Ohio's stay-at-home order has been extended for another four weeks until May 29 by state health director Dr. Amy Acton. The previous stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus was scheduled to expire at midnight on Friday.
"The sacrifices and incredible efforts that Ohioans have undertaken, made it possible to begin to lift the mandatory requirements and restrictions that were needed during the initial phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic," the order reads.
The extended order comes hours before some of the first steps are taken to resume operations around the state. On Friday, hospitals are allowed to once again perform non-essential surgeries that don’t require an overnight stay or excessive personal protective equipment.
Also on Friday, dentists and veterinarian offices are slated to reopen. Some dental hygienists worry their employers will not have enough personal protective equipment since they were urged to donate it to hospitals are they prepared for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. Some members of the Ohio Dental Association, meanwhile, insist offices that reopen will have enough PPE.
Under the new order, retail businesses can begin offering curbside pickup or delivery on Saturday, and stores that restrict operations to 10 customers or an "appointment-only" basis can reopen.
DeWine had previously said that non-essential retail stores could reopen on May 12. Manufactures and general offices are slated to reopen on Monday, May 4. Each must follow safety guidelines, however.
Some retailers had said that, since the federal guidelines on coronavirus are expiring, they wouldn't wait until May 12 to reopen.
DeWine said that date was set to give them time to set up social distancing, clean and sanitize, as well as ensure their workers will wear masks. The governor suggests opening early would be a legal problem.
“That would be a mistake and I certainly hope they would follow the rule of law," DeWine said.
Some restaurants say they’ll reopen for dining room service, though the shutdown order on that is still in place.
DeWine said a task force of lawmakers is working on setting a date for restaurants, bars, salons and barbershops to reopen.
As of Thursday, Ohio reported 18,027 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, and a total of 975 people have died. The state has seen 3,533 hospitalizations, including 1,035 people admitted into the ICU.
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