Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Thursday that the state will begin to re-open on May 1, the same day its stay-at-home order prompted by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to expire.
In his daily press briefing, DeWine affirmed the importance of restarting Ohio’s economy to recreate the jobs lost in recent weeks. He also said the state is still forming guidelines for companies that enable their employees to return safely.
“We must get this right. If we do not do this right, the consequences are horrendous,” said the governor. “The world that we’re going to see is a different world.”
“Barriers, distancing, all the things we have talked so much about. The workplace is going to change,” he added.
However, DeWine acknowledged that it will be difficult to say when mass gatherings will take place again.
“The thought of kids wouldn’t be able to take their lambs to show is, I think that’s just horrible,” he stated. “It’s something we all have to work through… They’re challenging. That doesn’t mean they can’t be done.”
“I will fight just as hard to bring this economy back.. as I have to fight to save lives of Ohioans,” he added. “That is our commitment to you.”
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton joined DeWine in expressing optimism about reopening the state.
“Our commitment to you remains very very strong,” said Acton. “We’re fighting every day for your lives and your well-being and your livelihood as well. We know that health is so much more than whether you get sick or not… This has been a very, very trying time for all Ohioans.”
DeWine’s announcement comes as some Ohioans have taken to protesting the stay-at-home order, demanding that they be able to return to work. At least 855,000 residents have applied for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began.
As of Thursday, there are 8,414 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio and 389 deaths, according to data tracked by the Ohio Department of Health.