COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Word about Ohio’s COVID-19 health orders being lifted in three weeks spread quickly through central Ohio.
Many said they were surprised by Gov. Mike DeWine’s Wednesday announcement, calling it unexpected.
“I understand where it comes from,” said Columbus resident Lauryn Betterton. “It had to happen some time. I wish it could have been a little farther along in the process.”
Infectious disease expert with OhioHealth, Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, said he knows DeWine is under a lot of political pressure.
While he is hopeful the governor is making the right decision, it’s too soon for him to say whether he thinks it’s the right decision at this point. He wants to see where the COVID-19 numbers are in three weeks.
Gastaldo also wants to remind people that while he knows many are excited by the announcement, COVID-19 is not going away.
“Everything COVID is full with caveats, and the caveat with the governor’s speech is, yes we are headed in the right direction, the virus is still here, we still have work to do to get vaccines into people’s arms,” he said.
Since businesses will be able to make their own decisions, Betterton worries getting rid of the orders will lead to confusion if some places keep health rules, but others do not.
“It’s just a challenge and it’s one more thing for everyone to have to balance in something that’s already a really, really tricky, difficult situation,” she said.
Scott Ellsworth said just like many small businesses figured out how to get through the pandemic up to this point, they’ll figure out these next steps, too. He owns a bar in the Short North and on the Ohio State University campus.
“It’s definitely a huge deal for us just to be able to open things up and run business how our businesses are supposed to run, which we obviously haven’t been doing the last 400 plus days,” Ellsworth, owner of Threes & Fours, said. “So it’ll be nice to get back to a sense of normalcy.”
He said the business has been waiting for this and the clock to June 2 is ticking.
“I’m sure we already have a timer started in the bar, if I had to guess,” Ellsworth said.