Ohio businesses move towards a slow and restricted reopening

On April 30, Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued a new “Stay Safe Ohio” order that replaced the previous stay at home order and eased certain business operation restrictions. Although the order directs Ohioans to remain home, select businesses and operations in the state are permitted to reopen so long as all workplace safety standards and social distancing requirements are met.

After several days of confusion surrounding reopening requirements, Dr. Acton’s order lays out the protocols employers and employees must follow when open. Businesses must require all employees to wear facial coverings, except under limited circumstances, such as when the employee works alone in an assigned work area. All businesses, including those that are fully operational and businesses engaged in minimum basic operations, must comply with social distancing requirements by: (1) designating six-foot distances for employees and customers; (2) providing sanitizing products; (3) implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers; and (4) posting when the business is open and how best to reach the facility.

At this time the following businesses and operations are prohibited from reopening:

  • Schools
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, tattoo parlors and barber shops
  • Adult day support or vocational habilitation services in a congregate setting
  • Older adult day care services and senior centers
  • Child care services
  • Entertainment, recreation and gymnasiums

For a timeline of when each business may reopen, please visit our April 27 article.

Despite various businesses throughout the state being permitted to reopen, Dr. Acton’s order urges residents to remain home whenever possible. If individuals do leave their residence they must maintain social distancing of at least six feet and refrain from any public gathering of more than ten people, with limited exceptions. In addition, the Department of Health‘s order allows for travel in and out of Ohio but persons entering the state are asked to self-quarantine for fourteen days.

To ensure immediate compliance, employers should take the following actions:

  • Encourage employees to work from home and remain home if they feel ill
  • Ensure that sick policies are up to date and flexible
  • Perform enhanced environmental cleaning of common areas
  • Be prepared to change business practices to maintain critical operations
  • Comply with all applicable federal and state guidelines

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 or have any questions with respect to Ohio’s phased reopening or if your business needs assistance with understanding state requirements and implementing reopening procedures, please contact one of the attorneys listed below.

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