DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – During a one-on-one interview on Wednesday, Governor Mike DeWine told 2 NEWS that while Ohioans have done great work to flatten the curve in the state, there is still a lot of work left to do in order for us to keep moving forward.
He says Ohio is still in the early stages of tackling coronavirus as we wait for a vaccine. That’s why the state is reopening the economy, and trying to do it safely, in order to create consumer confidence.
“Any business that is open today is following state-of-the-art practices for that particular business or that profession, so in all those respects, we are better off than we were two months ago,” he said.
That being said, the individual citizen is still encouraged to look out for their neighbors by practicing social distancing, proper hygiene, and using masks while out in public.
“I know a lot of my fellow folks in the Miami Valley don’t want to wear a mask, but I’m telling you, when you go out it’s an added layer of protection for the other guy. You go into a grocery store now, you’re going to see everybody’s got a mask on that’s working there. To protect that individual, if you wear a mask, that gives that person some added protection,” said DeWine.
The Governor feels the next step to keep Ohio moving forward is increased testing. Right now, between eight and nine thousand tests are done per day, and he wants to double that number, saying, “So you can be aggressive toward that virus, find out where that virus is, and then cut it off.”
As for the state budget, cuts were made early to ease the impact and try to prevent more cuts in the future. He adds that it would be a mistake, he thinks, to raise taxes at this time.
DeWine says he has asked the congressional delegation to focus on creating more flexibility in the federal stimulus bill, believing this could help fill the state’s cuts to education and help fund essential services like Fire and EMS.
“I think the more flexibility that we could have and that the local communities could have — the cities, the villages, the townships, the counties — that is something that’s very important,” he stressed.
When it comes to starting school in the fall, he says districts should plan on being in session.
“Try to figure out what’s unique about your school. How do you get the social distancing as much as you can? How do you spread kids out as much as you can?” he said. “We don’t know where we’re going to be in August. I truly believe that where we are in August when we start back to school is going to depend on what we do right now.”
In order to see Ohio continue to improve, he says everyone has to work together.
“This is one time in our life where taking those actions, not taking certain actions, will literally save lives,” he said.
As the Miami Valley approaches one year since the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, DeWine recalls the strength shown by those who lost so much. For some, he says, the recovery process has been made even more difficult by the pandemic.
“The sad thing is, some people who were hit by those tornadoes ended up, because of coronavirus, losing their jobs or having other problems. The Miami Valley has been hit very, very hard, but ‘Dayton Strong’ says it all. People are tough, they’re resilient, but it’s been very, very tough.”
He continued, “Experts who understand about emergencies like this have told me that the way the Dayton community came together and worked on helping people is very, very good. In other words, we rate very high in what has happened since then despite the virus and despite all the other challenges that we’ve faced.”
DeWine issued a reminder that Ohioans are all in this together, and as we continue to do the necessary work to keep ourselves safe, we keep our fellow citizens safe in the process.
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