COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton provided Ohioans with more insight on how they plan to move forward with reopening the state.
During their Friday afternoon news conference, Ohio’s leaders explained while they are gradually moving forward with reopening the state, the coronavirus is still an active threat.
As of Friday, there were 9,107 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. The Ohio Department of Health said there were 418 deaths and 2,424 hospitalizations because of the virus.
State leaders say the virus is just as dangerous now as it’s ever been, but they now have the understanding of what everyone’s responsibility is in this pandemic and the goal is to “find a balance between lives and livelihood.”
“We’re trying to get Ohio back to work,” the Governor said. “And at the same time, we’re trying to protect Ohioans. Because of what you’ve done, we’re now in a much better position to do this. We’re going to have to slowly do this.”
Governor DeWine’s main goals for reopening Ohio’s businesses are to protect employees and customers. He says Ohioans will still practice social distancing and can expect to see people wearing masks and gloves in public, barriers when appropriate, limitations on the number of people in a store, surfaces being regularly cleaned, and those who can continuing to work from home.
“After May 1, things will change some, but the essential reality is that this virus will remain out there, so our lives must be guided by that. We want to make sure every individual has as much info about their own condition and what risks there are,” Governor DeWine explained.
“Reopening Ohio has to be done in a responsible way, where we look at the best data we have. Each decision we make going forward has to be made with the best science,” added Dr. Amy Acton. “It will be a phased approach. It’s not going to be wide open on May 1. We’re not going back to six months ago. We’ll move forward in the best way possible.”
The Governor also said officials will work throughout the weekend on further developing the plan for reopening the state. Citizens can expect to learn more about that next week. In the meantime, he says the following will be a beginning point for the path to restarting the state:
Governor DeWine also said he believes the plan President Donald Trump gave governors on Thursday for recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic is a good plan.
However, he reiterates that Ohio’s leaders will remain focused on an Ohio-specific recovery plan that works best for the state, for Ohioans and meets the unique needs of Ohio’s citizens.
The President’s guidelines are aimed at easing restrictions in areas with low transmission of the coronavirus while holding the line in harder-hit locations. They make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than the President initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.
FOX 8 Live Blog (archived):
- Dr. Amy Acton was awarded the Spirit of Columbus Award
- DeWine says officials will be working on the plan to reopen over the weekend. They will not hold a news conference on Saturday or Sunday unless something urgent comes up.
- He says they are trying to get Ohioans back to work.
- Governor DeWine says as we talk about businesses opening, the goals are to: protect employees, protect customers.
- “We are in a situation where also protecting people, protecting customers and protecting workers, is also good business.” -DeWine
- What you might see in retail business, manufacturing company opening after May 1 & essential businesses open now: distancing, masks, barriers (where appropriate), employees wearing gloves, surfaces sanitized regularly, ample opportunity for employees/customers to wash hands, staggered lunch breaks, staggered arrival times, employees who can work from home doing so, temperature checks of employees when they arrive
- “Space is the key” -DeWine, expect to see limits of the number of people allowed inside each business
- “After May 1 things will change some, but the essential reality of the fact is that this virus will remain out there, so our life has to be guided by that. One of the things we want to do is make sure that every individual has as much information about their own condition and what risks there are as humanly possible.”
- Things that do not change: Assume everyone you meet is carrying the virus.
- Ohio is conducting lots of tests in prisons. One dorm 152 people tested positive, 60 had no symptoms.
- DeWine thinks the President’s plan is a good plan and agrees that every state will be different. Ohio is in a group with Governors of Kentucky, Indiana and another group with Great Lakes states. They are sharing info., collaborating. But still every state will be different.
- “Ohio’s plan is going to by Ohioans, for Ohioans.” -DeWine
- The path to restart voices: Public health measures and compliance, businesses operating safely with safeguards, protecting the most vulnerable
- “When May 1 comes, we’re going to have the most thoughtful restart that we can possibly have. COVID-19 will be with us for a while, so we must learn to live with it safely. The coronavirus is just as dangerous now as it’s ever been, but we now have the understanding of what everyone’s responsibility is in this. Our goal is to find a balance between lives and livelihood.” -Husted
- “Reopening Ohio has to be done in a responsible way, where we look at the best data we have. Each decision we make going forward has to be made with the best science.” -Dr. Amy Acton