan, but that is a plan that certainly is helped by what the federal government is doing, what the federal government knows, what the Trump administration is doing. It’s all a process and I think the plan that we will come up with will be guided by all the information that we can get.”

He went on to say that any plan to reopen any state will have to be tailored specifically to that state.

Earlier in the briefing, DeWine said no matter what rule is put in place for Ohio, people still need to be confident to leave their homes.

“Part of what has to happen before we really get back is people have to have confidence that they can go out,” DeWine said. “People have to have confidence that they can, you know, go out to a restaurant, for an example.”

Ohio is taking advice from both medical professionals led by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton as well as business professionals as to when and to what extent the public can begin getting back to normal.

DeWine said that before Monday’s briefing, he finished a call with Vice President Mike Pence and a number of other governors from across the country.

“We’re getting advice from a lot of different people, listening to a lot of people in Ohio and outside Ohio,” he said.

DeWine said his administration has been working hard on what the next steps will be, calling it a work in progress.

“I think that what we come up with will be an Ohio plan and I think people are going to think it is a rational plan, the Trump administration will like it as well,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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