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DeWine Offers More on Reopening Plan, Says Decision on Schools Will be Announced in the Coming Week

a screen capture of Mike DeWine
At Friday's briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine wore an Akron Rubber Ducks tie. The Rubber Ducks home opener will be held virtually tonight with the Governor throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. People can find it on the Rubber Ducks YouTube channel.

On April 17, 1964, Columbus native Jerrie Mock became the first female aviator to circle the globe in her plane, the "Spirit of Columbus."  To kick off his Friday coronavirus update, Gov. Mike DeWine presented Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton with the 2020 Spirit of Columbus Award.

He quickly moved on to the matter of reopening Ohio in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, though the governor still did not yet have many specific details to offer.

“We’re trying to get Ohioans back to work, at the same time, we’re trying to protect Ohioans,” DeWine said.

DeWine said the “virus will remain out there,” so the basic goals of reopening businesses will be to protect both employees and customers.

“That’s it,” DeWine said. “Everything kind of flows from there.”

More details about businesses reopening will be laid out next week , the governor said Friday. But he said the public should expect businesses to be operating under a variety of different rules, including the enforcement of 6-foot distancing rule, employees wearing masks, staggered arrival times and lunch times for employees.

Employees who can work from home, will continue to work from home, he said. And those who do come in to work might have their temperatures checked and will be sent home if he or she shows any symptoms of illness.

a photo of Jon Husted
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted shared a diagram with three main concerns that they're keeping in mind as they prepare to reopen Ohio businesses.

As of Friday afternoon there are 9,107 cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, Acton reported, with 2,424 hospitalizations and 418 deaths.

Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are coordinating their plans to reopen, said DeWine, who is communicating regularly with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R ) and Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashear (D).

“Gov. Holcomb, Gov. Bashear and I talk a lot,” said DeWine. “This is a group where we’re kind of comparing notes, and our departments our comparing notes as we go forward.”

DeWine said his administration is also in a group of Great Lake states that “have a lot in common.” But he emphasized that, ultimately, Ohio’s plan is going to be “by Ohioans for Ohioans, because we need to recognize the uniqueness of Ohio.”

Gov. DeWine said he will announce early next week whether the state will reopen public schools once the current stay-at-home order ends May 1. When asked about the concerns of parents, DeWine pointed out he and his wife, Fran, have eight children and 24 grandchildren. "We get it," he said. "We understand."