On Monday, April 27th Governor DeWine announced a plan to Restart Ohio, which will be a phased in approach for the types of industries and businesses on the dates specified below. Of note, Governor DeWine’s initial announcement Monday was that face coverings were going to be a requirement for employees and clients/customers. On Tuesday, the requirement to wear a face covering was modified to a recommendation. On Wednesday, this guidance was again changed to employees would be required to wear face coverings, but it would only be a recommendation for clients/customers. (In regard to the required use of face coverings for employees see further guidance on this below)
Prior to either expanding operations of companies that have remained open or those who will re-open, all companies must carefully review the Protocols for All Businesses and their Industry Specific Protocols and take appropriate actions to ensure they will have appropriate plans in place to initially meet and then sustain these requirements to remain open. Some key recommendations to be in place would include having an adequate supply of sanitization supplies, internally defined COVID19 protocols and procedures and employee communications and training plans. For additional recommendations, please refer to our prior COVID19 Blog Employer Guidance on State Re-Openings and the Return to Partial or Full Operations.
Protocols for All Businesses1
- Require face coverings for employees and recommend them for clients/customers at all times.
- Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
- Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.
- Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
- Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.
- Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code.
- And, use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion.
Employee Face Covering Requirements
The most current guidance from the Governor’s office regarding the employee requirement to wear face coverings are specified below. Face coverings would still be mandated for employees unless:
- An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job
- A face covering is not advisable for health purposes
- Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practice
- Wearing a face covering violates a company’s safety policies
- There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn
- An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed work-space.
If any of these exceptions apply to your business, or one of your employees, written justification must be provided upon request.
Employers Must Take the Following Actions When a COVID-19 Infection is Identified
- Immediately report employee or customer infections to your local health district.2
- Work with local health department to identify potentially exposed individuals to help facilitate appropriate communication/contact tracing 3. Note: As of the time of this blog update, there is conflicting guidance on the Restart Ohio website; contact tracing is listed as a requirement in the All Business Protocols and a recommended / best practice for Industry Specific Protocols.
- Shutdown shop/floor for deep sanitation if possible.
- Professionally clean and sanitize site/location.
- Reopen in consultation with the local health department.
Healthcare and Related – Re-Opening May 14
All procedures that were previously allowed in the March 17 order will continue, but all healthcare procedures specified as follows that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital may move forward:
- This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, outpatient surgeries, diagnostic testing and imaging, dental procedures, and veterinary visits.
- Anything that requires hands-on care in a doctor, dentist, or veterinary office that does not require an overnight stay, may move forward.
- Telehealth services should continue to be utilized if possible.
- Prioritization should be given to those who have delayed needed procedures or those with new diagnoses.
All healthcare providers and facilities who resume these services must demonstrate that they are committed to patient and staff safety by adhering to infection control practices, by having a sufficient inventory of personal protection equipment, and by having the ability to test patients and/or staff according to testing recommendations defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or ODH.
Manufacturing, Distribution & Construction – Re-Opening May 4
Manufacturing, Distribution & Construction firms can re-open if they have not already been open through the pandemic. In addition to the Protocols for All Businesses specified above, the following mandatory sector-specific guidelines must also be followed: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Manufacturing-Distribution-Construction.pdf
Office Settings – Re-Opening May 4
General Office settings can reopen; however, work-at-home is recommended as much as possible. In addition to the Protocols for All Businesses specified above, the following mandatory sector-specific guidelines must also be followed: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/General-Office-Environments.pdf
Consumer & Retail – Re-Opening May 12
Consumer retail and general services can reopen (except those listed below in “Continued Business Closures”). In addition to the Protocols for All Businesses specified above, the following mandatory sector-specific guidelines must also be followed: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Consumer-Retail-Services.pdf
Continued Business Closures
Dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, hair salons, and spas will not re-open by May 12 and no timeline has yet to be established regarding the reopening of these businesses. For a full list of businesses that will remained closed until further notice can be found on the link below for Continued Business Closures5: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Continued-Business-Closures.pdf
Continuation of the Stay at Home Order / Large Gatherings
Although numerous business will be permitted to reopen as long as the above requirements are observed, the Ohio Stay at Home order will remain in effect to encourage Ohioans to continue making reasonable, rational decisions about leaving home.
Although anyone is susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19, those who are 65 or older are encouraged to be especially careful, as are those with high-risk conditions such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised or obese. Large gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.
Note: These Restarting Ohio Requirements and Guidelines – May 2020 are intended as an employer reference guide only and not intended to serve as either legal or medical advice. Any legal questions should be directed to legal counsel and medical questions should be directed to an appropriate medical provider.