Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Thursday announced a slew of openings for various industries that have been closed for nearly two months during the coronavirus pandemic.
On May 31, childcare centers will be allowed to reopen under a new set of "rigorous" standards, including daily temperature checks for children.
"Moving forward, childcare is going to look different for children, parents and teachers as long as this COVID-19 is around," DeWine said. "But we must get this right or we run the risk of exposing more individuals to COVID-19."
He then introduced Joni Close, president of Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and leader of the early childhood advisory council, who outlined the following changes.
- Daily temperature checks of children. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more will be sent home
- Providers must wear masks and may ask parents and caregivers to wear masks
- Smaller class sizes, specifically a maximum class size of nine for preschoolers and school-aged children and six for infants
- Children must wash hands as they enter and leave a building
- No field trips this year; playground and outdoor activities are allowed
- Centers will be expected to "rigorously" clean toys and surfaces after each use
Acknowledging that such changes will put a monetary strain on centers, DeWine says the state will provide more than $60 million of federal CARES Act dollars to help centers fund the new safety measures and offset any potential loss of revenue from reduced class sizes.
DeWine also announced a research project to study best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in childcare settings, which "will make Ohio a leader in reopening childcare and how we conduct childcare.
"As we gather more and more data from the study, it will continue to inform our decisions," he added, noting that these guidelines could change.
Gyms, Pools, Campgrounds And More
As he has before, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted referred to May as "moving month" – a month where "we are opening a next chapter in our response."
The following will open this month:
- May 21: Campgrounds
- May 22: Horse-racing (only the agricultural aspect; not casinos)
- May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, athletic clubs and pools; limited contact or no-contact sports leagues; Ohio BMV offices
- May 31: Day camps
Husted said protocols for gyms and fitness centers would be up "at some point today;" the rest would be announced by the end of the day Friday. He also specified that only pools regulated by local health departments would be opening and this guidance does not include or apply to water and amusement parks.
Honoring The Fallen
Earlier in the day DeWine ordered flags lowered for Peace Officers Memorial Day during this National Police Week. He also took some time to honor the state's fallen officers over the last year with a moment of silence. That included Dale Woods of Colerain; Bill Brewer of Clermont County; Jorge Del Rio of Dayton; and Kaia Grant of Springdale.