Mike DeWine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (Richland Source file photo)

MANSFIELD -- Usage of masks by Ohio residents will be "strongly recommended," but not mandatory as the state begins to re-open the economy.

Gov. Mike DeWine, who used the words "mandatory" and "required" during a Monday press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, changed his verbiage on Tuesday.

The Ohio Department of Health has also updated graphics on its website to reflect the change in the #ResponsibleRestartOhio plan.

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"In the last 24 hours, it is clear the mandatory mask requirement for people who are shopping, going into retail businesses, is offensive to some of our fellow Ohioans," the governor said.

DeWine said he remains committed to listening to residents.

"There is a wise old saying, 'None of us are as smart as all of us,'" the governor said.

However, DeWine said, it's in the best interest of Ohioans to wear a mask in retail settings and offices and that doing so reflects "best practices" in response to the coronavirus.

"This gives added protection to others. When you wear a mask, you are protecting those around you from possibly getting sick," the governor said. "When I go out in public, I wear a mask. And I have recommended my family members (wear masks)."

DeWine also discussed a call he received from the mother of an autistic child on Monday evening. She related to him how her child sees and feels things and said requiring him to wear a mask would be difficult.

"As governor, it is my responsibility to make the tough decisions. But it is also my responsibility to listen and hear and be respectful of the thoughts and ideas of Ohioans," he said. "This will come down to individual decisions. Each of us will have to assess what the situation is for us."

DeWine also said businesses that can work remotely should continue to do so. Businesses have the right to refuse customers who decline to wear a mask.

The governor said he remains concerned for the most at-risk residents. He said 92 percent of Ohio's COVID-19 deaths are among those 60 or older and that residents 80 and older make up half of the deaths.

DeWine also said, in consultation with state lawmakers. he is forming a business panel to begin discussing re-opening of other businesses, such as restaurants and hair salons. No date has been set for when those type businesses can re-open.

State medical director Dr. Amy Acton reported the state's five-day trends remain "relatively flat" in terms of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

RICHLAND COUNTY

Richland County date from Richland Public Health. Ohio data from ODH. For others we are using John Hopkins or WorldOMeters data.

Richland County has 79 confirmed cumulative positive COVID-19 cases with 3 probable cases. There are 23 cumulative hospitalizations and one (1) death. 42 people on the cumulative list have recovered. Ages range from 10 to 89, with the average being 46 years old.

OHIO has 16,769 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases with 799 deaths. There are or have been 3,340 individuals hospitalized in Ohio with 1,004 ICU admissions.

U.S. has 1,022,259 COVID-19 cases in all 50 states and 5 jurisdictions with 57,862 deaths.

5,782,087 individuals in the U.S. have been tested for COVID-19, including 119,391 in Ohio.

Global cases: 3,105,574 million cases in 213 countries/regions and 2 cruise ships.

Global deaths: 214,432.

Active Cases: 1,946,553 positive cases, of which 97% are “mild” condition.

944,589 persons have recovered from COVID-19 including 139,927 in the U.S.

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?"