COVID-19

COVID-19 closed down the March primary election, and lawmakers extended the absentee ballot deadline to late April.  Voter rights groups are asking state lawmakers to reform voting laws now, to avoid confusion before the November election. But they are not necessarily on the same page when it comes to which reforms should be made. 

1.2 million Ohioans have filed jobless claims since mid-March. And as Ohio’s businesses reopen, workers are concerned about the availability of child care, the cleanliness of their workplaces and the safety of vulnerable family members as they go back to work. And the agency processing claims has seen that concern too.

As Ohio opens for business again, many workers have qualms about returning to their jobs. Some Democrats are proposing a bill they say will protect those workers.

A federal appeals court has dealt a blow to a group that’s trying to put changes to voting laws on this fall’s ballot. A federal court stayed a lower court ruling that gave the group more time and allowed for electronic signatures.

photo desks and chairs
/ STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented economic concerns for state government. In early May, the governor ordered state departments to cut spending by $775 million through the end of June. Cuts to education funding could affect the state’s charter schools.

The Ohio National Guard will deploy across the state beginning this week to help expand COVID-19 testing at Ohio’s 960 nursing homes. Gov. Mike DeWine announced the effort during his regular coronavirus briefing.

House Minority Caucus Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) is criticizing the state's plan to address racial health disparities during the coronavirus pandemic saying the strategy Gov. Mike DeWine is taking is good but not enough, calling it "too little, too late."

photo of University Parish Newman Center
UNIVERSITY PARISH NEWMAN CENTER

Catholic Churches in Northeast Ohio are open again for in-person masses. But the services look quite different.

The Cleveland Diocese has set guidelines for social distancing, such as wearing masks and blocking off pews.

Karol Kirk attends St. Eugene Catholic Church in Cuyahoga Falls and says she’s excited for a sense of community again, but the changes will take getting used to.

Gov. Mike DeWine changed his initial mask mandate as a condition of businesses reopening, instead requiring masks for employees but not for customers. But while mask wearing has become something of a partisan symbol, DeWine said it shouldn’t be.

photo of a bowling alley
SARYMKAKOV ANDREY / Shutterstock

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, May 26:

photo of Water Works Park
CITY OF CUYAHOGA FALLS

Water Works Family Aquatic Center in Cuyahoga Falls is set to reopen next month, but with major changes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

photo of Will Bixby
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Memorial Day parades around the country are canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings. But there’s an effort underway to salute fallen service members, musically.

Ohio National Guard members have been performing a variety of duties during the COVID19 pandemic. But the roles of members are changing a bit as time progresses.

Ohio’s unemployment rate nearly tripled in just a month and set a record as COVID-19 closures and the state’s stay at home order fully hit economic activity.

A photo of the Kent campus.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

In a letter to the campus community, Kent State announced Friday that the university will resume residential living and in-person classes at the Kent campus in August. The letter, from interim Provost Manfred van Dulmen, states, "We are developing several scenarios to ensure an outstanding and safe experience for our students, faculty and staff." 

SUZY HAZELWOOD / CREATIVE COMMONS

As we near the third month of the pandemic, many of us are feeling a host of emotions, from fear and anxiety to boredom. What about turning to creative writing to work through those feelings? We reached out to Akron author and creative writing professor David Giffels to talk about how to use this experience to write your own pandemic story.

Gov. Mike DeWine rolled out the first steps to a plan to address racial disparities in the fight against COVID-19 which he says has only highlighted a problem that has existed for generations.

Wedding venues, banquet halls and large catering facilities can reopen June 1st. And some venues say they are ready to open now.

More than three quarters of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Ohio have come from nursing homes. This week’s total is a 30% increase from a week ago.

photo of Sherrod Brown with Teamsters
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

As more parts of the economy begin to reopen, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wants to make sure workers have recourse if they don’t feel safe at their jobs.

According to the senator’s staff, under current law, workers fired for reporting unsafe working conditions only have 30 days to file a complaint. He’s introducing legislation this week with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). It would allow complaints to be filed during the public health emergency plus an additional 90 days.  

Minority Strike Force Team Unveils First Recommendations

May 21, 2020

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, a member of Ohio's Minority Strike Force team assembled during the COVID-19 pandemic, joined Gov. Mike DeWine's Thursday briefing to reveal the first steps the team is taking to combat inequalities in the state's response.

a photo of Zach Friedhof
ARTSNOW / FACEBOOK

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many artists unemployed due to the cancellations of large gatherings for the last few months as well as the economic downturn. ArtsNow, a Summit County nonprofit that works to connect the arts and the community, is working to change this.

Grace Myers, corporate and community liaison for ArtsNow, says they are launching two virtual series to bring local talent into community members homes. 

Ohio State Fair Canceled For 2020 Due To Coronavirus

May 21, 2020

This summer's Ohio State Fair is the latest event to be scuttled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Courts across the country are facing a daunting task as they look to restart jury trials.

A recent attempt to hold a trial in Ashland County during April and early May showed how easily a trial can go wrong. On April 28, the first day of jury selection, the defendant, Seth Whited, began either having a panic attack or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 while in the courtroom.

Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci has issued a preliminary injunction against the state's public health order closing gyms and fitness centers. The attorneys representing gyms say this ruling has wider implications.

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