COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the state will operate under the Stay Safe Ohio order through May 29.
DeWine, Acton and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted stressed the change in name from a stay-at-home order signifies a new stage for the state where Ohioans are no longer only being encouraged to stay home, but rather are being advised how they should be when they have to be out and about.
“I don’t think there’s much new in here or many new surprises,” DeWine said in Friday’s press conference. “It doesn’t mean the virus has gone away, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to exercise good judgement, it doesn’t mean the basic principals we’ve been talking about still don’t apply — they very much still apply.”
Though the expiration date is set for 11:59 p.m. May 29, DeWine noted that several things will be changing throughout the month.
“You should not read too much into (the date),” he said. “The order itself will be superseded as we issue new orders throughout the month — we just had to put a date on it.”
One of the largest changes, Husted noted, is the removal of businesses being deemed essential or non-essential.
“It’s worth emphasizing that in this order, most of the economy has opened up, with safety standards in place,” Husted said. “What’s gone is the word ‘essential’ — We no longer use the words ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential.’ That’s gone from this conversation.”
Effective Friday, all health procedures not requiring an overnight stay in the hospital were granted access to move forward. On Monday, manufacturing, distribution, construction and general offices were able to open, but must require face coverings, conduct daily health assessments, maintain good hygiene, sanitize and limit capacity to 50% of fire code.
The plan states that on May 12, consumer and retail services will be able to open. In the meantime, those who are able can now do business by setting appointments or offering curbside service.
The reopening of restaurants for dining in, daycares, salons, travel and tourism and other leisure activities are still being discussed and more information will likely be available next week.
Pushback was almost immediate.
Ohio Rep. Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance, District 82) issued a statement expressing his disappointment in “what seems like a complete lack of trust in Ohioans.”
“We have shown general good will and respect towards our friends and neighbors, but this extension of the Stay Safe order goes beyond reason. … Extending the Stay Safe order until May 29th feels like an affront to our intelligence at this point,” Riedel stated.
Ohio Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon, District 1) issued a statement that similarly questioned DeWine’s actions.
“Instead of trusting us, the Governor’s order keeps the heavy hand of government over free people and continues to micromanage our lives for another month,” McColley stated. McColley further urged his legislative colleagues to craft legislation that would rescind DeWine’s stay-at-home order.
“People all over our state have already had their sense of security shattered as a result of this pandemic and now we have had our sense of hope diminished by this recent heavy-handed approach. This combination will have a lasting impact on our ability to restore our economy and the communities it supports,” McColley stated.