UPDATE: What area people are saying about Ohio reopening

Area food banks have seen a large increase in need as more and more people are laid off due to the coronavirus. Pictured is The Foodbank’s mass food distribution at the Nutter Center. STAFF/MARSHALL GORBY
Area food banks have seen a large increase in need as more and more people are laid off due to the coronavirus. Pictured is The Foodbank’s mass food distribution at the Nutter Center. STAFF/MARSHALL GORBY

People living in the Miami Valley have mixed opinions on Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to reopen the state.

In his press conference on Monday afternoon, DeWine announced that starting on May 1 health care and dentists would begin opening up, manufacturing and construction will open on May 4 and retail and services will open on May 12.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said no business will be required to reopen. Employees and customers will all be required to wear masks.

Bellbrook resident Harold Phelps is scheduled to go back to work on May 1, but he is nervous about catching the coronavirus. Phelps works for a dental lab delivering supplies to various dentist offices in the area. He doesn’t think the state should reopen now.

“I think it is still too soon,” Phelps said.

Phelps said he would love to eat at a restaurant, but won’t go right after they reopen because he doesn’t want to be around a crowd of people.

“Everyone is anxious to get back to normal, but it won’t be normal yet,” Phelps said.

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Chasady Combs, who lives in Jefferson Twp., is ready for Ohio to reopen.

I think he should be cautious about reopening, because we don’t want another outbreak,” Combs said. “But some people’s livelihoods depend on it. If you don’t start reopening some things, a lot of people are going to be in a really bad situation.”

Combs is one of those people.

She was laid off from her job at Panera Bread because of the coronavirus and has had to get another job as a car hop at another restaurant.

“With no unemployment and no stimulus, we’re struggling,” Combs said.

Combs and her 15-year-old son waited in line for the mass food distribution in Greene County at Wright State’s Nutter Center for three hours last week to be turned away.

“I cried all the way home,” Combs said. “It’s hard enough to ask for a hand out and then for that to happen.”

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

Combs’ husband is considered essential and has continued to work his construction job.

“If stuff don’t start opening up, people won’t be out and we won’t be able to make money,” Combs said, “and tips is how I make most of my money.”

Combs said that her family struggles every day to try to figure out how to put food on the table.

“Bills are still coming in,” she said. “When this is all over, we’re still going to get our bills.”

Her teenage son has had three open heart surgeries and is now on a restricted diet. Combs said she worries about the virus because of her son.

“It’s hard to get him what he needs and stay in his diet restrictions,” Combs said. “I’m ready to bang my head against the wall.”

MORE: Are kids learning right now? And what will school look like in August?

Leslie Scott of Kettering doesn’t think the state should open back up.

“I don’t think we’re ready,” Scott said. “Until we start to see a steady decline in deaths, I don’t think we should reopen. I just don’t think it’s smart.”

Scott said she feels that Gov. Dewine is catering to pressure from the president and from protesters.

“I understand the frustration of the people who are out there protesting. It is frustrating to see how many people have lost their jobs and it is frustrating to just sit at home,” she said. “I don’t think they fully understand or believe that it’s real. They just aren’t being informed, I’m not saying that the people out there are uneducated, just that they’re not fully informed on the issue.”

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Scott is a manager at the Dayton Mall and said she is afraid to go back to work her business is one that would be allowed to open on May 12. She has fibromyalga and because of that has chronic exhaustion.

Since Scott manages a store, if stores were to reopen she would have to report back to work.

“If I got sick it would devastate my body,” Scott said.

Scott has been able to work from home since stores have been closed. She plans to wear a mask and be diligent about social distancing in her store when possible.

“Just from me going out to the grocery store, it seems like a lot of people don’t care. I see kids in shopping carts, with both parents, and no one is wearing protective gear,” Scott said. “I know it is rough right now, but if we stay strong now we’ll be able to get out of this soon. If there is a second wave, this is going to affect our older family members and our children.”

MORE: More women than men losing jobs in Ohio. Here’s why.

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