Ohio had received good reviews for its rapid moves to close schools, initiate Stay at Home and social distancing rules, ban gatherings of 10 or more people and encourage the wearing of face covering the last six weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the country.
Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, head of the Ohio Department of Health, are now under fire as they announce their ResponsibleRestartOhio plan as spread of COVID-19 spread slows just a little bit. The plan has drawn the ire of some Ohioans and Buckeye State legislators.
The ResponsibleRestartOhio plan is not broad enough, they say, and some Ohio politicians are creating legislation to strip Dr. Acton’s ability to make the rules.
So, what’s open around Ohio, and what’s not?
Beginning Friday, May 1: Medical procedures not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established.
Beginning Monday, May 4: Manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. General office environments may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.
Beginning Tuesday, May 12: Consumer, retail and services, may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. The full Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio.
The general safe business practices all businesses must follow as they reopen are:
- Requiring face coverings for all employees, and recommending them for clients and customers at all times
- Conducting daily health assessments or self-evaluations of employees to determine if they should work
- Maintaining good hygiene at all times such as hand washing and social distancing
- Cleaning and sanitizing workplaces throughout the day and at the close of business or between shifts
- Limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines
Lake Erie fishing charter operators must wear face coverings and recommend them to customers and maintaining social distancing standards of 6 feet between everyone on board the boat.
“I have an obligation as governor to get people back to work and keep them safe. Opening everything up at once would not be consistent with the obligation to keep people safe,” said Gov. DeWine.
“Our ResponsibleRestartOhio plan is the best guarantee that Ohioans will feel safe going to stores and employees will feel safe going to work. I’m optimistic about our future, but we can’t be reckless.”
What is still closed around Ohio?
- K-12 schools and childcare services.
- Restaurants and bars.
- Carry-out and delivery services are permitted.
- Personal appearance/beauty services.
- Includes hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, massage therapy locations and similar businesses.
- Older adult day care services and senior centers.
- Adult day support or vocational habilitation services in congregate settings.
- Rooming and boarding houses, and workers’ camps.
- Entertainment/recreation/gymnasium sites.
Includes, but is not limited to all places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, such as: Laser tag facilities, roller skating rinks, ice skating rinks, arcades, indoor miniature golf facilities, bowling alleys, indoor trampoline parks, indoor water parks, arcades, and adult and child skill or chance game facilities remain closed. Gambling industries. Auditoriums, stadiums, arenas. Movie theatres, performance theatres, and concert and music halls Public recreation centers and indoor sports facilities. Parades, fairs, festivals, and carnivals. Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor water parks, children’s play centers, playgrounds, and funplexes. Aquariums, zoos, museums, historical sites, and similar institutions. Country clubs and social clubs. Spectator sports, recreational sports tournaments and organized recreational sports leagues. Health clubs, fitness centers, workout facilities, gyms, and yoga studios. Swimming pools, whether public or private, except swimming pools for single households. Residential and day camps. Campgrounds, including recreational camps and recreational vehicle (RV) parks.
Excludes people living in campground RVs with no other viable place of residence
Excludes people living in cabins, mobile homes, or other fixed structures that are meant for single families and where preexisting residential activity already has been established. (E.g., for people who have part-time pre-established residences at campgrounds for the summer months.)
STAY AT HOME ORDER and LARGE GATHERINGS
Because the danger of COVID-19 still exists, Ohio’s Stay at Home order will remain in effect to encourage Ohioans to continue making reasonable, rational decisions about leaving home.
Although anyone is susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19, those who are 65 or older are encouraged to be especially careful, as are those with high-risk conditions such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised or obese.
Large gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.
There has been an Ohio groundswell of opposition to the closings, or rather, a reluctance to reopening more for people weary of the Stay at Home rules. Most never wore a mask despite the rules, and ignored social distancing and crowd rules.
While Gov. DeWine and Dr. Acton were praised for their early orders, and Ohio fared much better than nearby states like New York, Michigan and Illinois when conserving positives for the virus and deaths, the slow pace of reopening Ohio businesses and factories has been severely criticized, resulting marches on the Ohio Statehouse.
State Rep. John Becker, a Republican from Union Township in Clermont County, just east of Cincinnati, wants lawmakers to support his “Need Ohio Working Now” legislation. Becker wants all of Dr. Acton’s health orders to be advisories, with only legislators having the ability to make mandatory rules.
“(Dr. Acton) can issue all the orders she wants all day long, but they are deemed an advisory under the bill unless the General Assembly declares them mandatory,” Becker told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Saturday.