Coronavirus in Ohio: Some businesses to reopen May 1, DeWine says


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he has put together an economic advisory board made up of CEOs from large and small companies across Ohio with a plan to reopen some businesses by May 1.

“I asked them to inform us, to help us, to look at what we need to do to address this economic crisis,” DeWine said. “We’ve got a lot more work to do between now and May 1 because we want to get this right.”

DeWine added the group gave him a verbal report Thursday morning and said the report is a work in progress.

“It’s a plan but the plan’s not done yet,” DeWine said. “During the stay at home time, the companies that were allowed to continue have learned a lot and we’ve seen them put in place some very, very stringent measures. In a sense, this has been a trial period where we can see some of the things that work.”

DeWine said he asked Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to work with all types of Ohio businesses to come up with best practices on how to deal with COVID-19 when the economy reopens.

“What we are seeing is companies that have done quite a job good,” DeWine said.

He said one of those companies is RPM International Inc., whose CEO Frank Sullivan is heading up the advisory board. DeWine gave examples of what RPM has done during the past month to operate during the pandemic:

  • Regular checks of PPE stock, supply and lead items
  • Limit visitors and screen for health upon entry
  • Give clear guidelines on hygiene
  • Instruct on self monitoring for illness
  • Assist employees with alternatives to public transport
  • Enforce six feet of physical distance

“That’s the type of protocol we’re looking to put together as people look to start [getting] back in,” DeWine said. “We’re looking to begin this process on May 1.”

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said there are plenty of things every Ohioan can do to prepare for this reopening phase.

“Not surprisingly, it’s a lot of the things we’ve learned in the first phase,” Dr. Acton said. “It’s the washing of your hands, it’s the coughing [into your elbow] and it will become a new part of our lives just like taking off our shoes to go through an airport.”

She added continuing to wear a mask will be essential.

“Do not underestimate donning your mask and donning your cape,” Dr. Acton said. “I still very much need you to keep doing this and doing it better than ever because we know as we slowly return to activities, it will increase slightly our chance of spreading infection.”

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