(The Center Square) – 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 Thursday evening, Ohio reported 26,357 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 1,534 “confirmed and probable” deaths.
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.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, sent a letter to House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, complaining lawmakers did not socially distance or wear masks during a recent House floor session.
“Like other Ohioans, we trust that our employer is making the best decisions for our health and safety in the midst of this global pandemic,” Sykes said in a news release. “But unfortunately, we are learning, just as many other Ohioans are as they return to work, that not all employers are taking COVID-19 seriously and are purposely putting their employees at risk.
“The blatant disregard to human life by many on the right is deeply upsetting,” Sykes added.
“Now we need to open our state before the damage is irreparable,” Roegner said. “I believe that Ohioans, if given the freedom, will rise to the occasion and take the necessary steps to keep their families, employees and customers safe, while conducting the commerce that is so critical to our economy.”