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Coronavirus In Ohio: Manufacturers Can Reopen Monday, But Not All Will

Honda's factory in Marysville, Ohio.
Tony Dejak
Associated Press
A car leaves Honda's factory in Marysville, Ohio, before the automaker shut down its North American plants.

Ohio's manufacturing sector is able to reopen Monday, the next step in Gov. Mike DeWine's plan to ease business restrictions.

The Ohio Manufacturers Association represents about 1,500 companies, and spokesman Jamie Karl says about 75% are already up and running, since manufacturing was deemed an essential business in the original stay-at-home order.

Ohio has about 14,000 total manufacturers statewide, though, and some won’t be ready Monday.

“A good example would be the automakers, Honda specifically in the Columbus area. They are not scheduled to come back online until at least May 8,” Karl says. “Some of this is dictated by not state orders, but simple supply and demand.”

Under the extended stay-at-home order, reopening busineses must follow social distancing and health guidelines, including requiring face masks for employees.

Karl says some manufacturers will provide personal protective equipment to workers, while others will ask them to bring in their own gear.

“Employers need to inspect those masks to make sure that they’re adequate face coverings and they do the job,” Karl says.

Karl says there will be scenarios when PPE proves to be an obstruction to the work at hand, and in those cases, the state won't require employees to wear it. The manufacturing association wrote a guide for employers to reference.

“In manufacturing specifically, there are conditions where it’s extremely hot,” Karl says. “And with sweat, you’d almost be in a more dangerous situation by wearing a mask.”

Other such conditions extreme moisture, or situations where workers need to be able to see each other’s lips move for clarity in communication.

Office workplaces are also able to reopen on Monday, although DeWine has encouraged employers to allow those who can work remote to continue doing so. 

The latest stay-at-home order expires May 29.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.