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Responsible Restart Ohio –the Gradual Reopening of the State

By Eric Michener

April 28, 2020

UPDATE - April 29, 2020, 11:30 a.m.: Without prior announcement, the information regarding "recommended" versus "mandatory" masking for employees has changed on the Coronavirus.ohio.gov information portal. 

Please see our updated post, "To Mask or Not to Mask, that is the Question," for updated information on this topic.

 

On Monday, April 27, 2020, Governor DeWine outlined his plans to begin gradually reopening the State’s economy, referring to it as “Responsible Restart Ohio.”  Over the next few weeks, the State is going to allow several categories of businesses to begin operating again.

On May 1, 2020, the State will allow healthcare businesses to open, including, doctors’ offices, dentists, and veterinarians.  In addition, the State is modifying its previous order that prevented elective surgeries.  The State will now allow all elective procedures or surgeries to be done, as long as they do not require an overnight hospital stay.

On May 4, 2020, the State will open up the next category of businesses.  It will allow the rest of manufacturers, distributors, and construction companies that had not been allowed to operate to begin business again.  On the same date, businesses with general office environments that had not been deemed essential will be allowed to open.

Finally, on May 12, 2020, consumer, retail, and services businesses will be allowed to open.  These businesses will have to obey the same protocols as the other businesses, but will also have to ensure that their customers use face coverings when they are in the company’s store.

As part of the new plan each business in Ohio, including those deemed essential that are currently open for business, will have to comply with the “COVID-19 Responsible Protocols.”  Most of these protocols are not new and were required for businesses that are currently operating.

They include:

1) The requirement to conduct daily health assessments.

2) The requirement of maintaining good hygiene through hand washing and social distancing.

3) The requirement to clean and sanitize workplaces throughout the workday and at the end of shifts.

4) The requirement to limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines, which includes establishing a maximum capacity at 50% of the fire code.

There is one new recommendation that was not previously explicit:

5) The recommendation that all employees wear face coverings/masks while at work.

In addition to these general mandates that apply to every business, there are several requirements that are tailored to specific categories of businesses.  A detailed list of requirements for each type of business can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/responsible-restart-ohio/Sector-Specific-Operating-Requirements.

There are several businesses that are not being allowed to reopen at this time.  The reopening does not include restaurants, fitness centers, daycares, salons, or other businesses where social distancing would be impractical.  A complete list of businesses that are not being allowed to reopen can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/responsible-restart-ohio/Continued-Business-Closures/Continued-Business-Closures.  At his press conference, Governor DeWine refused to speculate on when these businesses may open up, but said the State would be analyzing the data from the partial reopening before making any decisions about expanding the type of businesses that could reopen.

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