With Ohio's outlook having improved in recent weeks, the next natural question in the state's fight with the coronavirus (COVID-19) is when will its economy be reopening. On Thursday Ohio Governor Mike DeWine provided the most thorough answer yet, saying that the state is planning to begin the process of reopening on May 1.
Quoting Winston Churchill, DeWine said that Ohio is currently at the "end of the beginning" of its fight. And while he also admitted that the coronavirus will remain present until a vaccine is found, he said the reality remains that the state can't ignore the economic hardships the virus has caused.
"We have a plan that we're putting together," DeWine said. "We have a plan to start Ohio back. And we're going to start doing that, implementing that plan on May 1. It's going to be gradual. It's going to be a rolling out one thing after another so that we can do it.
"We're excited about being able to do it. So May 1 is the date. It's not that we're reopening the state, in that sense. But we want to do it in a way that engenders confidence in the people of the state of Ohio."
While details on how the process will play out remain scarce, DeWine said that any business reopening will have to provide a safe environment for employees and customers. While Ohio has had a stay-at-home order in place since March 23, DeWine says the state has learned a lot from the essential businesses that have remained open.
The state will also continue to monitor its hospital admissions, as well as available personal protective equipment and could adjust its plans accordingly. Additionally, DeWine said the state will continue taking precautions protecting the most vulnerable Ohioans, including seniors and those with pre-existing and chronic health conditions.
As for how Ohio's rollout will occur and whether or not it will include the state's schools, DeWine said he'll share more details in the days to come.
As of Thursday, Ohio has had 8,414 confirmed coronavirus cases, 2,331 of which have resulted in hospitalization, 707 ICU admissions and 388 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 in place, including a stay-at-home order that is currently in effect until May 1.