On Thursday, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Buckeye State will reopen for business starting May 1, when the governor's stay-at-home order is set to expire. The governor said his administration is currently working on guidelines to allow employees to safely return to work at the beginning of next month.
A task force charged with reopening the state is working on safeguards to protect Ohioans as they return to their job sites. The plan will reportedly include measures such as monitoring employee temperatures, requiring employees to wear face masks, disinfecting surfaces and other protective steps.
"The world that we’re going to see is a different world," Gov. DeWine cautioned during his Thursday press briefing. "Barriers, distancing, all the things we have talked so much about. The workplace is going to change."
While the governor is allowing employees to return to work, DeWine said it was still too early to allow social gatherings or make an official decision regarding schools and when they might reopen, but the governor did say he expects to make an announcement about schools sometime in the next week.
The Ohio Department of Health said on Thursday that 388 people in Ohio have reportedly died from the coronavirus, including 16 probable deaths that have yet to be officially determined. There are at least 8,414 reported infections, but the state's curve has successfully flattened. Meanwhile, some 855,000 people in the state have since filed for unemployment benefits.
"I will fight just as hard to bring this economy back ... as I have to fight to save lives of Ohioans," DeWine said. "That is our commitment to you."
The governor urged those with underlying conditions and elderly Ohioans to exercise caution after official restrictions are lifted throughout the state. He also asked younger Ohioans to be responsible by not spreading the disease to others in the community.
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers extended his stay-at-home order till May 26 while loosening restrictions regarding businesses in the state. Seven midwest governors also announced their intention to begin coordinating plans to reopen their states, including Gov. Whitmer (D-MI), who has faced backlash after extending her stay-at-home order and imposing additional restrictions on stores throughout Michigan.
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