Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (left) announced Ohio gyms, sports leagues and pools will be allowed to open May 21 at a press conference Thursday. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

More Ohio businesses, organizations and state services will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks. 

Ohio gyms and pools will be allowed to reopen and noncontact and limited-contact sports leagues may reestablish May 26, and child care facilities will be allowed to reopen May 31 if they meet social distancing guidelines and sanitization protocols, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced at a press conference Thursday.

Specific guidelines and protocols will be made available online in the coming days, but Husted said these dates will not necessarily apply everywhere in Ohio. Businesses may have to wait longer to reopen as determined by their local health department. 

“We always, in everything we do, are trying to seek that balance between the health concerns that exist and also the economic and societal realities that we all confront several months into this pandemic,” Husted said.

In terms of Ohio State, child care has been operating under restricted guidelines for children of essential workers since March 26 and its fitness centers have been closed since March 16. The university has established a post-pandemic operations task force to plan the phased reopening of campus but has not yet announced when it will reopen such facilities. 

The university referred to the task force’s website for future updates regarding Ohio State-specific openings.

Some sports leagues that could be reestablished May 26 include golf, softball, baseball and tennis leagues. Husted said there are advisory groups evaluating options for how and when to reestablish sports leagues with greater contact.

Despite the state’s movement toward allowing sports leagues to return, the Big Ten’s suspension of all organized team activities was extended from May 4 to June 1, lengthening the ban on Ohio State recruiting activities. The suspension will be re-evaluated by the conference at the end of the period. 

While Ohioans will be allowed to cool off in their community pools as the summer heat arrives, water parks and amusement parks will have to wait for guidelines from the state’s travel and tourism advisory group to reopen, Husted said.

Husted also announced other sectors and state services that will reopen in May. Bureaus of Motor Vehicles across the state will reopen May 26 for necessary purposes, such as needing to replace a lost license for employment purposes. Campgrounds can reopen “completely” May 21 with specific cleaning guidelines and horse racing can resume May 22 without spectators. Casinos and racinos — gambling facilities connected to horse race tracks — will not be allowed to reopen with horse racing.

This story was updated with university-specific information at 7:18 p.m.