Ohio Tattoo, Massage Shops to Reopen Friday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After initially being excluded from the list of businesses that can reopen Friday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced today that that tattoo and piercing shops and massage parlors will be allowed to open that day.

“They were regulated differently by the Medical Board and the Ohio Department of Health. Those issues have been resolved and there’s agreement on what the protocols should be,” Husted said. “They will be allowed to reopen with proper safety protocols on May 15.”

Guidelines for those industries will be posted here Tuesday evening.

The state’s industry work groups are still reviewing policies for businesses in the tourism and casino sectors, he added.

“We’re working as fast as we can on camping, outdoor recreation, gyms and fitness,” Husted said. “We know it’s important as Ohioans try to make their plans for their summers.”

Earlier Tuesday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law filed a lawsuit on behalf of gym owners in the state to get the state to allow those businesses to reopen.

“The Ohio Constitution requires greater scrutiny of vague and discriminatory enactments that trample Ohioans’ property rights. Ohio gyms are capable of operating safely, and have the right to operate on equal terms with other Ohio businesses. Once gyms have opened, we are committed to ensuring that these arbitrary policies never recur,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson in a statement.

Gov. Mike DeWine declined to respond when asked about the lawsuit during the press conference, saying that falls under the purview of the attorney general’s office. He did say, however, that an announcement on reopening gyms will come soon.

“We have gym owners in our working group and will have those recommendations out very, very shortly. A representative sample of those people are involved in the process,” DeWine said.

On Thursday, he continued, there will be announcements on the status of “summer activities.”

“We’re not ready to make any announcement yet in regards to travel. We’re trying to layer this out and see one or two or three steps at a time to see how things are going,” DeWine said. “We understand people want to make plans. Summer is just about here and we’ll get that information out shortly.”

The lieutenant governor reiterated that just because a business is allowed to open does not mean it is required to do so. 

“As we’ve said from the beginning, all reopenings must meet the minimum standards. Many business will add best practices and may also ask you to wear a mask,” he said. “Just because they can be open doesn’t mean they will open on those dates.”

Local leadership – health departments and municipal leaders – also have the authority to delay the state’s opening dates and health-practice requirements.

“Once we get to Friday, 90% of the Ohio economy will be open. If you’re a health department or mayor and have concerns, you have that local authority,” Husted said. “You can go with higher standards and later [opening dates] but you cannot go with lower standards and earlier.”

The press conference followed Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony to the Senate Health Committee Tuesday, during which he said that states that reopen too soon could face a resurgence of COVID-19 and avoidable “suffering and death.”

“There are very few states that can meet those requirements,” DeWine said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control’s standards for when states should reopen. Among those standards are a 14-day downward trend of documented cases, treating all patients without crisis care and having “robust testing programs in place for at-risk health-care workers, including emerging antibody testing.”

“We believe if we do it right, we can do two things at once: focus on health and focus on carefully getting our economy back,” DeWine continued. “But, he’s correct. It is a risk. It’s also a risk whatever we do. It’s a risk if we don’t do anything, if we don’t try to open up.”

DeWine also announced that the state’s $250 million plan for EBT recipients has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the plan, families whose children received free or reduced-price lunches at schools will receive $300 to purchase healthful foods.

“This approval allows Jobs and Family Services to distribute [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits to 850,000 students across Ohio,” he said. “The benefits will be mailed directly and families do not need to apply.” 

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.