Dewine press conference

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during a recent press conference on COVID-19. (File photo)

COLUMBUS -- Facial coverings for employees and customers will be required as Ohio begins to partially re-open the state's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday.

"Ohioans have stepped up, and candidly, where we are today, where we can start coming back, move the economy, get people back to work, where we are is because of what you have done," the governor said.

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The key aspect of the plan, according to the governor is, "no mask, no work, no service, no exception." One of the five protocols for all businesses requires face coverings for employees/customers at all times.

The announcement came five weeks after DeWine issued a stay-at-home order and comes amid pressure for the governor to re-open the state's battered economy as the state's jobless rate approaches the 1 million mark.

Companies re-opening, and those essential business already open, will also be required to conduct daily health checks of employees, ensure social distancing and sanitize workplaces regularly.

"We know that the businesses permitted to re-open can meet the protocols," Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. "The more we do the things that stomp down COVID-19, the faster the next phase is coming."

DeWine revealed details on the dates for re-opening segments of the economy during May, even as the state ramps up COVID-19 testing and tracing capabilities of public health departments.

"We're set for May to be a very good month as we move forward," DeWine said. "Coronavirus is still here. It's just as dangerous as it ever has been.

"It is still living among us. It's still searching ... searching for bodies.

Beginning on Friday, elective medical procedures and surgeries, which were ordered halted on March 17 to preserve hospital bed space and personal protective equipment, can resume at health care facilities around the state. Dental offices and veterinarians can also resume normal operations on Friday.

Distribution centers, manufacturers, construction companies and general office settings may re-open on Monday, the governor said. DeWine said consumer, retail and service businesses may re-open on May 12.

DeWine said gatherings of more than 10 people will still be forbidden and events that attract crowds, such as sporting events and theaters, remain closed.

The governor said no re-open date has been set for dine-in restaurants, hair salons, gyms and daycare centers. The Ohio Restaurant Association has reported more than 300,000 employees have lost jobs and half of Ohio's restaurants have closed.

"I know there are other things we all want to do -- get a haircut, go to restaurants -- but we have to see how we are doing first," DeWine said. "It's very hard to control the environments in daycare centers. I understand what parents are going through, but we have to start with what is easiest to control.

"As long as we aren't seeing numbers that are not terribly alarming, we'll be able to move down that pathway. We are losing Ohioans every week -- and that will probably continue -- but what we don't want to see is a big spike," DeWine said. "With any decision, there is a risk. What we did today is a risk. Doing nothing is a risk."

The Ohio Department of Health reported Monday that COVID-19 deaths (confirmed and probable) were at 753, up 25 from Sunday. DeWine said the five-day trend in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths were all headed in the right direction.

"We're not going down, but we're moving in the right direction," he said.

Richland County

Today's Richland County update was provided by Reed Richmond at Richland Public Health.

As of 4/27/2020 (3:00 PM) – Richland County date from Richland Public Health. Ohio data from ODH. For others we are using John Hopkins or WorldOMeters data.

Richland County has 75 confirmed cumulative positive COVID-19 cases with 3 probable cases. There are 22 cumulative hospitalizations and one (1) death. 33 people on the cumulative list have recovered. Ages range from 10 to 89, with the average being 46 years old.

OHIO has 16,325 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases with 753 deaths. There are or have been 3,232 individuals hospitalized in Ohio with 978 ICU admissions.

U.S. has 995,288 COVID-19 cases in all 50 states and 5 jurisdictions with 56,139 deaths.

5,578,824 individuals in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19, including 115,783 in Ohio.

Global cases: 3,029,761 million cases in 213 countries/regions and 2 cruise ships.

Global deaths: 209,244.

Active Cases: 1,920,183 positive cases, of which 97% are “mild” condition.

900,334 persons have recovered from COVID-19 including 122,675 in the U.S.

Timeline:

January 21: First case in the United States is reported in Washington state.

March 19: Richland County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus.

March 20: Ohio has its first death due to coronavirus.

March 22: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issues a “Shelter at Home” order.

April 2: Confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide exceed one million cases.

April 8: Richland County has its first death from COVID-19

April 10: Deaths from COVID-19 worldwide exceed 100,000.

April 11: U.S. takes the world lead in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

April 27: Governor Mike DeWine announces plans for gradual reopening of business in Ohio, starting May 1. Requires five protocols for all businesses and cooperation from clients. Governor emphasizes that “Shelter-in-place” still remains in play.

PREVENTION

Use personal prevention protection methods at all times, at home, work, or elsewhere:

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Sanitize commonly-touched surfaces and objects.

Keep six feet distance from others.

Wear a cloth mask for extra protection when you have to go out in public.

Stay home when you are sick.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"