DeWine said getting hung up on the mandatory masks “just wasn’t going to work,” though he highly recommends wearing them. Employees will still wear face masks, and DeWine urged customers to protect “the folks who are stocking shelves in grocery stores.”
On Monday, the state’s manufacturing and construction businesses will reopen, joined by consumer and retail stores on May 11.
DeWine’s about-face on face masks drew some sharp criticism that it would endanger the state’s workers.
“The answer isn’t to make people risk their health by going to work without adequate protections,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley tweeted Thursday. “No matter where you live or what you look like, we can all agree that no one should have to choose between paying bills and staying healthy.”
Ohio — which has seen more than 19,000 coronavirus cases, more than 1,000 deaths and roughly 1 million residents filing for unemployment — joins several other states in starting to reopen sectors of its economy after seeing a brief downward curve in new infections and deaths and protests urging state and local governments to ease lockdown restrictions. Six states are set to loosen restrictions on Monday; 17 did on Friday.