Health Director Signs “Stay at Home Tonight Order”
On Tuesday during his usual press conference, Governor DeWine announced that Health Director Stephanie McCloud would be issuing an order creating a statewide curfew between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am. The “Stay at Home Tonight Order,” issued by the Director today, took effect this morning, November 19, 2020 at 12:01 am. The order will remain in effect for 21 days.
While Ohioans are directed to remain in their residences during the curfew, the order contains a number of exceptions such as to seek medical care, obtain groceries and necessary supplies, obtain fuel, obtain social services, go to work, and take care of others. The order does not apply to government services.
It is our interpretation that nothing in the order prohibits businesses from remaining open during the curfew. The order applies to individual Ohioans, not places of business.
Columbus/Franklin County Issue Stay-at-Home Advisory
Yesterday, the City of Columbus and Franklin County issued a Stay-at-Home Advisory urging citizens to work from home if possible, limit their travel and contact with individuals outside their household, and encourage businesses, notably retailers, to offer contactless, online, and curbside options. The advisory will be effective at 6:00 pm on Friday, November 20, 2020 and extend through December 18, 2020, with the option for an extension contingent upon hospital capacity, staffing, and other considerations. A copy of the advisory can be found here.
City officials did mention the advisory could become an order if cases continue to rise or if compliance is found lacking. The announcement comes as Columbus has seen a precipitous rise in cases and hospitalizations the last several weeks. Several other municipalities including Akron, Cleveland and Dayton have issued similar orders.
For questions, please contact Alex Boehnke at AlexB@ohioretailmerchants.com or call 614-221-7833.
House Advances Two Bills Aimed at Keeping Business Open, Preventing Shutdowns, Curtailing Health Orders
This week, the Ohio House took swift action on two pieces of legislation, House Bill 621 and Senate Bill 311. If enacted, the bills could greatly alter the administration’s ability to shutdown segments of the economy.
Yesterday, the House passed HB 621, “The Business First Act,” by a vote of 75-11. The bill stipulates that any business that can meet the health, safety, and sanitation requirements under COVID-19-related health orders can stay open. The goal of the bill is to prevent the “essential” vs. “non-essential” designations which kept only certain businesses open during the initial shutdown. The Council supports this legislation. The bill will now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Today, the House also passed Senate Bill 311, which would greatly curtail the Ohio Department of Health’s ability to issue orders requiring citizens to isolate or quarantine, shutdown industries, and conduct contact tracing. The bill passed by a vote of 58-30. It will now be sent to the Governor, who has stated his opposition to both proposals and threatened he would use his veto power to prevent them from becoming law.