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Ohio adds to its list of reopenings

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Thursday outlined new areas of the economy that can reopen Tuesday after a statewide closure that began in mid-March because of the coronavirus.

Joining gyms, recreation centers and other noncontact sports are bowling alleys, batting cages and miniature golf on Tuesday. Skills training and conditioning for contact sports for schools are allowed on Tuesday as well, Husted announced during the 2 p.m. press briefing.

Games, scrimmages and competitions are still on hold, Husted said, but students can use school facilities for training purposes.

Wedding receptions are limited to gatherings of 300 and can begin June 1. Catering and banquet centers also will be allowed to open June 1, following current restaurant guidelines, Husted said.

Gov. Mike DeWine discussed the minority population in Ohio during his time at the podium. Disparities within the state have been brought to the forefront during the pandemic, DeWine said.

African-Americans make up between 13 and 14 percent of Ohio’s population; however, 26 percent of people testing positive are African-Americans, DeWine said.

The demographic also accounts for 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state and 17 percent of deaths in Ohio.

Latinos make up 3.9 percent of the state’s population, DeWine said, and 6 percent of those testing positive in the state. The governor said the statistics are believed to be low.

To help communicate data, the state’s coronavirus website will include information by race in each county, DeWine said.

Last month, the governor created a new group to help gather information on COVID-19 and minorities in the state.

“To address the immediate threats posed by COVID-19 to our minority communities, we formed the Minority Health Strikeforce in April,” DeWine said.

A group of 41 people, consisting of various backgrounds, advise leaders of the virus and its impact on minorities.

Health centers in economically depressed areas will offer needed health care, DeWine said, which in turn could help with testing more people.

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