Salons, barbershops and outdoor dining can begin to reopen May 15th, under guidelines being released today by Governor Mike DeWine, and restaurants and bars can fully reopen by May 21. But he says reopening Ohio carries a risk.
While individual businesses can tailor processes to fit their structure, they all must maintain social distancing and avoid having people congregate in open areas. Wasserstom Chief Operating Officer Treva Weaver headed the task force on restaurants which she says included representatives of everything from small neighborhood eateries to large national chains. She says the task force focused on safe spacing.
"Parties of ten or less which would be seated together, and then each party is going is then going to be separated by either six feet or a physical barrier. That could be a high booth back, that's almost like a wall. Or in some locations they're using plexiglass, that's being installed to separate. We wanted to give each owner an opportunity to comply with those constraints."
Weaver says there are also strict guidelines on cleaning and protective gear. She points out that before the pandemic the food industry had strict health and sanitary standards and was supervised by state and local health departments. Charles Penzone Salons president Debbie Penzone says the personal services industry faced similar oversight.
"We are governed by the Ohio State Board of Cosmetolgy and Barbering Board, so we do a lot of sanitation and take a lot of classes and online education all the time. So of course, we're going to go above and beyond with that as well, to keep everyone safe."
But Governor DeWine admits opening businesses is a gamble.
"As we open up the economy, let me just state the obvious and not shy away from it: the risk is up. The more contacts that we have, the more that we do, the more risk there is."
Ohio health Director Dr. Amy Acton says the state will carefully monitor for flareups of coronavirus infections. She says this is new territory for all Ohioans.
"We will take these steps as cautiously as we can. We will watch the data very carefully. So much will be up to how we do this together; how well businesses omplement these things, how much we as consumers help."
DeWine says he hopes that Ohioans will still limit their travel, practice good hygiene, observe social distancing and wear masks, in order to protect other people. And the governor says an announcement is coming on Monday on childcare, which has been closed since mid-March and is a major concern for working parents.