Marion County businesses, governments slowly to reopen amid coronavirus
A PSA done by the Ohio Department of Health used mousetraps and ping-pong balls to illustrate the importance of social distancing has gone viral. Wochit
MARION — Some Marion businesses ordered closed by Ohio officials to slow will reopen in the coming days and weeks, as Ohio begins to ease restrictions and restart the state's economic engine.
Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced which businesses could reopen, in the following order:
- Medical procedures that do not require an overnight stay, dentists and veterinarians on May 1
- Manufacturing, distribution, construction and office work on May 4
- Retail on May 12
How local businesses are reacting
The news was welcomed by some but regarded warily by others.
Luke Henry, owner of ProScape Lawn & Landscape Services LLC and a partner in the Main Street Reimagined project, expressed dismay at the manner in which the state orders have burdened small business owners during the shutdown.
飞艇计划app开奖"I’m really disappointed at the way that big box retail has been allowed to stay open and our small businesses, our little boutique stores, aren’t allowed to open," he said. "Meijer, Walmart, and Target have been open all along and they can sell housewares, clothes, and everything else, but our small stores can’t. It’s not right. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat fallen on deaf ears at this point."
Henry has been active on social media and vocal in the community encouraging Marion County residents to support locally-owned businesses that were able to remain open during the shutdown.
飞艇计划app开奖Brett Joliff, owner of Willy & Wade Supply Co. at 179 S. Main St. in Marion, is skeptical about unlocking the doors to his shop on May 12, the date that the state has targeted for retail businesses to open.
"I’m not sure if I want to be the guinea pig for the governor to see if opening May 12 will have a bigger impact on my numbers," he said. "Reports of the (coronavirus cases at the) prison seeping into the public is another reason. We will most likely hold off for the month of May and hope for a June re-opening. We will remain open online and offer free shipping."
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Joliff said he’s been frustrated in his attempts to secure aid from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
飞艇计划app开奖“We’ve had no assistance or help with the SBA,” said Joliff, who opened his store in 2016. “We’re currently looking at a 30-day delay with no response since our application for EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) assistance.”
Dental offices reopening
Dentists and orthodontists were again permitted to perform non-essential procedures beginning last Friday.
Finney Family Dental ground almost to a halt after Ohio put a stop to all non-essential procedures on March 18, co-owner and dentist Derek Van Dyke said.
飞艇计划app开奖"I would say that probably constituted about 90% of our practice," he said.
During the weeks the dental practice was only seeing patients on a limited basis, the practice obtained $10,000 in emergency relief money through the SBA, Van Dyke said, and also obtained a loan through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program.
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Van Dyke said he was "a little stunned" last week when dentists offices were given the green light to open as soon as last Friday.
飞艇计划app开奖"It made for a huge struggle in scrambling to find the recommended PPE for the staff," he said.
They were fortunate, he said, to be able to find all the personal protective equipment they needed, including N95-equivalent masks and face shields, and opened on Monday with full staffing.
Van Dyke said his biggest concern now is getting the office up and running and finding their "new normal" while also keeping staff and patients safe.
The office has implemented practices to screen patients both before their appointment and at the office for possible infection by taking their temperature and asking them a series of questions, he said. They have also asked patients not to bring others with them to their appointment, with exceptions for minors and some others.
飞艇计划app开奖He said the office has also ordered extra-oral vacuums that can capture aerosols produced during dental procedures to try to limit the risk of spread of the virus.
飞艇计划app开奖Crawford Orthodontics, 1063 Harding Memorial Parkway, Marion, which also stopped most operations after Ohio halted non-essential procedures in March, also plans to open this week, said owner Bethany Crawford.
She said that her practice would prioritize procedures that do not produce aerosols.
飞艇计划app开奖"One of the biggest limitations is the availability of PPE," she said. "The procedures that do produce aerosols are the ones that require the most PPE."
飞艇计划app开奖She had donated much of her office's personal protective equipment to hospitals that were asking for PPE donations in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 patients.
飞艇计划app开奖"We're mostly starting from zero," she said. "You're competing with everybody else that wants the same supplies."
Crawford said she was also surprised by the announcement she could open as early as last Friday.
"I did think they would give us a little bit more time to prepare," she said. But "I was glad. I think it's appropriate as long as we're doing it safely."
Local government being cautious
飞艇计划app开奖The governor’s plan allowed "general office environments" around the state to reopen on Monday, May 4. Local government leaders are taking a cautious approach.
Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer said he agrees with Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to reopen businesses incrementally and not all at once.
飞艇计划app开奖“I think it’s a good, safe step for this state to take,” Schertzer said. “I think it’s a good, safe step for the community of Marion to take as well. But, on the other hand, you have folks saying he didn’t go far enough to open the state. That may or may not be true; however, safely and healthily opening up the state is of paramount importance right now.”
飞艇计划app开奖While Marion City Hall will remain closed to the public, Schertzer said employees were allowed to return to work on Monday.
"We won’t be open to the public, but if we can get all of our employees, we can start to provide services in a more timely and efficient manner, having all of our staffs and all of our crews back into place," Schertzer said.
飞艇计划app开奖County Commission President Ken Stiverson said most county offices will maintain the current schedule. He said commissioners are waiting for further information from DeWine about his reopening plan before moving forward with plans locally.
"When May 12 comes around, we’ll see what (DeWine) reopens," Stiverson said. "As of now, we’re maintaining the status quo and following directives."
飞艇计划app开奖Some county offices are functioning with reduced staff in the building, but most employees are working remotely, Stiverson said. With few exceptions, county offices remain closed to the public until further notice.
However, the Clerk of Courts title office reopened to the public on Monday. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.