Amusement parks allowed to reopen June 19

Posted at 1:59 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 17:20:51-04

Amusement parks and casinos in Ohio will be allowed to reopen June 19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a Friday news briefing.

Kings Island had announced a lawsuit against Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton the day before, arguing that it unfairly been kept closed while the government arrived at reopening dates for movie theaters, museums and zoos. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Friday the process was delayed only by the need for a set of safe, effective, enforceable standards to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at Kings Island and places like it.

DeWine said he had always intended to reserve the events and businesses that bring the largest numbers of people together for last. Earlier stages of the reopening process, which included retail stores and restaurants, have helped the government decide what to do next when confronting questions such as concerts and amusement parks. So did working groups consisting of health care workers, industry insiders and the owners of specific venues.

"In each one of these cases, they have come up with plans that, in many cases, dramatically reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, in some cases provide for one-way traffic," DeWine said. "They are quite elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public and consistent with allowing Ohioans to go about their summer in the way they’re used to doing that."

He and Husted asked for patience from the owners and patrons of businesses that remain closed as the state works to arrive at guidelines and procedures that will make them safe places to be as the pandemic continues.

“We respect and acknowledge the tremendous challenges that the COVID pandemic has placed on businesses in this nation and in our state,” Husted said.

Ohio's R-nought number — the number of people each person with COVID-9 subsequently infects — lingers below one in the latest state data, according to Acton. Although each round of data gathered by health agencies is slightly out of date by the time it is collected and publicized, an R-nought number of one or less is ideal during the effort to contain the virus.