In the evening of April 2, the same day he announced extending Ohio’s stay-at-home order, Governor Mike DeWine participated in a “#AskTheGov” event on Twitter, joining several other governors from across the U.S. answering questions about the coronavirus and state response.
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DeWine answered several questions over a few hours.
When asked about problems with using the currently overloaded unemployment website, the governor said that the state was working on hiring new staff to its call center and bringing in staff from the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation to help.
We hear you. We are adding new staff to the call center and some staff from @OhioBWC are also stepping in to help. Please know that we’re working around the clock to give you the best service, and your benefits will be backdated to the date you became eligible. #AskGovDeWine https://t.co/fRqnivwCbs— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 2, 2020
He also said in other answers that people whose traditional unemployment benefits were previously exhausted, those that historically don’t qualify for benefits and people who are self-employed may qualify for emergency compensation benefits under the federal assistance bill recently passed.
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The governor added that this system has not been set up yet, but that benefits would be applied retroactively.
Wait for the new system. Like other states, #Ohio is waiting for guidance from @USDOL on how to develop the new system. Once it is up and running, benefits will be retroactive. We will share more information as soon as we have it. #AskGovDewine #InThisTogetherOhio https://t.co/UOWtuYCQDP— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 2, 2020
Other responses included a recommendation that people who normally wear contact lenses temporarily switch to glasses; telling workers in essential businesses to report workplaces not complying with Department of Health orders to call their local health department or local law enforcement; saying the state has formed a Homelessness Team to work on challenges for homeless people during the pandemic; and clarifying that students will not need to repeat this year of school.
Perhaps one of the highest questions on everyone’s mind, though, was if the government had any time frame for when businesses can reopen and life can return to normal. In short, DeWine’s answer was no.
It is going to take some time before we get back to a sense of normalcy, but it will happen. I am concerned to hear about your hopelessness, please don’t give up – reach out. We have a 24/7 crisis text line, just text 4hope to 741 741. Or, call 800-273-8255. You are not alone. https://t.co/xwPa1F1TWc— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) April 2, 2020
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He wrote that Ohio will reopen businesses and restaurant dine-in services only when it is safe to do so, and encouraged people who are feeling hopeless or upset to use a 24/7 crisis text line by texting 4hope to 741 741, or calling 1-800-273-8255.
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