‘We fully intend to have school in the fall,’ Gov. DeWine says

Gov. DeWine gives update on state’s coronavirus response

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said the state’s goal is to start school in the fall.

“We fully intend to have school in the fall. The date for starting school is solely in the power of the local school boards and that will continue to be the case,” he said.

The plan is to have students in classes, DeWine said.

The governor said when the state’s guidelines are ready to be released they will be broad for the health of each district.

“We fully recognize that there are over 600 districts and each is very different. They each have very different needs and very different situations,” he said.

DeWine also announced health care providers can resume all elective procedures that have been delayed during the pandemic.

These are the guidelines in place:

  • Maintaining adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine.
  • Creating a plan for conservation and monitoring use of PPE, other supplies, and equipment, that could include decontamination and reuse.
  • Maintaining a reliable supply chain to support their non-COVID-19 cases and to respond to an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases, if needed.
  • Defining processes for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff.
  • Continuing to use telehealth whenever possible.

DeWine spoke about the protests throughout the state saying that expressing outrage is not only understandable but appropriate.

“The vast majority of demonstrators are peaceful, they want to talk and get attention on very legitimate issues,” he said. “It is a few violent individuals who are drowning out the voices of reason.”

DeWine says they are going to continue to make sure that the state’s law enforcement officers have the proper training on implicit bias.

“We’re going to do more on de-escalation training for police officers. And, we’re going to do more to create best practices for police departments on the use of force,” he said.

The Ohio National Guard is assisting police in Columbus and Cleveland and Gov. DeWine said they are ready-at-hand for any city that needs assistance.

DeWine says he’s concerned about what mass gathering of protesters could mean for the increase of spread of COVID-19.

“First Amendment has always been an exception,” Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said.

She asked people to protest as safely as they can.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the Ohio Micro-Enterprise Grant Program that will help small minority- and women-owned businesses.

“Each qualifying business would receive $10,000 until funding runs out, and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The program could fund up to 500 companies,” he said. “This is another effort to target businesses that we know are struggling and help them flourish in the future.”

Lt. Gov. Husted also announced the Appalachian Growth Capital Loan Program. The Ohio Development Services Agency and the Governor’s Office of Appalachia will provide $10 million to help small businesses in Ohio’s Appalachian region.

“The new loan program will help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the 32-county Appalachian region in Ohio. The program will offer loans to small businesses for up to $500,000 at 2% interest,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Husted said the economic concerns are a top priority.

“We are moving toward a more stable economic environment,” he said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 36,350 cases of coronavirus and 2,258 deaths in the state.

Acton says numbers have plateaued and flattened. They continue to watch numbers because science is evolving and they are continuing to look for best indicators.

Daycare and child care centers were permitted to resume operations Sunday with social distancing and other virus precautions.

Banquet and catering halls can now hold events like wedding receptions with a cap of 300 people if they meet required safety protocols currently in place for restaurants.

The state’s ban on mass gatherings of more than 10 people remains in place at least through July 1, according to the latest health order Dr. Amy Acton signed on Friday, so tables must be 6 feet apart with no more than 10 people per table.

While 95% of the state’s economy has now reopened, most of Ohio’s indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and recreation facilities remain shut down.

Gov. Mike DeWine said in a recent interview on “Meet the Press," however, Ohio isn’t ready for mass gatherings at places such as Cedar Point amusement park.

DeWine is expected to address entertainment venues during one of his daily news conferences in Columbus this week.

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