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Editorial: Let’s not mess this up

This week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the state will begin the promise of reopening its economy, after several weeks of a stay-at-home order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

DeWine cautioned against headlines proclaiming the state “open” on May 1, stating that the process would be a gradual rollout, with some sectors remaining closed longer.

He said some things, such as large sporting events, concerts and fairs may have to remain off limits for much longer.

In fact, he cautioned that the virus will remain with us for at least a year, until a vaccine can be developed or herd immunity occurs.

DeWine and state department of health director Amy Acton have saved many lives through their quick action on the virus, moving before many states to close schools and limit public gatherings.

With cases appearing to be peaking, they said the next phase will be to restart the economy, but to keep a close eye on the situation, with restrictions dictated on a changing basis.

This means that all precautions must be followed as stores reopen.

The governor said stores will need to limit the number of people, and businesses will need to stagger arrival and lunch times for employees to help maintain social distancing.

“There is no substitute for distancing,” DeWine said.

What happens next will be largely be determined by how serious Ohioans continue to take this situation.

The move to begin reopening is by no means an “all clear.” It is entirely likely that there will be a second wave of the virus, with another surge in cases in later months, as most experts are predicting.

It is imperative that the public continues to practice social distancing, wear face masks and take other precautions for the next year, as Acton said.

It has been a little disheartening to go to stores in these past few weeks and see, at times, fewer than half of shoppers bothering to wear masks or gloves and mingling in large groups. It is even more worrisome to see entire families, with multiple children, out in this emergency. And we’ve heard similar tales from many people over the month.

If the economy is to reopen, this carelessness needs to end. It is time to take this situation seriously, even moreso, as public interaction begins picking up.

This crisis is a long way from over and just how severe things will remain will depend on how well guidelines and restrictions are followed.

For the sake, not just of one’s self, but of family, friends and the entire community, please continue to remain cautious.