Ohio county with no coronavirus deaths asking Gov. DeWine to let them reopen

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ASHLAND, Ohio (WJW) — Ashland County commissioners are asking the governor to let them reopen businesses now.

“We are ready to get back to work,” said Ashland County Commissioner Mike Welch.

The commissioners sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine Monday asking him to allow county officials to make the decisions on reopening businesses in their community.

“We are a rural community and we have only had 10 positive cases of COVID-19 and no deaths,” said Commissioner Denny Bittle. “Let people make their own personal decisions on those stats. We are advocates of that because it is killing our economy, our budget, and it’s killing the businesses. “

The commissioners stated they are still encouraging everyone to practice social distancing when out in public.

“Originally when they came out they said that 90 percent of us would get this anyhow and  just to flatten the curve,” said Commissioner Jim Justice. “We have more than flattened the curve; we believe it’s time to open up.”

The governor said he wants to reopen safely to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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We reached out to the governor’s office for a statement and a spokesman said Gov. DeWine is allowing retail and many services to open for foot traffic Tuesday.  Those businesses can now provide services by appointment, curbside pickup, or delivery.  The governor also intends to give an update on restaurants Thursday.

Craig Nolletti, owner of Ashland Warehouse Gym and Crossfit 419, says being closed has been a huge financial hardship on him and his family.

“This has been the worst six weeks of my life. I wake up in the middle of the night; I can’t sleep,” Nolletti said. “I am so glad my local leaders are sticking up for small businesses. People don’t come to a gym when they are sick. When you are not feeling well you just don’t come to a gym so I believe we can keep people safe and open up in some capacity.”

Ashland officials say they have not yet heard back from the governor but are hoping they will get a response soon.

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