In addition, a local “retail strike team” will investigate complaints about violations of the state distance regulation and conduct random checks.
TOLEDO, Ohio – Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz made several announcements Thursday regarding the city’s response to the coronavirus. Regarding summer activities, the local budget and enforcement of state policies, the following was said:
Future of summer activities
Kapszukiewicz said city baths and fireworks cannot take place this summer.
Even as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine begins reopening the state, Kapszukiewicz said it is progressing very slowly and firmly believes that large gatherings will be the last thing approved.
He said his administration had racked its brains to come up with something like fireworks, even discussing the possibility of having residents watched from cars. Ultimately, however, they found that this was neither possible nor practical.
Regarding pools, he said the city’s six pools and wading pools could not be opened. This is not budgetary, said Kapszukiewicz, it is a health risk. The Pemberville leaders announced the same fate for their pools on Wednesday.
The problem with the virus, he said, isn’t related to what’s going on in the pool. The concern is when you get out of the pool, play and interact, and people enter public locker rooms; this worries health professionals.
Kapszukiewicz said that city baths traditionally offer free lunch for children when they are open. Although the pools won’t be open, the city will continue to provide meals for the kids as they normally would. They change their minds about places where to hand out those meals, where to stay socially distant.
Kapszukiewicz reminded residents that both the ProMedica Concert Series and Centennial Terrace Concert Series have been canceled for the year in the name of safety amid the pandemic.
Toledo city budget
Kapszukiewicz said the city is about a week away from reassessing city workers on temporary emergency leave (TEL). An evaluation should take place every 30 days.
Ohio begins distributing $ 1.2 billion in aid to local communities.
Senate Bill 310 Passed The Senate is on its way to the House of Representatives, if it did it would gross a little over $ 8 million for a city like Toledo. It would then be permissible for the city to use these funds to pay the salaries of the police and fire brigade. However, the mayor said $ 8 million would not be the last or only funding the city would get through changes to the CARES law called “CARES 3.0”. The state would have hundreds of millions of dollars left to provide aid. Kapszukiewicz said Toledo could have $ 22 million if everything is distributed.
Congress will be in full session again at the end of this month. Kapszukiewicz said it was likely that a “CARES 4.0 Bill” was on the way.
The mayor said there will be a mix of cuts and government funding going forward to dig Toledo out of a financial hole.
Kapszukiewicz said his administration continues to work with the city council to approve a new city budget. The first budget was approved in March just before the economy took a hit. In June the council wants to draw up a new budget.
Despite cuts, Kapszukiewicz announced that a 25-person police class would begin in October.
Kapszukiewicz he will discuss with council members whether it makes more financial sense to postpone certain projects that are already in progress, to cancel them altogether, or whether it would cost more money for some not to move forward.
One of those projects up for discussion is the installation of LED lights. He said he believed this should be pushed ahead in the interests of public safety. However, Kapszukiewicz will work with the city council to find out what is best for the city’s future.
Local enforcement of the orders of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine
Kapszukiewicz said he had met with local health officials to discuss how they will enforce the governor’s orders on the ground as we move forward with the state’s slow reopening.
He reminded residents that while retail stores may reopen on May 12th, there are a number of specific guidelines that businesses must follow to keep employees and customers safe. Some of these guidelines include that customers have two meters of space, staff must wear masks, and total capacity must be 50% or less of the Fire Act, among other things.
Even before we got to the reopening, Kapszukiewicz said the city had to enforce earlier parts of the governor’s stay home order. He said there are about 100 stores the city has closed for violating orders.
The city expects there will be more controls and attempts to circumvent the governor’s order. So far, one officer has been tasked with enforcement, but more are expected to be added.
Residents can call 419-213-4161, press option 4, and leave a message to report a company or employer that violates state guidelines. These reports will be forwarded to a “retail strike team” for investigation. The team will also carry out unannounced, random checks of the establishments.
Whenever the strike team arrives at a store where it sees evidence of a violation of the governor’s orders, that store will be closed immediately; no warning, no advance notice.
Kapszukiewicz said there had been a lot of debate over the best ways to reopen. He said that while there was room for this debate, he claimed that around 62% of people are still afraid, which goes unnoticed. He said that he does not think there is anything wrong with opening things up again, but it has to be pushed forward with “connecting points.”
Kapszukiewicz said more people died in Lucas County than in the other 87 counties in the state.
“Nobody wants to be where we are; nobody. Nobody caused it, there is no decision that has brought us into this crisis, and it’s not just happening to Toledo, it happens to every church in this country,” he said. “Well, I want the economy to open up again. I want to be able to go to restaurants. I want there to be fireworks this year. I want there to be Mud Hens games, that’s what I want. But I know some of this stuff we just won’t be able to do this year. “
State and local COVID-19 information
For more information on COVID-19, please visit www.LucasCountyHealth.com.
The Lucas County Community COVID-19 phone numbers are 419-251-4000 (English only) and 419-291-5355 (multilingual).
The public is asked not to call 911 unless it is a real emergency. Call 419-213-4161, press 4 and leave a message to report COVID-19 related matters.
The Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 website is www.Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov and the Ohio Department of Health hotline is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
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