Here’s what we know so far about Gov. DeWine’s plan to reopen Ohio

Nearly-empty street in downtown Cleveland and protests in front of the Ohio Statehouse in...
Nearly-empty street in downtown Cleveland and protests in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus(Source: AP Images)
Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 12:26 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - During a mid-April press conference, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine set May 1 as the date that coronavirus-related restrictions will gradually begin to lift statewide.

Other than with broad and vague details, the Governor has not yet specifically outlined that state’s strategy for getting the Ohio economy trending upwards.

Gov. DeWine did, however, state on Thursday that he will unveil the plan, based loosely on guidelines established by the White House, during an April 27 briefing from Columbus; only four days prior to the May 1 start date.

The final phase of the president’s three-step approach includes allowing the vulnerable population to resume some public interactions and resume unrestricted staffing at worksites.

“The goal is to open the state slowly, but get as many people back to work with the least health damage,” Gov. DeWine mentioned in the past.


The first step in moving forward, the Governor said, is to reopen Ohio’s hospitals and health care facilities.

Gov. DeWine previously ordered a postponement of all elective medical procedures so nurses and doctors and preserve critical personal protective equipment.

The decision has reportedly cost the state’s hospitals millions of dollars each day, even prompting salary and schedule reductions for thousands of health care workers in Northeast Ohio.

On Wednesday, DeWine scaled back the order to now allow health care providers to resume certain non-essential procedures.

Retail and restaurants

Non-essential businesses and restaurants were forced to close or adapt their services, as part of Gov. DeWine’s initial stay-at-home directives.

He’s now suggesting that certain companies will be able to reopen post-May 1 only if they can follow strict guidelines that will be laid out of Ohio’s leaders.

Social distancing practices and wearing masks will likely be a factor in the criteria.

“People will be wearing masks. People will be wearing gloves,” Gov. DeWine previously remarked. “When we start moving toward retail, we’re going to move retail out again in a situation so people can be safe, the employees can be safe and the customers who come into retail will be able to safe.”

As far as the status of barbershops and beauty salons, the Governor and Dr. Amy Acton indicated that methods are being explored for those types of businesses to open and operate safely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Large gatherings, concerts, sporting events

Gov. DeWine said that entertainment and sporting events where large groups of people attend are a low priority at this time and will not be part of the first openings allowed in Ohio because of the challenges for maintaining social distancing.

The new yet-to-be released guidance will apply to all companies, including those essential businesses that remained open during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would encourage my own family members to go to work under the conditions that we’re going to outline,” Lt. Gov. Husted said.

Department of Health data shows that less than 1% of Ohio’s population has been tested for COVID-19.

Groups of individuals have been arranged into tiers to prioritize the need for testing as capacity expands, which is believd to be one of the key factors for a successful reopening.

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