COLUMBUS, Ohio —
DeWine announced Friday that on June 19, a number of other businesses could reopen under health and safety guidelines. Those include:
- Amusement parks
- Water parks
According to DeWine, these sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation and, in some cases, provide for one-way traffic. These are elaborate plans that he believes are consistent with protecting the public.
DeWine said that as long as a plan is filed and social distancing is properly followed, he is "optimistic" that all golf tournaments can take place.
His team received safety plans for the Memorial Golf Tournament to be held July 13-19. This plan has been approved.
When asked if the LPGA Marathon Classic could still take place at Highland Meadows, DeWine said that as long as those safety measures are in place, he expects that tournaments can have fans. However, an action plan should be filed and observed.
The Marathon Classic tournament is scheduled for July 20-26 in Sylvania.
Earlier in this spring, the LPGA stop in northwest Ohio for the Marathon Classic was delayed due coronavirus concerns.
There are still a few categories of businesses that have not yet reopened, but DeWine said his team is working on them, and they will reopen soon.
The state's Responsible Restart Ohio plan is in phases, DeWine said, because leaders wanted to make each business, activity and venue as safe as possible.
DeWine addressed Ohioans who have been critical of his reopening plan, and believe the state should reopen with no guidance or rules, saying to do so would be reckless.
"That makes absolutely no sense in the midst of this pandemic. With coronavirus still as contagious as it has ever been, to do that would be irresponsible and an abandonment of the duties I have as your governor," he said.
Universities in the fall
This week, DeWine spoke with a number university/college presidents about plans to return to class in the fall. He said he would continue to work with them and serve as a resource in regard to testing and other efforts to help protect the health of students, faculty and employees.
In an effort to ramp up COVID-19 testing in Ohio, the state has expanded testing priorities to ensure more people can receive tests.
Previously, the focus was on first responders and healthcare workers. Now, health professionals can test anyone with symptoms.
This week, state leaders have been actively reaching out to retailers in Ohio to strengthen testing partnerships. DeWine said he spoke with executives from CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Walgreens and Kroger about the importance of testing.
With expanded testing criteria, these partnerships with retailers and community health centers are more important than ever, DeWine said.
By going to http://coronavirus.ohio.gov, Ohioans can click on “Testing and Community Health Centers” at the top of the page. There, residents can find a list of locations to get a test. There are more than 40 retail testing locations across Ohio, with more to come.
The testing site map also includes a list of Community Health Centers also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers. These centers are places where people who may not have a primary care provider can call to get more information about where to get tested.
The National Guard has helped ramp up testing in Ohio's nursing homes, as long-term care facilities have been hit especially hard by the virus.
Guardsmen test 100% of the staff, and select residents. There are 12 teams that go in and collect the specimens. Generally, guardsmen are escorted by staff members to make sure residents feel comfortable.
When specimens are collected, they are sealed up and sent to laboratories. Once that facility receives the results, the aftercare team goes to that facility to help them determine the best steps moving forward and help give them the tools to successfully complete that process. For example, if a facility loses staff due to a number of positive tests, the aftercare team will help bolster staffing.
Major Jessica Taylor is coordinating this effort. She is a nurse herself, and worked six years at the University of Toledo.
Removal of National Guardsman from D.C.
DeWine addressed the removal of an Ohio National Guardsman who had been sent to help in D.C. during the ongoing protests against racial injustice following the officer-involved death of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
This guardsman reportedly made a number of racist comments online prior to this mission. DeWine said that while he supports everyone's right to free speech, the National Guard is sworn to protect everyone, no matter their background.
"Anyone who displays malice toward a specific group of Americans has no place in the National Guard," DeWine said.
This individual has been suspended from all missions immediately. DeWine said that the FBI is investigating.
Following this process, DeWine said that is very likely this individual will be removed.
In light of this incident, DeWine has directed Major General John C. Harris, Jr. to work with public safety director Tom Stickrath to set up a procedure to prevent instances like this from happening in the future.
"We must constantly be vigilant, and we will be," DeWine said.
As protests continue across the country, DeWine said he is committed to making tangible changes in police oversight, accreditation, training and accountability.
He said the goal is to improve the professionalism of the profession and to make it a community that does not show any problems with police conduct.
DeWine said the members of the police force that he knows are wonderful individuals, but he knows that sometimes there are individuals that slip in and we have to be vigilant to combat this.
He said specific reforms will be discussed with the General Assembly.
Friday's conference came after the governor canceled Thursday's scheduled presser out of respect for the George Floyd memorial, which took place at the same time. DeWine instead called for a moment of silence.
Despite the lack of his usual press conference, DeWine did announce a date for another sector to reopen. On June 10, the following entertainment venues will be able to open under a number of health and safety guidelines:
- Art galleries
- Country clubs
- Ice skating rinks
- Indoor family entertainment centers
- Indoor sports facilities
- Laser tag facilities
- Movie theaters (indoor)
- Playgrounds (outdoor)
- Public recreation centers
- Roller skating rinks
- Social clubs
- Trampoline parks
Health orders will be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov when available, the governor's news release said.
We will continue to keep you updated.
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