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Leisure facilities to reopen Wednesday

State gives OK to museums, theaters, others

Several entertainment facilities — including movie theaters, museums and public recreation centers — will be permitted to reopen next Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

Those businesses choosing to reopen must follow safety protocols, he said in a Thursday written statement.

“We can continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 while we safely reopen our economy,” DeWine said. “It is up to each of us to do what we can to keep each other safe and choose to keep 6 feet of social distance, wear masks and maintain good hand hygiene.”

He added the threat of the virus remains and “business owners and employees should do their part to ensure customers visit safely by cleaning and sanitizing surfaces regularly.”

The businesses that can reopen Wednesday are: aquariums, art galleries, country clubs, ice skating rinks, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor sports facilities, laser tag facilities, indoor movie theaters, museums, outdoor playgrounds, public recreation centers, roller skating rinks, social clubs, trampoline parks and zoos.

To reopen, businesses must ensure a minimum of 6 feet between employees if possible. If it’s not possible, they must install barriers.

Also, there must be a minimum of 6 feet between customers when possible.

That could prove challenging to some of the businesses that are allowed to reopen.

DeWine was supposed to have a news conference Thursday on the state’s ongoing response to the pandemic. But he canceled it “out of respect” for the memorial service for George Floyd, according to his office.

Floyd, an African-American man, died May 25 when Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers at the scene face criminal charges.

Floyd’s death has led to rallies and protest marches locally and nationally.

On Tuesday, at DeWine’s last news conference, he spoke about Floyd’s death and racial disparities.

DeWine called for improvements to law enforcement access to “quality training,” enhancing “transparency between the police and public,” recruiting more minorities to serve as police officers and adding more oversight to Ohio’s law enforcement agencies “to ensure accountability.”

COVID-19 DATA

The Mahoning Valley is trending in the wrong direction this week when it comes to reported COVID-19 deaths with nearly all of the fatalities in Mahoning County.

Between Sunday and Thursday, the Valley has reported 21 COVID-19 fatalities, with Mahoning County accounting for 17 of them. That includes three on Thursday.

Trumbull County has had three reported fatalities because of the virus so far this week, while Columbiana has had one, which was reported Thursday.

Oftentimes, reported deaths trail actual deaths because of delays in filing COVID-19 death certificates and also determining if the virus was the reason for the fatalities.

Last week, the three counties combined for 13 reported fatalities — the lowest of any week since the pandemic started. The Valley reported 33 fatalities the week prior.

Overall, the Valley has totaled 296 COVID-19 deaths: 191 in Mahoning, 51 in Trumbull and 54 in Columbiana.

Mahoning continues to have the fourth-most deaths among Ohio’s 88 counties, while Trumbull is tied for 11th-most and Columbiana has the 10th-most.

The state had 2,339 COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday, up from 2,299 Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio has confirmed 37,282 cases of the virus Thursday, up from 36,792 Wednesday.

Mahoning County posted 1,466 cases Thursday, up from 1,463 Wednesday. It has the eighth-most cases in the state.

Trumbull County reported 596 cases Thursday, up from 585 Wednesday. It has the 14th-most cases in Ohio.

Columbiana County had 893 cases Thursday, up from 889 a day earlier. It has the 10th-most cases in the state.

Its health district said 522 of the total cases in the county are prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton. That’s 58.5 percent of its reported cases.

Statewide, 6,312 people were or have been hospitalized as of Thursday because of the virus, up from 6,251 Wednesday.

There were 1,623 people who have been treated in intensive-care units Thursday, up from 1,604 Wednesday.

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