Ohio Department of Health modifies the Stay Safe Ohio Order: What actually changed?

On Wednesday, May 20, Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued a new director’s order that rescinds and modifies portions of the Stay Safe Ohio Order. The director’s order, which does not completely lift the Stay Safe Ohio order, makes multiple amendments and rescissions that further ease restrictions on Ohio residents and businesses. The following provides guidance regarding which sections and restrictions of the Stay Safe Ohio order businesses and individuals must continue to follow.

What changed under the new order?

  • Stay at home or place of residence – Section 3 of the Stay Safe Ohio order, which required individuals residing within the state of Ohio to remain at their place of residence, was rescinded by the director’s order. Instead, Dr. Acton signed a new Ohioans Protecting Ohioans health advisory which strongly encourages individuals to “rely on their sense of personal responsibility and accountability to others when leaving home,” but no longer requires residents to stay at their place of residence.
  • Prohibited and permitted travel – Section 5 of the Stay Safe Ohio order originally required that all individuals entering the state, with the exception of those entering for critical infrastructure or healthcare workforce purposes, self-quarantine for 14 days. The new order amends this section and provides that only persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms are prohibited from entering the state, unless doing so for purposes of medical care or are a permanent resident.

What restrictions do I still have to follow?

  • Business and operations to reopen – All businesses must continue to meet workplace safety standards, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public at all times. These restrictions continue to apply to all businesses, including for-profit, nonprofit, educational entities, and governmental entities, regardless of the nature of service.
  • Prohibited activities – Despite the new order, gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited. This restriction does not apply to funerals or religious gatherings. Wedding receptions may now have up to 300 guests so long as proper social distancing guidelines are put in place.
  • Vulnerable individuals – People at high risk of contracting COVID-19, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, are urged to remain home despite the new easing of restrictions.
  • Facial coverings – Business must continue to require all employees to wear facial coverings, with limited exceptions. If an employee is not wearing the required facial covering the business must provide written justification explaining why the employee is not required to wear the covering in the workplace.
  • Social distancing requirements – All business and operations must ensure compliance with the social distancing requirements, including designating six-foot spacing, providing hand sanitizer to employees and customers, implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers, and posting online how best to reach the facility.
  • Sector specific requirements – In addition to the above social distancing requirements, there are various supplementary requirements each sector must continue to follow. Sectors including manufacturing, consumer, retail, and general office environments must adhere to specific requirements listed in the Stay Safe Ohio order, including, but not limited to frequent disinfection of common areas, daily symptom assessment, regular handwashing, staggered shifts, and establish maximum capacity.

The following lays out the current timeline for reopening Ohio businesses:

  • May 15 – Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars; personal services, including salons, spas, massage therapists, tattoo and piercing services
  • May 21 – Indoor dining at restaurants and bars; campgrounds
  • May 22 – Horse racing but with no spectators
  • May 26 – BMVs; gyms, fitness centers and pools
  • May 31 – Day camps and daycares

Other business and entities including schools, rooming and boarding houses, bowling alleys, stadiums, amusement parks, zoos, and aquariums must remain closed.

McDonald Hopkins has a team of professionals dedicated to assisting businesses experiencing financial distress as a result of the coronavirus. Click here for a list of articles focused on providing legal and business solutions to the impact of the coronavirus on your business.

If you need assistance in navigating Ohio’s new guidelines and restrictions, please contact one of the attorneys listed below.

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