A sense of palpable excitement swept through Ohio yesterday, like a fresh, warm May breeze carrying the scent of lilac trees and spring flowers. Continuing with its gradual approach to reopening the state’s economy after a prolonged shutdown, the DeWine Administration announced the next step in the process: allowing hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, and bars and restaurants to begin to service customers once more.
Some other businesses and offices opened this week, and retail stores and service businesses can reopen next Monday. Under the Governor’s latest order, tonsorial parlors will be allowed to begin operating next Friday, May 15. Restaurants and bars that have outdoor seating will be allowed to start serving patrons in their outdoor areas that same day, and indoor dining will begin again on May 21. By May 21, the vast majority of the state’s businesses will have been permitted to reopen in some form or another, and the economy will lurch into gear once more. Governor DeWine has concluded that, with the curve flattened, the economy simply can’t be shuttered for much longer without doing irreparable damages.
The Governor’s order indicates that the reopening won’t be an immediate return to the old, pre-coronavirus operations: customers and stylists will be masked, for example, and restaurants will be trying to align tables and establish patron admission procedures to achieve social distancing. There will probably be a run on plexiglass and plastic barriers, too.
Shaggy Ohioans who are heartily sick and tired of eating their own cooking, and who yearn for a return to more normal times, greeted this news with breathless excitement. Soon we can get haircuts again! And eat at a restaurant, too! (Well, kind of.)
The news spread like wildfire on social media, where announcements of hair styling appointments became, for the moment, more popular than unsubtle political memes or cute videos of tumbling kittens. Expect to see lots of Facebook posts with selfies of masked people getting their hair trimmed by other masked people, or people eating at some outdoor venue. What used to be taken for granted is exciting news right now.