Ohio Gov. DeWine announces first plans to restart economy during coronavirus outbreak

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine outlined a plan to gradually reopen the state's economy, introducing three key dates at the beginning of May that will be milestones for lifting coronavirus restrictions.

The Republican governor, speaking at a press conference on Monday, said on May 1, nonessential surgeries that do not require an overnight hospital stay can proceed, as well as services by dentists and veterinarians.


On May 4, manufacturing, construction, and distribution businesses, as well as general offices, can begin to reopen, but the governor advised that companies should still have their employees work from home if possible.

On May 12, retail stores and consumer services will be allowed to reopen.

Employees and customers on the job will be required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines, he added.

"One cannot overstate the tragedy of this, so we have to get moving -- but at the same time protect Ohioans," DeWine said.

The state has seen 753 deaths due to the coronavirus and is still dealing with 16,325 cases.

The stay-home order will remain in effect but restrictions will be relaxed to allow for workers to go to jobs and consumers to visit retail stores.

Gatherings will still be limited to 10 people or less and the governor advised people continue to stay home when possible.

"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," he said.

DeWine described May as a "critical" month to determining if the slow reopening of some businesses to kickstart the economy will cause a resurgence of new cases of COVID-19.

The governor said he hopes his plan is the "sweet spot" to please Ohioans who are fearful of the virus as well as those who are eager to return to work.

He said the state is ramping up testing to control the spread of the virus and hopes that by the end of May officials are able to conduct 22,275 tests a day.

De Wine also said contact tracing will be a key initiative to containing the virus and estimates an additional 1,750 workers will be needed by June to do so.

Businesses such as beauty salons, barbershops and restaurants were not included in the initial reopening plan.


“We've gotten this far -- but we have a ways to go. These are the first steps. I know there are other things we all want to do -- get a haircut, go to restaurants -- but we have to see how we are doing with COVID-19 first,” he said.