COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is acknowledging that there are risks to reopening Ohio’s economy following closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he says “it’s really a risk no matter what we do.”
The Republican governor dialed into the economic toll the pandemic has had on businesses during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The economy’s not going to open no matter what we do, whatever we order, unless people have confidence,” he said Sunday. “And we’re trying to give them confidence.”
So, he said, officials are emphasizing that the virus is still out there and “still very, very dangerous,” so people should continue maintaining social distance, wearing masks and washing their hands.
Retail businesses in Ohio will be allowed to reopen Tuesday. Barbershops, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, and other services can start reopening Friday. Construction companies, distributors, manufacturers and offices were allowed to open last week.
DeWine said the state had been “hit very hard” by the crisis with more than a million people applying for unemployment, so “we have to move forward.”
“And we know it’s a risk as we start the economy back open,” he said. “But it’s a risk if you don’t, too ... with, you know, not being able to come back economically.”
“My message to my fellow Ohioans has always been, we can do two things at once, but we can only do them if we’re very, very careful about it,” he said.
DeWine said he is also pushing for more testing as the reopening progresses.
“The testing and tracing is an integral part of what we’re doing,” he said.
The governor said the state will continue to monitor daily hospitalization rates, which are currently “pretty flat.”
The number of confirmed and probable deaths associated with the coronavirus in Ohio reached 1,341, state health officials said Sunday.
At least 1,220 deaths were confirmed by the Ohio Department of Health and another 121 were considered probable under guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The department said more than 22,800 cases had been confirmed and the number of confirmed and probable cases had topped 24,000.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.