COLUMBUS, Ohio — While announcing that Hamilton, Butler and five other counties will be under a facial-covering mandate beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said his administration will “cross these other bridges when we come to them” in discussing the possibility of reverting parts of the state back into a stay-at-home order.
During DeWine’s Tuesday COVID-19 press briefing, I asked him whether or not counties would be forced back into a stay-at-home order if cases do not go down.
In reply, DeWine initially spoke about the economy, which he views as the state’s biggest threat at the moment.
“I had an interesting conversation, Ben,” said DeWine. “Actually Jon [Husted] and I both did, with some folks who own restaurants and bars. And one person on the call said it pretty eloquently and that is, if people are scared, they’re not going to come out and eat anyway. So I think the biggest threat to us from an economic point of view is this virus continuing to go up, and that is going to make it very difficult for us to move forward economically. So these two are tied very, very closely together. We thought that this was a surgical, precise approach to go in those counties … where there are real problems going on, and impose the wearing the mask, wearing it in public, wearing it for other people, and we hope that that’s going to have a big impact.”
DeWine went on to say his administration is taking action against the spike of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the state, but he stopped short of mentioning a potential new order.
“We’ll cross these other bridges when we come to them,” said DeWine. “But this is, I think, the most appropriate action to take at this time. We’re seeing a serious situation. We have to take action.”
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted completed the duo’s answer by saying business owners have asked him to help allow them to stay open, since many say they’re doing a good job of helping employees and customers stay safe.
Husted said business owners are asking him to “use every tool in the toolbox to allow us to stay open so that we can have customers, so people will come in and want to do business. Because we understand the balance between the health and economic consequences, and we want people to have jobs.”
DeWine is next set to address the public on Thursday, July 9.