May 1st, 2020

Coronavirus Update – May 1, 2020

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This morning, the Governor’s office released the new “Director’s Stay Safe Ohio Order,” signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, which became effective at 11:59 pm last night. We owe a debt of gratitude to Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted for their recognition that Ohio needs to get back to the business of doing business, as long as we implement the appropriate precautions to ensure that customers and employees are protected from infection. Their leadership during this crisis has been nationally recognized but more importantly, greatly appreciated by businesses in the Buckeye State.
 
The order begins by acknowledging that the “sacrifices and incredible efforts that Ohioans have undertaken make it possible to begin to lift the mandatory requirements and restrictions” but adds that “…these orders set forth the minimum acts that must be taken and if people do more than the minimum to act safely, it will benefit everyone.”
 
Specifically, the order permits:
 
  • Elective surgeries and medical procedures that don’t require an overnight stay to resume Thursday, April 30 at 11:59 pm;
  • Retail establishments and facilities ordered closed by the original order to utilize curbside pickup, delivery or appointment-only (limited to 10 customers at any one time) effective Friday, May 1 at 11:59 pm;
  • Manufacturing, distribution and construction ordered closed by the original order to reopen on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 am;
  • General office environments ordered closed by the original order to reopen on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 am; and
  • Retail establishments and facilities ordered closed by the original order to reopen on Tuesday, May 12 at 12:01 am.
 
The order also identifies the businesses that must remain closed until further notice, including restaurants and bars.
 
Each sector identified above must adhere to section 20 of the order, “General COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses and Employers” and section 21 of the order, “Sector Specific COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses/Employers.”
 
In addition, beginning May 12 for retail establishments and facilities, all employees must wear a face covering at work except for one of the following reasons:
 
  • It is prohibited by law or regulation;
  • It is in violation of documented industry standards;
  • It is not advisable for health reasons;
  • It is in violation of the business’s documented safety policies;
  • The employee works alone in an assigned work area; or
  • There is a functional/practical reason for an employee not to wear one.
 
For each instance where an exception is utilized by an employer on behalf of one or more employees, written justification for the exception(s) must be provided to the local health department upon request. It is advisable to also have documentation available that supports the exception being claimed such as a copy of the applicable law or regulation, information from an industry manual, a letter from a doctor, etc.
 
All social distancing requirements from the original order remain in effect:
 
  • Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals (using signage, tape, etc.);
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer;
  • Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands);
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
  • Not shaking hands; and
  • Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.
 
Local health departments and local law enforcement will remain the governmental entities that will be monitoring businesses for compliance and enforcing the requirements of the order. Businesses will still have the option of challenging local determinations that conflict with other local determinations (or the lack thereof) by submitting an online dispute resolution request form to the Ohio Department of Health to request a final and binding determination by the Ohio Stay at Home Order Dispute Resolution Commission.
 
We will continue to work closely with the DeWine/Husted Administration on the gradual reopening of businesses in Ohio with the goal of returning to normal operations as soon as possible, understanding that maintaining the necessary safeguards to protect customers and employees going forward is of the utmost importance.
 
If you have any questions, please contact us at info@ohioretailmerchants.com or call 614-221-7833.
 


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