Mask up: Health commissioner prepares public for business restart


As Wood County residents stop staying at home and start back to work, there’s one thing they’re going to
have to leave the house with — a mask.
Health Commissioner Ben Batey said the motto of Ohio is going to be no masks, no work, no service, no
exception. Batey spoke at Tuesday’s weekly teleupdate with the Wood County Commissioners and other
officials on the phone.
“I know that’s going to be a little bit different for us as a culture,” he said. “The goal is to get to a
point where everyone’s wearing a mask. That this is our normal.”
Batey said mask is a catch-all term for a face covering.
“It doesn’t have to be fancy,” he said, adding that a scarf could be used or a T-shirt converted.
“We’re going to have to get creative with this, and truly, just have any cloth face covering,” he said.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine rolled out his Responsible RestartOhio plan on Monday after residents have been
ordered to stay at home for weeks due to coronavirus.
Dentists and veterinarians may start work on Friday. Manufacturers and general office can start on
Monday. Retail may open on May 12.
As business starts back up, there will have to be protocols to follow, to keep coronavirus at bay, Batey
Employers will be asked to check temperatures, wipe down surfaces and sanitize surfaces throughout the
day and at the end of the day and shifts. There must be good handwashing and adherence to social
distancing, he said.
Businesses should limit capacity. Whatever the fire code allows, 50% should be allowed inside, he said.

Appointments should be made, with walk-in customers limited.
If people have to be in close contact, he recommended putting up shields to protect employee areas.
“These are all actions we’re asking businesses to take to keep the spread slow and at a reasonable rate,”
Batey said.
The actions help protect the health care system, which is going to be stretched even thinner as elective
surgeries start being held, Batey said.
“The more we get people together, the higher our risk is,” he said.
Batey used the nursing home population as an example. He said that the majority of Wood County’s 139
cases (this is Monday’s number; Tuesday’s are on page 2) are from long-term care facilities in the
northern area. The majority of Wood County testing is also happening in these facilities, he said.
“It truly paints the picture of what can happen in group settings,” Batey said. “Unfortunately those
groups that are getting impacted are also our most susceptible residents.”
Ohio businesses and agencies that will remain closed, for now, include schools, restaurants, bars,
salons, adult daycares, senior centers and entertainment venues, he said.
“Those are businesses that are either social in nature or have a direct contact (with people),” Batey
said. “The better job we do to keep our numbers under control, the sooner the businesses can open in the
Also Tuesday, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn reported that the jail population is 82 and no inmates
or staff have COVID-19.

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