COLUMBUS —Ohio Governor Mike DeWine began Monday’s news conference by observing a moment of silence in honor of the students killed during the Kent State shooting, which happened May 4, 1970, 50 years ago to the date. DeWine stated he ordered the flags at the statehouse and all state buildings go to half-mast at 12:24 p.m., where they were to remain for the rest of the day.
DeWine spoke about the different working groups that have been put together to focus on how Ohio will restart different businesses. DeWine stated that progress was being made with the development of restaurant protocol for that particular group. “Within the next several days, we will be unrolling that protocol, and at the same time, we will announce the date when restaurants can resume back in,” said DeWine. “I know people are anxious about that and we will be doing that in the next several days.”
DeWine stated it was important to note that each one of the groups exploring these protocols were comprised of people from that industry.
In regards to Ohio beginning to reopen, DeWine stated that manufacturing, construction and distribution offices that were not already open were opening as of Monday, and stated that all retail would be permitted to open by May 12.
DeWine reminded that retail locations that could utilize curbside pick up and appointments for shopping were already permitted to do so.
“As we start this new phase, the emphasis is on how,” stated DeWine. “Making sure as we go back we do that on as safe a way as possible, and for that we’re relying on the people that do the work every single way and know how to run a restaurant for example or know-how a barbershop runs. We’re really relying on them to set the standards so that we can ensure people when they go back that they are as safe as they can be.”
DeWine stated data have been requested showing the 21-day trend for COVID-19 and stated while numbers are not where they would like them to be, Ohio is headed in the right direction.
“As we reopen today, we’re going to keep an eye on these numbers,” stated DeWine.
DeWine stated that the May 4 date would be an important date in the future when looking back to compare how reopening has affected future numbers.
DeWine stressed moving forward that it is up to each individual to remain cautious and following basic distancing protocols.
“A lot of things are happening as we reopen, but this is really up to you,” said DeWine.
DeWine stated that he doesn’t normally comment on demonstrators because he has great respect for their constitutional right, but addressed those he felt was doing so disrespectfully.
“It’s not fair game to disrespect the news media, to be obnoxious to the news media. That’s not fair. You should come after me,” said DeWine. “Don’t go after people who are exercising their First Amendment rights that we value so very much. Reporters, photographers that are doing nothing more than informing the public.”
DeWine stated that he found treating the media with disrespect and not following social distancing with these individuals to be very sad.
DeWine also stated that he was the elected official and ran for office, and was the one to make policy decisions. “The members of my cabinet, Dr. Acton included, work exceedingly hard. But I set the policy. So when you don’t like the policy, again, demonstrate against me that is certainly fair game,” said DeWine. “But to bother the family of Dr. Acton, I don’t think that’s fair game. I don’t think it’s right, I don’t think it’s necessary to get your point across,” said DeWine.
On the subject of expanded testing, DeWine stated that thanks to the partnerships of Ohio manufacturers, testing within the next week will reach about 22,000 per day. DeWine said this expanding testing is necessary moving forward to keep a close eye on COVID-19 cases and keep those working among the front lines safe while controlling spread.
The Ohio Department of Health Monday showed 19, 609 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 865 probable cases. The data showed 3,809 hospitalizations and 1,090 ICU admissions from the Coronavirus, with 1,056 total deaths.
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