Gov. Mike DeWine announces reopening date for amusement parks, casinos

Casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks to reopen in two weeks

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Gov. Mike DeWine announced the reopening date for amusement parks, casinos, racinos, and water parks.

DeWine said they can open in two weeks on Friday, June 19.

In addition, he said they approved safety plans for the Memorial Golf Tournament to be held in Columbus July 13-19.

“In all of these cases, these sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, and in some cases, provide for one-way traffic. They are elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public,” Gov. DeWine said.

The governor spoke on reopening all businesses with no restrictions.

“To those who say we should open Ohio with no guidance or rules: That makes absolutely no sense in the midst of this pandemic. With COVID-19 still as contagious as it has ever been, to do that would be irresponsible and an abandonment of the duties I have as your Governor.”

The state’s three largest amusement parks - Kings Island in Mason and Cedar Point and Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky - have all sued Dr. Amy Acton, in her official capacity as director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Cedar Fair Entertainment CEO Richard Zimemrman issued a statement after Dewine’s announcement. The statement reads in part:

"As a result of ongoing discussions with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. John Husted, we are very pleased to announce that our Ohio parks, including Cedar Point and Kings Island, have been cleared to reopen. We will provide specific opening dates just as soon as we confirm details with the governor. We appreciate the cooperation and support of all those that are working hard to help us and the state of Ohio reopen.

“We plan to continue conversations with the governor and lieutenant governor that have helped reach a positive resolution for all parties. We also owe a big thank you to our local city, county and state officials who have assisted us throughout this process. The reopening of our parks is crucial to the economic viability of Erie County and Warren County, and we look forward to getting back to business and hope that other states will follow Ohio’s lead in reopening parks around the country.”

Season pass holders like Jenni Obermeyer told FOX19 NOW they’re excited to get back to the park.

“I’m ready to ride, rides and be in the pool,” Obermeyer said.

Obermeyer says she often goes to Kings Island twice-a-week during the summer with her family, so initially, when she heard the park wasn’t going to reopen, she wasn’t happy.

“I was a little upset," she said. “We get passes every year annual passes, gold passes. I buy them for all my kids. I buy them for my parents. That’s what we do on the weekends. It’s what we do in the evenings.”

Meagan Steele also gets season passes each year, but says she’s not sure she’ll be rushing to any rides just.

“I think it would depend on what kind of stipulations were involved, like if everybody has to wear a mask outside all day," Steee said. “I think that would really deter a lot of people, me personally.”

DeWine says the guidelines and restrictions will be announced in the days to come.

The governor announced Thursday zoos, cinemas, museums, and playgrounds are among many recreational and entertainment facilities that may reopen with virus restrictions.

Entertainment venues listed below may open beginning June 10 if they follow Retail, Consumer, Service & Entertainment Guidelines and other applicable additional guidance, he said.

Here’s the list:

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

When they do reopen, zoos and museums will have several virus precautions in place including social distancing and requirements for facial coverings.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there are 37,758 cases of coronavirus and 2,355 deaths.

Gov. DeWine said the state has been actively reaching out to retailers in Ohio to strengthen testing partnerships.

“This week, our team and I spoke with executives from CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Walgreens, and Kroger about the importance of testing. With expanded testing criteria, our partnerships with these retailers, and our partnerships with community health centers are more important than ever,” he said.

Everyone is now eligible for testing.

Anyone wanting a test can go to coronavirus.ohio.gov and click on ‘Testing and Community Health Centers’ at the top of the page. There you will see the locations of places where you can get a test.

There are more than 40 retails testing locations across Ohio, with more to come, Gov. DeWine said.

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