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Coronavirus In Ohio: DeWine Says Ohioans Must Be Protected As Businesses Reopen

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a face mask at a press conference April 6, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a face mask at a press conference April 6, 2020.

On April 17, 1964, Columbus native Jerrie Mock became the first female aviator to circle the globe in her plane, the “Spirit of Columbus.”  To kick off his Friday coronavirus update, Gov. Mike DeWine presented Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton with the 2020 Spirit of Columbus Award.

He quickly moved on to the matter of reopening Ohio in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, though the governor still did not yet have many specific details to offer. DeWine said Thursday that the process of reopening shuttered businesses will begin May 1, although not all at once.

“We’re trying to get Ohioans back to work, at the same time, we’re trying to protect Ohioans,” DeWine said.

DeWine said the “virus will remain out there,” so the basic goals of reopening businesses will be to protect both employees and customers.

“That’s it,” DeWine said. “Everything kind of flows from there.”

More details about businesses reopening will be laid out next week, but DeWine said the public should expect businesses to be operating under a variety of different rules, including the enforcement of six-foot distancing, employees wearing masks, and staggered arrival times and lunch times.

Employees who can work from home will continue to do so, he said. And those who do come in to work might have their temperatures checked and will be sent home if they show any symptoms of illness.

As of Friday afternoon, there are 9,107 cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, Acton reported, with 2,424 hospitalizations and 418 deaths.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio
Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are coordinating their plans to reopen, said DeWine, who is communicating regularly with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashear (D).

“Gov. Holcomb, Gov. Bashear and I talk a lot,” said DeWine. “This is a group where we’re kind of comparing notes, and our departments our comparing notes as we go forward.”

DeWine said his administration is also in a group of Great Lake states that “have a lot in common.” But he emphasized that, ultimately, Ohio’s plan is going to be “by Ohioans for Ohioans, because we need to recognize the uniqueness of Ohio.”

What questions do you have about Ohio's coronavirus response? Ask below as part of our Curious Cbus project.