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How Ohio Plans to Reopen Retail Stores and Consumer Services Amid the Pandemic

An increasing number of states, including Ohio, are beginning to relax coronavirus-induced restrictions in the coming weeks.

On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state would start to reopen some nonessential businesses starting this week. The multi-stage plan, dubbed “Responsible Restart Ohio,” will begin with hospitals and health centers, which will be allowed to resume elective surgeries and other procedures that don’t require overnight stays on Friday.

Next week, on Monday, office work as well as manufacturing centers and construction sites will be able to reopen, followed by retail stores and consumer services on May 12. Bars, restaurants and hair salons — which are considered to be high-risk places for the spread of COVID-19 — will remain closed for an indefinite period of time.

DeWine’s stay-at-home order is expected to expire on May 1. As part of his plan, businesses will be required to sanitize workplaces, enforce social distancing and limit the number of customers allowed in stores. Individuals will also still be required to wear masks in public areas.

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“No mask, no work, no service, no exception,” DeWine said.

Yesterday, the National Retail Federation unveiled a set of instructions for retailers that are opening back up shop during the pandemic. The measures advised that retailers cap the occupancy for customers and initially deploy only the minimum number of employees needed to fulfill orders. High-contact areas will need to be regularly disinfected, while stores are encouraged to have signage or audible announcements about the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as install plexiglass shields where needed.

Less than two weeks ago, President Donald Trump announced “Opening Up America Again” — a three-phase process to restart the economy on a state-by-state basis. The plan would keep restrictions in place in the hardest-hit areas, with less-affected parts of the country to reopen sooner. Some states that have already reopened some nonessential businesses include Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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