TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a conference call with Lt. Gov. of Ohio Jon Husted on Monday to discuss details regarding the Responsible Restart Ohio plan.
Several local business owners and chamber members participated in the call, along with Troy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathi Roetter.
“May is what I call ‘moving month,’ as we are moving to open up most of Ohio’s economy,” Husted said during Monday’s call. “As of Friday, restaurants will be open, then the following week, we’ll get into gyms and more youth activities and things like that. Daycares will follow, as well as day-camps, on May 31.
“By and large, the things that are not yet open are large entertainment venues (and) places that make it hard to maintain social distancing or clean environments from a health point of view, so those are the things that we are working through right now,” he continued.
Husted noted that over 90 percent of Ohio’s economy is now open.
“We’re trying to make sure we balance the safety aspect of this; we need to create a great environment for businesses to operate, but also keep employees and customers safe,” he said. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean people will come back and use your services or go to your facilities if they don’t feel safe, so it’s about building that dual track of safety and creating the economic opportunity that we want to see more of in Ohio.”
Husted added that Ohio is opening at a quicker pace than most of its bordering states.
“We believe we’re in the position to do that because of the early action that was taken and the fact that we were able to avoid the kind of flair-ups that they had in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania,” he said. “We hope that people will adhere to the safety protocols — the distancing, the disinfecting, the wearing of masks when practical — as all of these help to ensure that we don’t have a spread.”
With regard to guidance against gatherings of more than 10, Husted said he does not think that advisory will be canceled any time soon, as larger gatherings may increase the risk of creating a hot spot of infection.
“We largely build what we do based on the CDC guidance,” he said. “Based on the information that I have seen, I don’t see that changing in the near future.”
According to Husted, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the virus will be with us throughout 2020, or until a vaccine is available — if and when that happens, he said.
“We have to learn to live with it in our lives, but we do believe that we’ve learned so much from the things that have occurred over the last two months; that we know how to keep people safe; we know how to create great business environments for people to operate and go to work and serve their customers,” he said. “That’s the balance we’re trying to achieve.”
Roetter noted the chamber has launched a new website, which still includes a coronavirus resources page, at www.troyohiochamber.com.