In his daily press briefing Monday, Governor Mike DeWine declared a hiring freeze for State of Ohio employees to, in part, deal with the revenue shortfall caused by the statewide “Stay at Home” shutdown due to the Chinese Virus outbreak.
“State revenue will continue to go down dramatically and it’s important as governor that we take action now and not wait,” DeWine said.
In addition to new hires, the governor halted pay increases and promotions for state of Ohio unclassified and exempt staff and a freeze on new contract services for the state of Ohio – with the exception for those services that are necessary for the emergency response.
State agencies must also work to cut unnecessary spending up to 20 percent for the remainder of this fiscal year and next fiscal year.
According to a statement posted after the briefing, the only exceptions are for positions that provide a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety and security, and direct care or institutional services.
During questions from the press, DeWine was asked if abortions were still being considered as elective surgeries that fell under his previous order to stop all unessential elective surgeries in the state. The governor referred reporters to his previous order and added that he wouldn’t be going back and forth with this topic.
When pressed the Governor stated the order was clear, DeWine stated Attorney General Dave Yost – who made news with his letter Friday warning surgical abortion providers to cease their services during the pandemic – would be the one to provide the public with that information.
Starting Tuesday, the Ohio “Stay at Home” order is in full effect.
“If you fall under an exception and you are essential services, then certainly you can in fact stay open. If your in the supply chain for essential service, you obviously can stay open as well,” the governor said; adding, “If you do not fall in the category of essential service, essential production, and you’re not in that supply chain, than of course you will have to close at 11:59 tonight.”
Watch the full press briefing here:
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Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.