On Monday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced how the state will begin the process of reopening its economy in the coming weeks.
But while retail will be among the industries allowed to reopen on May 12, it won't be "back to business" as totally usual, as employees and customers alike will be required to wear masks or face coverings in places of business as the state continues to battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While wearing masks and facial coverings had previously been encouraged by both Ohio and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mandate is among the precautions the state is taking while reopening its economy. Lt. Governor Jon Husted said that recommendation came from the state's business task force in an effort to instill confidence among consumers who may be venturing out to stores in the near future.
While people won't be required to wear masks while walking down the street, it is encouraged, according to DeWine.
On Monday, DeWine announced the following businesses will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks:
- A healthcare opening allowing all medical procedures that don't require an overnight hospital stay, beginning on May 1. Nonessential medical procedures have been prohibited in Ohio since March 17.
- Dentists and veterinarians will also be allowed to reopen on May 1.
- Manufacturing, distribution and construction will be allowed to resume on Monday, May 4. All employees and clients will be required to follow safety practices, including wearing masks, conducting daily health assessments and a limited capacity of 50 percent of the businesses' fire code.
- General office buildings will be allowed to reopen on May 4. Companies are asked to have employees still work from home as much as possible.
- Consumer retail and services will be allowed to reopen on May 12. All employees and customers will be required to wear facial coverings.
Meanwhile, gyms, restaurants, salons and daycare centers will remain closed until further notice.
While the state's current stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 1, DeWine also announced that it will officially remain in place. Additionally, gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited.
As of Monday, Ohio has had 16,325 positive coronavirus cases, including 3,232 hospitalizations, 978 ICU admissions and 753 deaths. Dating back to the discovery of Ohio's first positive coronavirus case on March 9, DeWine has put a number of measures in place to encourage physical distancing, including a stay-at-home order since March 23.