Pandemic Response Week In Review


Throughout the week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton M.D., MPH, and provided the following updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as several new opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

On Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (OJFS) has received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture for its Pandemic EBT plan. The Pandemic EBT program was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.

The approval will allow OJFS to distribute SNAP benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs when school was in session to have access to a hot, nutritious meal.  The benefits will be mailed directly to students, and families do not need to apply to be eligible.

Families will receive approximately $300 to purchase healthy and nutritious foods to feed their children. These benefits amount to more than $250 million that will go to our grocery stores and other eligible retailers.

Lt. Governor Husted announced that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, and cosmetic therapy, will be permitted to reopen on Friday, May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures.

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group and the Ohio Department of Health can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Friday, May 15, tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on with the implementation of proper safety measures.

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Personal Services Advisory Group can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Additionally, Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy announced a new service that will provide a daily check-in by phone for Ohioans age 60 or older to ensure that older Ohioans stay connected while staying at home.

The Staying Connected program will call older adults who sign up for the service during a predetermined window of time. When participants answer the phone, they will be asked to respond via touch-tone to confirm that they are OK or to access live support.

If no one answers after three attempts, a call is then made to an alternate contact (if provided) or to non-emergency services.  The service can be canceled at any time.

Eligible Ohioans can sign up at aging.ohio.gov or by calling 1-800-266-4346. Staying Connected is not an emergency response service, and participants should always use 911 or their emergency response system if they are injured or in need of emergency assistance.

On Thursday, Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted and Dr. Acton provided the following sector opening dates established as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

Beginning Sunday, May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols.

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Early Childhood Advisory Council can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s childcare providers, including family childcare, childcare centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers. More information on how to apply will be posted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' website soon.

Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio will fund a research project to study best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in childcare settings. Information gathered from the study will continue to inform childcare regulations moving forward.

The reopening date of May 31 also applies to day camps that can meet required safety protocols. A detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Thursday, May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers from Governor DeWine's Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group is available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for certain services if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. More details on online BMV services can be found at oplates.com.

The BMV is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for deputy registrars to follow.  A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Gyms Advisory Group will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, non-contact and limited contact sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's Large Venue Advisory Group will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine's  Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to water parks or amusement parks. Safety protocols for these venues are in development.

Beginning Friday, May 22, horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols. Spectators will not be permitted.

A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices from Governor DeWine’s administration and the Ohio State Racing Commission will be available soon at coronaviurs.ohio.gov.

This does not apply to casinos and racinos. Safety protocols for these venues are in development.

Additionally, Governor Mike DeWine announced two appointments to fill judicial vacancies. He appointed John M. Halliday to serve as a judge on the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, General and Domestic Relations Division, and Patrick T. Murphy to serve as a judge on the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division.

As of Friday afternoon, there are 26,954 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,581confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 4,791people have been hospitalized, including 1,277admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.