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What the gradual reopening of Ohio will look like

Virus Outbreak Texas
Posted at 10:13 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 23:27:20-04

CLEVELAND — The quiet Friday night in downtown Cleveland is indicative of life under Ohio's stay at home order. As far as things stand Friday, the order is set to end on May 1, but recent talk about reopening the state has people wondering what the roll out will look like.

Dr. Amy Acton said it will be a slow start.

"We are not going back to six months ago," Acton said. "That that's not the reality we all face."

As director of the Ohio Department of Health, Acton has been one of the major players in decisions made for Ohioans during the COVID-19 crisis.

The stay at home order started on March 23. It was originally set to last two weeks but at the beginning of April it was extended to the first day of May. Acton warned if leaders learn more about COVID-19, the stay at home order could stay in place despite the recent conversations.

"That's why we're not saying we're going to do this exact thing yet, because even in two weeks we have to keep watching what happens," she said.

If the stay at home order does end, Acton said it will take the entire state to make sure things go smoothly.

"We're all working together to inch our way forward through this new road that we'll all be traveling together," she said Friday afternoon during the daily press conference.

During the stay at home order, businesses across the state have closed. If they are deemed essential, day-to-day operations have shifted including essential businesses like grocery stores.

Starting April 19, the Giant Eagle in Garfield Heights will be a carry-out only operation. The company said it could be something that stays in place even after the order lifts.

"I think it'll be really interesting to see how our customers continue to utilize our curbside pickup and delivery services for the next few weeks and months," said Jannah Jablonowski, a spokesperson for Giant Eagle.

The inside of the suburban grocer will not be open to customers and all orders must be paid for online before pick-up, Jabalonowski said. For the regional company, the pandemic could have a lasting impact on how they do business for their customers.

"People really do have time to change their patterns and change their behaviors that I don't think we've seen as an industry before," she said.

During the stay at home order, Giant Eagle also installed plastic partitions and changed checkout procedure. Jabalonowski said these changes could also stay in place long-term.