Dear Governor DeWine,
I want to thank you for your leadership throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Your actions have enabled Ohio to flatten the curve, limit the virus’ ability to spread throughout the state, and put Ohio in a position to safely reopen businesses.
And I appreciate that your “Responsible RestartOhio” initiative is actually more aggressive than the plan outlined by President Trump. But we need to be more aggressive in a responsible, safe way.
I am hearing from all over my district in every county. Our people--business owners, laborers and professionals--are desperate, running out of money and they honestly don’t know what to do next to provide for their families. They have run through their savings and reserves.
What advice can I give them? Hang on . . . for another month? Pay your rent or mortgage again with nothing coming in?
Today I am asking you--urging you--to accelerate the safe opening of businesses and include the following non-profit organizations and businesses to reopen in adherence with the safety guidelines and protocols outlined by the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Hospitals and Health Care Providers -- Our local health departments, hospitals, doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists and other healthcare providers know best how to reduce and prevent disease incidence. If we have accurate and dependable data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), let them fully return to work, with the provision that spikes in local incidence of COIVID may require stricter standards again to preserve hospital beds and equipment like ventilators and PPE. Let’s let local health boards and healthcare professionals manage it with accurate ODH guidance and data.
- Veterans and fraternal organization facilities -- With Memorial Day less than a month away it is important to keep our veterans and fraternal organizations in mind as they plan to conduct ceremonies to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Their bars and restaurants produce revenue that keep them going and that many local organizations depend upon.
- Local retailers, not just “big box” stores -- Our local retailers are mostly small-to-midsize local family businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. It is this group that is instrumental in getting Ohio’s economy back on track. The families that have built these businesses certainly are not capitalized to the degree that “big box” stores are and can not be expected to endure this economic downturn any longer. Please understand: our local businesses are desperate and they are running out of money!
- Hair Salons & Barbers -- Hair stylists at salons and barbers know how to conduct their business safely and hygienically. They are used to taking healthy, safe care of their customers. Let’s get these mom-and-pop shops open!
- Outdoor Theaters -- Outdoor theaters have demonstrated that they can operate very safely while providing entertainment and services to individuals and families during this difficult time.
- Gyms & Personal Trainers -- Gyms, personal trainers and recreation facilities are taking significant precautions to maintain safe environments for their employees and members. Please see the attached photo of one such gym that made arrangements to comply with all the common best practices, but they have no customers.
- Campgrounds -- With spring in full swing and better weather ahead Ohioans are eager to return to campgrounds and spend time in nature providing a welcome relief to the stress and uncertainty of this difficult time. It’s outdoors--there is little to no threat.
- Early Childhood Centers -- As the state begins to re-open and parents return to work, families should have the ability to utilize safe child care via the use of early childhood centers. The youth of Ohio are not a vulnerable population to the virus and have recorded zero deaths during this pandemic.
These are great Ohioans who have built the most resilient economy and strongest nation in the world. They love their work and love their customers and clients. Most have personal relationships with them and would never risk harming them. I trust them to make good judgments as long as we all have accurate information and effective cooperation from ODH.
I am asking that you issue orders immediately, with the healthcare guidance you deem necessary, to get Ohioans back to work as soon as possible and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Getting Ohioans back to work will ease the financial burden weighing on many families and small businesses. I hope that you give these suggestions full and fair consideration as we push forward together as Ohioans. Sincerely,
Senator Tim Schaffer