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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Local Officials React To Ohio's Reopening Guidelines

main street cincinnati
Bill Rinehart
Main Street downtown has been near empty since mid-March.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's much anticipated guidelines for reopening parts of the state's economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been released.

Some of those will begin Friday, and other manufacturers and business will be able to reopen in the next two weeks with strict safety measures to protect employees and customers.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Monday it's a reasonable attempt to reopen the economy.

"That hopefully will not have to be reversed but is at risk of potentially being reversed if it skyrockets again, of a way forward," Cranley said. "And, you know, unfortunately we may have to live with this pandemic for a long time. And so, accordingly, we have to figure out how to work safer and safely."

Cranley said more testing for COVID-19 and additional contact tracing for those infected are important to moving forward. The mayor said the city is ramping up efforts to make sure businesses comply with the strict reopening guidelines.

"That requires us to do more inspections," Cranley said. "And I think that that will short term and long-term help people feel safer, be safer, both employees and employers and customers, which will also have the benefit of helping the economy."

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus said earlier Monday she expected the slow reopening of the economy that DeWine announced.

Driehaus said she's confident county residents will continue to follow the recommended safety guidelines.

"I am hopeful that people take the caution seriously and don't jump the gun," Driehaus said. "I don't think we will; I think we've come too far. Why would we do that, right? Why would we put all of our progress at peril, because we open up too quickly or forego all the things that we know we need to do?"

Hamilton County officials, including the interim public health commissioner, are expected to have more to say about the state guidelines during an event Friday. Some of those changes and reopenings will happen next Monday.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.