Governor DeWine looks to reopen Ohio amid COVID-19


On April 16, 2020, Governor DeWine began outlining his expectations for how Ohio may begin to allow nonessential businesses to resume operating when the current stay at home order expires on May 1. Governor DeWine stated he is optimistic that things can slowly reopen after May 1, but he and his team will continue to monitor the data and determine the safest date. The governor and his team have been working with a group of economic advisors, composed of currently-operating businesses, learning best practices for a safe workplace. He said that prior to lifting or easing the order, the administration will develop those guidelines and best practices so Ohio businesses can reopen and be safe for employees and customers. The governor also said that the state won’t risk having another large spike of COVID-19 cases. On April 15, 2020, Governor DeWine mentioned that he has requested the Ohio Hospital Association to work on protocols to allow some elective surgeries to begin again while keeping in mind the need of PPE for medical professionals caring for COVID-19 patients.  

Governor DeWine stressed that until more testing or a vaccine is available, business will not resume as normal and heightened safety protocols will remain in place for the foreseeable future. He also said the state will monitor testing and where the state is on the infection rate curve.

Ohio’s economic recovery is currently a large topic of discussion at the Statehouse. Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted began the conversation about what Ohio’s economic recovery may look like in the months to come, and the Governor convened a recovery task force that is being organized by the Lt. Governor and consists of the following members:

  • Patrick Bowe, President and CEO, The Andersons, Inc.
  • Mike Brooks, Chairman, Rocky Boots
  • Brian Burgett, President, Kokosing Construction Company
  • Toby Cosgrove, Executive Advisor, Cleveland Clinic
  • Sam Covelli, Chief Executive Officer, Covelli Enterprises
  • Paul Dolan, Owner, Cleveland Indians
  • Jacqueline Gamblin, Founder and CEO, JYG Innovations
  • Mike Hennigan, President and CEO, Marathon Petroleum Corporation
  • Steven Johnston, President and CEO, Cincinnati Financial Corporation
  • Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
  • Kelly Moore, Owner, GKP Auto Parts
  • Loretta Mester, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Dan Pritchard, President and CEO, A.J. Rose Manufacturing Company
  • Dwight Smith, Chairman and CEO, Sophisticated Systems
  • Frank Sullivan, Chairman and CEO, RPM International
  • Mark Smucker, President and CEO, The J.M. Smucker Company
  • David Taylor, Chairman, President and CEO, Procter and Gamble
  • Vanessa Whiting, President, A.E.S. Management Group

In addition, the Ohio House convened the House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force, which has met electronically several times. (The public can watch the hearings through the Ohio House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force.) The task force is hosting hearings featuring health care workers and various businesses and trade associations to discuss what they think should happen through the re-opening and recovery efforts. The task force is asking for business perspectives to be submitted through

The states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin announced that they entered into a multi-state agreement to coordinate reopening nonessential businesses. A press release said the governors of those states will closely examine four factors when determining when to reopen the Midwestern economy:

1. sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations

2. enhanced ability to test and trace

3. sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence

4. best practices for social distancing in the workplace

We will continue to monitor and provide updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 and share information, as needed. Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, as well as our specific COVID-19 Government Affairs Resource page.

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