MARTHA RADDATZ, “THIS WEEK” CO-ANCHOR: As step-by-step approach seems to be exactly what Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has prescribed for his state and he joins us now.
Governor you were on the early side of closures and have now taken a phased approach at reopening, with manufacturing and construction opening tomorrow and then retail the next week. You have had more than 19,000 cases of COVID, over 1,000 deaths, and have been in the downward curve it looks like for only about four or five days, but you have also had 1 million Ohioans file for unemployment. So tell me how you decided to reopen? How you balance that health risk versus economic risk?
GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE, (R-OH): Well we’re trying to do it very carefully and, you know, we’re trying to do things at once. I told Ohioans Friday, I said we can do two things at once. We can remain very, very careful; keep the social distancing, wear masks when out in public. And what we had did is we put a business group together — actually a number of different business groups to look at every business sector and to come back with best practices.
So when we open tomorrow in regard to a lot of businesses as well as office, it’s going to be based upon really best practices that were laid out by people in those businesses who do that. We’re going to move forward on that with restaurants, you know (ph), in a week or so and that’s going to be by a group that — of restaurant folks big and small who have kind of laid out this is the way to do it. So we’re balancing it. We’re going to keep our eye on the numbers. We’ve had a fairly flat — really for about two weeks with (ph) hospitalizations and that we’ll (ph) certainly going to continue to keep an eye on that.
So it is a balancing thing. We got to bring the economy back but we also have to continue to protect people. And one of the things I emphasize with Ohioans is it’s not so much my orders or the health director’s orders, it is what we all do in our individual lives and how careful we are. And we can continue to do that and —
RADDATZ: Governor, let’s talk about that. You did something that not too many politicians do, you did an about-face. You first announced that everyone would be required to wear face masks when retail opened, and then you reversed yourself when some of your citizens said it was offensive. Talk me through the thinking on that because you were just talking about face masks.
GOV. DEWINE: Face masks are very important and our business group came back and said every employee, for example, should wear a face mask. So we’re continuing that, whether it’s retail or wholesale, whatever it is, manufacturing, every employee’s going to have the face mask. But it became very clear to me after we put out the order that everyone in retail who walked into a store as a customer would have to do that, it became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far. People were not going to accept the government telling them what to do. And so we put out dozens and dozens of orders, that was one that it just went too far. But at the same time we pulled that back, I said look this is — I highly recommend it.
This is, for most people, it’s — unless you have a physical reason you can’t wear the mask, and we understand that, but when you go into a retail store, that is the kind thing to do because I worry and we should all worry about the folks who are stocking shelves in grocery stores, the people who are — the check-out line who work there all day, and we got to try to protect them. So, again, it’s what individual Ohioans do. They’ve been great going through this. We flattened the curve. People have stayed home. They’ve kept their social distance. And we just got to continue to do that.
So my ability to communicate to the people of Ohio, frankly, I thought was going to be really impeded and we would get hung up on the mandatory masks for someone going in as a customer and it just wasn’t going to work. And so you got to know what you can do and what you can’t do.
RADDATZ: And Governor the reaction to the coronavirus has really created a kind of partisan divide. A new ABC News (inaudible) post shows that Democrats are more concerned about contracting the virus while Republicans respondents would be more likely to get out if and when the rules change. Republicans are twice as likely to eat a restaurant, work-out at a gym, and get a haircut, and they were three times as likely to attend a sporting event, and four times as likely to stay in a hotel. Why do you think we have that partisan divide?
GOV. DEWINE: I’m not really sure. I’m not sure — you know, you’ve got those figures, I’ve not heard those figures before. But I think generally Republicans are less inclined to have the government tell them what to do. And that’s generally how I am. I’m a conservative Republican. I think we’re better off not having the government tell us what to do. But we are in a health crisis and — but what we are trying to do in Ohio is to move from orders that we put out where we say we have to close this, we are now in a phase where yeah we’ve got a few orders out there but we’re starting really pretty aggressively to phase business back in.
And what it’s going to depend on now is how individual Ohioans react to this and if they continue, which I believe they will, to keep the social distancing, better (ph) than we’ve tried to emphasize —
RADDATZ: Governor would you — I’m sorry to interrupt you. We just have about a few seconds left here —
GOV. DEWINE: OK, sure.
RADDATZ: — and I just want to ask you if you see cases begin to spike will you go back to closing things down?
GOV. DEWINE: We’re going to watch numbers every single day. And we’re going to communicate those numbers to the people of Ohio. That’s one of the things we’ve done. We do a press conference virtually everyday and we try to give them the data that we’re looking at. So if we’re starting to see those numbers, the people of the state are going to see those numbers and we’ll have to take action. But what I hope is as people see those numbers, if they do go up and if they go up dramatically, that the people of the state will react to that.
We’re all — we keep saying we’re all in this together and that’s the way I look at it as far as my job as governor and the people of the state. I got to keep them informed of what’s going on. I think they’ll do the right thing once they know the facts.
RADDATZ: Thanks so much for joining us this morning Governor —
GOV. DEWINE: Thank you.
RADDATZ: — DeWine and best health to all of you.