Gov. Mike DeWine
[Andy Chow | Statehouse News Bureau]

No Date Set to Reopen Daycares; DeWine Announces Liquor Rebate Program

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKSU) — Gov. Mike DeWine didn’t announce a reopening date for daycares Monday.

He hinted Thursday that an announcement could be coming sometime this week, but DeWine said the plan needs more work.

“Child care is a necessity for working families,” DeWine said. “As I have said, there is risk associated with action, and there is risk associated with inaction.”

DeWine added that he won’t make an announcement until the state has the “most science-based and safety-based plan that we can put together,” but hopes a date will be set soon.

Retailers will reopen Tuesday. Hair salons, barber shops and outdoor seating for restaurants will open Friday. Indoor seating at restaurants will be available May 21. Every business has to follow strict guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as standing six feet apart and requiring employees to wear masks.

To help restaurants during the pandemic, DeWine last month allowed each takeout order to include up to two alcoholic drinks as long as it was in a sealed container. He announced Monday a liquor rebate program that’ll provide each restaurant with up to $500 to help restock supplies once they reopen.  Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said by Friday, 92% of Ohio’s economy will be reopened. But he said it’s pertinent for businesses to follow guidelines as they reopen.  “The standards for protocols for businesses that are operating continue to get stronger,” Husted said. “It demonstrates both safety and respect.”  Nothing has been finalized for gyms and fitness centers, but plans are in the works.

As of Monday, Ohio has 24,777 total cases of COVID-19 and 1,357 total deaths. According to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) 21-day trends, cases and deaths jumped between Sunday and Monday, but have overall been trending downward in the last three weeks.

Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said the state plans to randomly test 1,200 Ohio residents as early as this week. The voluntary antibody testing will detect the immune system’s response to the virus, not the virus itself.

“One of the things about testing is that it is a snapshot in time,” Acton said. She warned that a negative test doesn’t mean the person couldn’t be carrying it. It’s possible the test didn’t pick up the early signs in the body’s chemistry.

“The way we will save lives in Ohio as we all move about more is to stop the spread of the disease,” Acton said.

Residents randomly chosen to be tested will receive a postcard letting families know when health care workers will be visiting the home to conduct the test. Those who are selected can opt out by calling the Ohio Department of Health or by sending an email to the address on the card.

Despite the increase in testing, Acton said it’s important to continue wearing masks and disinfecting surfaces regularly because the disease is still spreading throughout the state, and cases are likely to increase as the state continues to reopen.

“It really relies on all of us doing our part,” Acton said.