In Weighing Business Closures, DeWine Says He's Prioritizing Safety Over Economy

Mar 20, 2020
Originally published on March 20, 2020 6:32 pm

Ohio has seen its first confirmed death caused by COVID-19. Now Gov. Mike DeWine is ordering senior centers to close as he evaluates the potential shutdown of other businesses.

Throughout the course of several days DeWine closed many businesses to delay the spread of coronavirus - places with large gatherings like movie theaters and places difficult to control physical distance like salons and barbershops.

DeWine says he wants businesses that remain open to not be “reckless” and to provide a safe workplace.

"As I balance that with our attempt to keep this economy moving. Let me make it very, very clear. That I will err on the side of protecting people," says DeWine.

He also says he's working on how to distinguish essential businesses from non-essential ones if the time comes when he needs to issue more closures.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted referenced reports that people are fighting over supplies in grocery stores. He reiterated during a daily press briefing that they're calling on people in Ohio to do what they can to treat each other with respect.

"Think about yourself on the backside of this when we get out. Do you want to remember yourself as somebody who contributed to the good of our world, to the good of our state. Or do you want to be fighting a grocery store over toilet paper?" says Husted.

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Health reported a total of 169 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The department said Mark Wagoner Sr., former chair of the Lucas County Republican Party, passed away due to complications involving the coronavirus. Wagoner is the first confirmed COVID-19 death in the state.

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