COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Zoos, theaters, playgrounds and other indoor and outdoor facilities can reopen June 10, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday as he addressed some of the last parts of the Ohio economy that remained shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor's directive also applies to country clubs, museums, laser tag facilities and roller skating and ice skating rinks.
The governor has yet to address mass gatherings like concerts, sporting events and amusement parks.
DeWine said the openings must be accompanied by appropriate sanitation measures and social distancing procedures since the threat of COVID-19 remains.
"It is up to each of us to do what we can to keep each other safe and choose to keep six feet of social distance, wear masks, and maintain good hand hygiene," DeWine said.
More than 34,000 Ohioans filed unemployment claims during the last week of May, the state reported Thursday. That's the lowest figure since Ohio's stay-at-home orders led to widespread layoffs.
The claims are still among the highest on record in the state over the past few decades, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The 34,575 claims filed for the week ending May 30 are down from about 46,000 claims filed the previous week. Weekly claims haven't been that high since late 2008 during the Great Recession.
The numbers announced Thursday pushed total unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic to 1.29 million, above the total number of claims over the past three years combined. The state says it has now distributed more than $3.5 billion to more than 6,000 unemployment claimants, close to what was paid out in 2009-2010 during the recession.
Nationally, nearly 1.9 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the running total since the shutdowns took hold in mid-March to more than 42 million, the government said Thursday.
The Columbus Public Health Department said someone with COVID-19 who had symptoms on May 27 nevertheless attended protests in the city's downtown over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. The agency said individuals who attended the protests should watch for symptoms and be tested if they get sick.
As of Thursday, Ohio has recorded more than 37,000 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases, with 2,339 confirmed or probable deaths, the state Health Department said.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.
More than nine of every 10 people have tested negative in the past 40 days, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
State officials and medical experts say they are encouraged by Ohio's efforts to reduce the spread of the virus but caution it's too soon to celebrate.
"We can't let our guard down," Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for OhioHealth, told the paper.
As of Memorial day, 340,000 tests had been administered since record-keeping began by the state on March 4, according to information obtained by the Dispatch from the Department of Health through a records request.