Coronavirus: Advisory groups to look at reopening restaurants, hair salons safely

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The state is creating two safety groups, one for restaurants and the second for barbershops and hair salons, to look at how those businesses can reopen safely, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

The advisory groups will help look at what are the best practices and safety guidelines that will allow those businesses to serve customers while minimizing the risk of coronavirus.

Face masks for customers at retail stores will not be required, but are still strongly recommended, DeWine said.

>> Coronavirus: Complete Coverage

The governor said he understands that a mandatory mask requirement for people shopping and going into stores is “offensive.”

Face masks initially were part of a mandate for customers at retail stores. It is now being considered a “best practice.”

However, employers can require customers to wear face masks if they choose, DeWine said.

>> Here’s what DeWine’s plan to reopen Ohio says, what businesses must do

He added that employers also are responsible for making sure their workers have protective coverings.

The governor’s administration included face masks as a mandate as another layer of protection for workers, he said.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted noted that as people continue to follow safety precautions, such as social distancing and washing hands, Ohioans will be able to get to the next phase of reopening.

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Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said 1.9 million absentee ballots have been requested in the state’s spring election.

He reminded Ohioans that polls close at 7:30 p.m. and urged people to drop off their ballots at their local boards of elections or to mail them out today.

There are 16,769 total cases and 799 deaths connected to coronavirus in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The state is reporting 16,128 confirmed cases and 757 deaths.

Hospitalizations are at 3,340 with 1,004 ICU admissions.

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Cases have been reported in all 88 counties, ODH Director Amy Acton said. Vinton County was the last in Ohio to report a case.

Health care workers make up 16% of cases.

On Monday, DeWine announced plans to start reopening that state beginning May 1 as well as what steps different industries will need to take to reopen.

Husted noted last week that the state is not forcing any businesses to reopen. Instead, they are releasing information on what businesses can do if they want to reopen.

But the plan did not include opening dates for some businesses, including gyms, hair salons, restaurants, bars and daycares.

The governor also noted that public gatherings are still limited to 10 people.

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