DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As Gov. Mike DeWine announces his goal to begin reopening Ohio’s economy May 1, some local business owners say they’re excited about the plan but acknowledge it will take a while for operations to get fully back to normal.
At a news conference Thursday, DeWine said businesses will have to set certain safety protocols to be allowed to open their doors.
Gov. DeWine said he is working with a team of CEOs from large and small businesses across Ohio to create a concrete plan for reopening Ohio’s economy.
“Our goal through this was to maintain at least 20 percent,” said Andrea Hoover, who owns the Coldwater Cafe and Bodega Market in Tipp City with her husband.
Hoover told 2 NEWS she has kept her businesses open only for takeout, but that may soon change, depending on the plan the state develops.
Gov. DeWine said he wants some businesses to reopen May 1, but it will require new procedures at each workplace.
“You’re going to see people with masks,” DeWine said. “You’re going to see people with a lot of sanitizers, a lot of barriers, distancing.”
“We’re kind of expecting that we’ll probably have to reconfigure the dining room and make tables farther apart,” Hoover said.
Some places that initially closed down have been able to reopen. Flying Ace Express Car Wash shut down its locations for two weeks before being allowed to open April 7 while taking several safety measures, according to John Roush, CEO of Express Wash Concepts.
“Adding lots of cleanliness things into it,” Roush said. “We had to scale back our operations so we could only run with two people. We had to close down little pieces of our business like our free vacuums.”
Roush told 2 NEWS his company is still expected to lose up to $2.5 million just in the month of April.
At a news conference late Thursday afternoon, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley acknowledged it has been a difficult time for businesses, but added that people will still have to be very careful.
“We will still encourage people not to go out unless they absolutely necessarily have to,” Whaley said. “Because this is still going to be among us.”
Despite the uncertainty, some business owners are holding out hope for the future.
“There’s probably still going to be a little bit of fear going forward with people being out and about so much,” Hoover said. “But I still overall do feel pretty optimistic about the entire recovery of businesses.”
Ohio’s “stay at home” order is set to expire May 1, but DeWine said he’s not sure yet whether that will be extended.
DeWine said he is also still working to decide when schools may be able to reopen.