DeWine says casinos, amusement parks can open starting June 19

World's Largest Gavel
The World's Largest Gavel in Columbus, Ohio, as seen in September 2011. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – Ohio’s casinos, racinos, amusement parks and water parks can reopen starting June 19, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday afternoon.

The announcement comes one day after DeWine announced zoos, museums and other attractions could reopen starting June 10.

“In all of these cases, these sectors have come up with plans that reduce the number of people, provide for sanitation, and in some cases, provide for one-way traffic,” DeWine said in a news release. “They are elaborate plans that we believe are consistent with protecting the public.

“To those who say we should open [Ohio] with no guidance or rules: That makes absolutely no sense in the midst of this pandemic,” DeWine added on Twitter. With COVID-19 “still as contagious as it has ever been, to do that would be irresponsible and an abandonment of the duties I have as your Governor.”

State officials also authorized the Memorial Golf Tournament to take place July 13-19 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin.

“The State of Ohio has been a leader in identifying the tremendous threat that began to appear in January and was one of the first to take drastic action to curb the spread and reduce deaths,” the Memorial Tournament said in a statement.

“Their implemented plan has produced encouraging results and allowed for the slow process of opening the State to business and gradually allowing Ohioans to return to a level of normalcy, including the ability to permit patrons at this year’s Memorial,” the statement continued.

As of Friday afternoon, Ohio reported 37,758 “confirmed and probable cases” of COVID-19 and 2,355 “confirmed and probable” deaths stemming from COVID-19.

“As professional amusement park operators with an exemplary safety record, we are experts at managing risks and following protocols,” Richard Zimmerman, CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, said in a Thursday statement before DeWine’s announcement.

“The protocols we have developed to reopen our parks are in accordance with governmental and CDC directives, Erie County and Warren County Health Departments, medical professionals, Ohio’s Development Services Agency (DSA) and industry best practices,” Zimmerman added. “They are specifically responsive to the COVID-19 crisis.”

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