July 7th, 2020

Coronavirus Update – July 7, 2020

Coronavirus Update – July 7, 2020
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Governor Mandates Face Coverings for Level 3-4 Counties, Extends All Other Health Orders
During his biweekly press conference, Governor DeWine announced today a new public health order that will become effective tomorrow at 6:00 pm. Individuals age 10 and older in all Alert Level 3-4 Public Emergency-designated counties will be required to wear a face covering in all public buildings, places of business open to the public and while using public or private transportation services. There are currently seven Alert Level 3 (red) counties—Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull. There are exceptions to the face covering requirement that are virtually identical to those already included in previous orders. Businesses will not be required to enforce the face covering requirement but are strongly urged to encourage customers to do so.

 

Please be advised that this new face covering order from the state in no way preempts local governments from enacting more stringent requirements that could include business enforcement and/or penalties for non-compliance.

 

The Governor also announced the indefinite extension of all other COVID-19 health orders that were set to expire at 11:59 pm today. He stated that the recent surge in positive cases warrants the continuation of these orders. The signed order is not yet available for review. It will be posted on the state’s coronavirus website. Tomorrow you can use this link, click on “Ohio Department of Health” then “July” to find today’s order.

Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus Follow Dayton in Mandating Face Coverings
Last Friday, July 3, the Cincinnati City Council voted 7-2 to enact an ordinance requiring employees and individuals to wear face coverings inside businesses, government buildings and when using public or commercial transportation. The requirement will take effect on July 9 to give individuals and businesses time to prepare for compliance. Executive orders mandating face coverings in public issued by the mayors of Cleveland and Columbus along with a City of Dayton ordinance went into effect last Friday. Last night, Columbus City Council voted unanimously in passing a face covering ordinance that went into effect this morning, superseding the Mayor’s order. Cuyahoga County Council has announced the intention to introduce a county-wide ordinance and Cleveland City Council is expected to introduce an ordinance at their next regular meeting on July 15.

The locations in which masks need to be worn and the exemptions for not having to wear one are relatively consistent among the cities with minor variances. Unlike Cincinnati and Dayton, the Columbus ordinance places an enforcement burden upon businesses, prohibiting them from selling anything to an individual not wearing a face covering.

The Cincinnati ordinance gives the Cincinnati Health Department the authority to issue citations of $25 for individuals and businesses found to not be non-compliant. The City is promoting a phone number for people to contact the Health Department to report those not following the requirements of the ordinance. The City of Dayton ordinance provides for an $85 fine for anyone in violation of its requirements. The Columbus ordinance dictates a warning for a first violation by a business or individual. A second violation by an individual, along with subsequent violations, carries a fine of $25. A second violation by a business carries a fine of $500 with subsequent violations increasing to $1,000.

We strongly recommend that our members in these cities post signage conspicuously at the entrance indicating that face coverings are required. If possible, offer masks to those who do not have them. If someone claims that they are exempt, there is no requirement for them to produce documentation. In Columbus, however, failure of an individual to produce documentation of an exempted health condition may still result in a fine.

If you have any questions regarding these city face covering requirements, please feel free to e-mail Lora Miller at loram@ohioretailmerchants.com or Alex Boehnke at alexb@ohioretailmerchants.com, or call us at 614-221-7833.


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