DeWine ‘willing’ to re-close businesses if COVID-19 outbreaks flare

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Facing simultaneous public health and economic crises, Gov. Mike DeWine affirmed Monday a willingness to re-order businesses closed should a COVID-19 outbreak occur on a local level.

Though he didn’t offer any specific metrics, he said the local county health commissioner could issue the orders as well, if he and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton abstained.

“We certainly are willing to do it if we have to do it,” DeWine said. “It’s also something locals could do as well.”

A slew of reopenings, coupled with social distancing mandates, are set to occur on the following dates:

  • May 21: Indoor restaurant dining, campgrounds
  • May 22: Horse racing, no spectators
  • May 26: Gyms, pools
  • May 31: Child care

At his daily press briefing, DeWine also threatened criminal charges or liquor license suspensions for bars that flout social distancing guidelines. He also announced the formation of an enforcement unit that can work with prosecutors to consider criminal actions. The announcement came after crowds at Standard Hall, a Columbus bar, drew national attention.

More than 28,400 Ohioans are known to have COVID-19; at least 1,657 have died from the disease.

“We won’t hesitate to do what we have to do to protect Ohioans,” he said.