COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine laid out plans for reopening businesses and restarting the Ohio economy at his daily briefing and via Twitter on Monday.
“I think the most important question is how we restart Ohio,” he said. “Because if we do it right, we can provide as much protection as we can to our workers and everyone involved. The ‘how’ is very important”.
DeWine said that, beginning Friday, May 1, “We will have a healthcare opening. Remember, we slowed non-essential procedures down because we needed to make sure that we had enough hospital beds, PPE and social distancing. Again, you’ve done a great job. The hospitals aren’t full. But we still need more PPE.
“The order we are issuing: All healthcare procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward. Dentists and veterinarians can also begin full steam ahead on May 1.”
DeWine said on Monday, May 4, “Manufacturing, distribution and construction will open back up. But we’re going to require those who are opening — and those who already have been open — to follow strict guidelines on how to reopen.”
Businesses must: Require face coverings for employees and clients/customers at all times; conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty”; maintain good hygiene at all times — handwashing and social distancing; clean and sanitize workplaces throughout the day and at the close of business or between shifts; and limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.
He then laid out steps that must be followed by businesses if there is a COVID-19 infection in the workplace.
On Tuesday, May 12, consumer, retail and services are set to re-open.
DeWine added that the Stay At Home order remains — for gatherings, no more than 10 people allowed.
DeWine made it clear that one reason the state is able to move forward is that testing capabilities are dramatically increasing as we head into May. Also, more funding as well as more personnel will be going to health departments.
“My heart aches for the businessmen and women who have not been able to work, and who are looking at savings going down every day,” he said. “For the employees who are unemployed. One cannot overstate the tragedy of this, so we have to get moving — but at the same time protect Ohioans.”
It’s still here
DeWine said, “COVID-19 is still here. It’s still as dangerous as it ever was. It is still among us. Many of the things you have done — you’ve slowed this process, but it’s still there.
“The essential tools to slow COVID-19 down are the same: Distance; washing hands; cloth masks; and sanitizing surfaces. We will have to continue to do these as we move the economy forward.”
The State of Ohio reports, as of the Monday afternoon update, 16,325 total COVID-19 cases (including probable cases). Overall, 57 percent are males and 42 percent females, with 978 ICU admissions, 3,232 hospitalizations and 753 deaths.
Clinton County’s numbers as of Monday morning stand 24 confirmed cases — 13 women and 11 men ages 26 to 78 — of which 22 have recovered. There are also four probable cases.