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Should Ohio's May 1 reopening date be moved back?

Experts weigh in
Posted at 10:20 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 00:38:31-04

CLEVELAND — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced his comprehensive plan and re-opening guidelines for businesses statewide will finally be announced on April 27.

The coronavirus workplace protocols are still set to be put into action on May 1 as Ohio workers prepare to start getting back on the job.

Dr. Mark Weir, with the Ohio State Infectious Disease Institute, outlined how COVID-19 can spread and be controlled within the workplac. Hhis research will be used to help create state business re-opening guidelines.

But some local health experts are wondering if the May 1 date to start re-opening the state may be too early to minimize the spread of the virus and reduce the potential for another surge and lock down.

Dr. Ash Sehgal, Case Western Reserve University Professor of Medicine, also works with Policy Matters Ohio and said it would be better to see the number of new COVID-19 cases declining for at least two weeks before re-opening the state.

“I think that if we delay our own decision by about three weeks, we could learn a lot about what worked and or what didn’t work in other places,” Sehgal said. “I believe it should be a requirement for employees to wear a mask if they're going to be close to other people. I also believe customers should be urged to wear a mask when in a store."

Greg Lawson, researcher with the Buckeye Institute, said any plan implemented by the state needs to be highly detailed and be put in place as soon as possible, to give businesses the guidance and lead time they'll need to keep the workplace safe for employees and customers.

“What are we going to do to make sure we have retail or office space where you can maintain an appropriate level of distance,” Lawson said. “It’s making sure that employees have confidence that they’ll be safe when they go into work and it’s important for customers that they feel comfortable and be safe. It has to be specific, so that the business isn’t guesstimating and hoping that they’re right and then finding out that the department of health is coming in and saying you’re not doing right. You need something there that is pretty serious and predictable, and transparent for them so that they know that they’re complying."