Three-phase plan opens medical centers, offices and retail services by May 12
Governor Mike DeWine Announced Responsible Restart Ohio, his three-phase plan to reopen the economy starting May 1.
On a Monday livestream, non-essential hospital, medical and dental procedures that do not require an overnight stay at a hospital will be allowed to go forward. Beginning on May 1, veterinary operations will also be allowed to continue.
Previously, non-essential medical procedures were stopped as a measure to save personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers treating people with COVID-19.
On May 4, manufacturing, distribution and construction workers will be allowed to return to work.
General offices will be allowed to reopen, given they redesign their space to ensure at least six feet of space between employees. Offices, however, are encouraged to have people work from home as much as they can.
On May 12, retail and consumer services will be allowed to reopen. Both employees and consumers will be mandated to wear face coverings.
A reopening timeline was not announced for “non-essential” businesses including daycares, dine-in restaurants, hair salons and gyms.
“I know there are other things that all of us want to do,” DeWine said. “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.”
Sophomore English and communications studies major Max Hull said that Ohio is reopening too soon.
“If the people in the federal government aren’t willing to reopen their offices, we shouldn’t have to go back to work,” Hull said. “People with asthma, like me, are at an even greater risk.”
He went on to say that he is worried he will not be safe when he is able to find work.
Despite businesses opening up, the stay-at-home order will remain in place.
Although it will be modified to allow employees of reopened businesses to go to work and retail locations to reopen, Ohioans will still not be permitted to form gatherings of more than ten people for the foreseeable future.
DeWine also spoke about what needs to be in place in order to reopen the state.
“We needed to ramp up testing dramatically and to at the same time do the tracing,” DeWine said.
He went on to say that the state was allowed to partner with health care manufacturer Thermo Fisher and the manufacturer’s alliance to make more tests for Ohioans.
The governor stated his intention to increase the scale at which the health departments can track infected individuals. DeWine plans to assemble intermittent volunteers until a workforce of around 1,750 locally hired and state workers is assembled.
The governor’s livestream also discussed the COVID-19 business and personal protocols that are in place for the reopening of the economy.
Most are mandated under health and safety laws and some are best practices mandated for businesses to follow.
Businesses will be required to have face masks for their employees, conduct daily health self-assessments and maintain good hygiene and social distancing, as well as sanitize workplaces throughout and at the close of the workday.
The maximum number of people allowed in a certain workspace will be half of the fire code.
The livestream also gave actions to take when a COVID-19 infection is identified.
Employees or consumers testing positive will be reported to the health department so that people who potentially came in contact with them can be identified and tested. The shop floor will also be shut down if possible.