Ohio continues to reopen, but some lawmakers want a faster pace


By Todd DeFeo - The Center Square



COLUMBUS — Ohio is continuing to allow more businesses to reopen as part of its Responsible RestartOhio plan, but some lawmakers want a faster pace for the state’s reopening.

Campgrounds may reopen starting May 21, while horse racing may resume without spectators the following day. Non-contact sports leagues, public and club pools and gym and fitness centers may reopen starting May 26.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will also reopen “for certain services” on May 26, while childcare providers may reopen May 31. All venues that reopen must meet safety criteria.

“Our goal is to have the safest child care system in the nation – one that nurtures the health and continued growth and development of our children and one that protects the health and safety of our child care workers and teachers,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release. “Moving forward, child care is going to look different for children, parents, and teachers. But we must get this right, or we run the risk of exposing more people to COVID-19.”

The state plans to use more than $60 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide reopening grants to childcare providers across the Buckeye State.

As of Monday, Ohio reported 28,454 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 1,657 “confirmed and probable” deaths.

Morrow County Health District reported 99 total cases; 76 males and 23 females. Average age is 40.

However, the pace of the state’s reopening is too slow for some lawmakers, prompting state Sens. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, to introduce a bill to immediately end Ohio’s shutdown.

“This has gone on long enough. Ohioans came together to flatten the curve of this pandemic and we did it successfully,” Roegner said in a news release about Senate Bill 311.

Tentative schedule:

• Day camps can also reopen May 31. Ratios will be released on these camps by the end of the day Friday.

• Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices can begin opening on May 26. Online services remain available for vehicle registration, vehicle plate replacement, scheduling driving tests and paying reinstatement fees at oplates.com. There are still extensions on licenses and registrations in effect.

• Campgrounds can open completely on May 21. They’ll have to meet some requirements for campgrounds and campers for cleaning commonly used areas.

• Gyms and fitness centers can reopen May 26. Additional guidance will be available online late Thursday.

• Non-contact or limited-contact sports (golf, softball, tennis, etc.,) can reopen May 26. Information on lacrosse, hockey, soccer, and basketball information will be coming soon. General guidance on other sports will also be available.

• Swimming pools regulated by local health departments can reopen on May 26. The CDC says there’s no evidence the virus spreads in water.

Water parks and amusement parks aren’t included in that opening date.

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By Todd DeFeo

The Center Square