COLUMBUS, Ohio — Retail stores in Ohio are set to begin reopening on Tuesday, with other sectors of the state’s economy to follow. But while most businesses now have guidelines to start back up, many Ohioans are still wondering what their summer will look like.
WCPO viewer Mark Lewandowski is president of the Lakota Sports Organization, a nonprofit serving West Chester and Liberty Township. Lewandowski sent in a question asking if Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration has plans to allow local sporting events to take place this summer as deadlines to begin play are approaching. I asked DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton on Monday if this is a possibility.
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DeWine said he knows how important summer activities are to many Ohioans -- and that he expects his administration to have guidance for people like Lewandowski shortly.
“We know that we’re now in May, and people are planning for the summer,” said DeWine. “These are all very important, and it’s important that young people have something to do during the summer. It’s important that people be able to plan. So I’m looking down at the list of all the different working groups that we have, and we certainly have a group that is working right now on these issues in regard to youth and adult sports. So we hope to have something out fairly shortly as far as guidance.”
DeWine said in his view, the government should simply provide guidance for local organizations on how to operate this summer.
“The government should not be micromanaging this,” said DeWine. “What we’re trying to do is take best practices and give the guidelines, and then people can really take it from there.”
Acton commented as well, emphasizing much of what DeWine’s administration has said in the past -- the state has never dealt with something like this year’s COVID-19 outbreak before, so the most important aspect to her is the ability to make educated decisions.
“The whole world is learning about this together, and one of the reasons we set up these groups is to really try to imagine how we can live in a world pre-vaccine, and learn to live with this virus,” said Acton. “It’s not been done before, there is no exact playbook. So, you know, we’ve really tried to pull together the best experts from all walks of life, and people who are actually running the programs to the best medical and clinical advice that we can get. And so as soon as we learn more we will absolutely share that. It’s important that we make these decisions with as much knowledge as possible.”
As of Monday, there are no official guidelines available from the state for any youth, amateur, college or professional sports to return this year.