It's official: Ohio's economy will slowly start opening in phases on May 1.
“My heart aches for the businessmen and women who have not been able to work, who are looking at savings going down every day, the people who work in those businesses, people who are unemployed — one cannot overstate the tragedy of this. So we’ve got to get moving," said Gov. Mike DeWine during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday. "We’ve got to get people back to work. We’ve got to open things up. At the same time, we’ve got to protect Ohioans.”
DeWine said to protect Ohioans as we get back to work, it was mandatory that the state do larger amounts of testing and contact tracing, and that the public continue to practice social distancing.
The governor said the state expects to dramatically ramp up both its daily testing capacity in May — from an estimated 7,228 tests per day at the end of April to 22,000 per day at the end of May — and its ability to do contact tracing. Ohio expects to increase its staff of tracers from 685 to 1,750 by June.
The goals for responsibly reopening Ohio remain the same: to keep employees, customers and their families safe as they get back to work while the virus is still out there.
Businesses that open up will need to employ safe business practices. pic.twitter.com/AQdH3kKeD7— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 27, 2020
Here is DeWine's current announced timeline for what is opening in Ohio and when:
Health care will be the first thing to reopen in Ohio. DeWine said all health procedures/surgeries that can be done that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital will be able to move forward. Dentists and veterinarians can also open back up. And, as always, all surgeries are still allowed if there is a threat to the patient’s life; threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system; risk of metastasis or progression of staging; or risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms.
Any and all manufacturing, distribution and construction operations can reopen, whether they were open before or not. This graphic includes details with mandatory and recommended guidelines.
General office environments will also be allowed to reopen on May 4 with the following mandatory and suggested best practices.
Consumer, retail and services shops will be allowed to reopen on May 12 with the following mandatory and suggested practices.
DeWine says the state's stay at home order will still be in place, but it will be modified — like you can obviously go to work in or shop at a retail store. But gatherings of more than 10 people will still be banned.
"I know there are other things all of us want to do. People want to get their hair cut. People want to go back to restaurants. All those things we're anxious to do as well, but we've got to see how we do with these numbers; we've got to watch it for a few weeks...We're not quite there yet," he said.
There are a lot of moving parts here. This is the beginning, but to continue to move forward - without falling back and having a huge spike in cases - there are a lot of things everyone can do to decrease the impact and get people back to work.— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 27, 2020
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who has been working on the business reopening task force, said, "The businesses that are allowed to be reopened, they can meet the protocols. We know that they can do this and create safe work environments. They've proven they can do it over the course of the global pandemic...but when you start having that close interaction with people, that's when all of our health advisors get very nervous about exacerbating the spread. If you do all of this at once, it's hard for them to know exactly what the cause was. So when you stage it, you get a feel for how successful you can do these things. And then, as you build confidence, then you do more.
"All along, the compliance with what the governor is asking people to do that lowers those numbers makes sure that the next thing comes sooner."
Here is what is still not reopening: