COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio moves closer to gradually reopening parts of the state’s economy, WCPO has received reports of some Ohioans relaxing their compliance with social distancing guidelines. With a number of viewers concerned about this, on Wednesday we decided I’d ask Gov. Mike DeWine about what Ohioans who are taking safety guidelines seriously should do if they see violations.
Gov. DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted all replied to my question in terms of the importance of maintaining social distancing while the state begins to reopen, but none of them replied directly about what Ohioans should do if they see others in violation. Due to time restrictions I was unable to ask a follow-up question, but I plan on asking for a more thorough answer at Thursday’s press briefing.
Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DeWine answered today’s question first -- by emphasizing much of what he’s said in previous weeks: COVID-19 is still very much in Ohio, and Ohioans must still be cautious even as the state’s economy begins to reopen.
“As we start back and get jobs opening up, which is what everybody wants -- at the same time, we can’t be foolish,” said DeWine. “We can’t lose our discipline about the social distancing, and we’ve got to be careful. There’s a reason we did not really change the stay-at-home order. There’s a reason we did not change the number of people that can gather together … And that was a signal, we hope, to people across the state of Ohio that they have to continue to be careful.”
Acton offered her own insight as well -- mentioning a “sweet spot,” where businesses can return to work while keeping their employees and customers safe.
“I think a good way to think about this is an ever-expanding essentialness to our lives. We are trying to expand out and regain the things that make our lives whole,” said Acton.” And so by going in this very measured way, in partnership with all sectors, we’re going to keep finding those sweet spots … It does take perseverance, it takes a certain amount of patience, but if we do it well, we’ll get there faster, and we’ll do it better and we’ll save more people in the process.”
Husted then topped off the team’s responses to today’s question by comparing the state’s fight against COVID-19 to his background in team sports -- reminding Ohioans that we each play a vital role in the fight against the outbreak.
“Every day I get calls, ‘when is this going to be over?’ And I keep reminding folks, it’s going to be over when we defeat it. Which means isolating it and not spreading it, because that’s the only way you kill it,” said Husted. “It’s a team game. It literally is. Everybody has to do their role for the team to win, and I think the ‘win’ means getting this behind us and moving. And so the more we do this the faster we get through it.”
As of Wednesday there is no end date set for Ohio’s stay-at-home order. Be sure to check WCPO.com tomorrow for a more thorough update to today’s question.