Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday, April 2, that Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, would sign an Amended Stay at Home Order to extend through 11:59 p.m. on May 1 (“Order”).
He stated that the anticipated peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio is continuously changing but is presently estimated to be between April 15 and May 15, so the extension beyond the April 6 expiration of the initial Stay at Home Order was necessary. The amended Order, which is effective immediately after its predecessor’s expiration, is largely the same as the state’s previous stay-at-home order but is slightly expanded.
All individuals currently living within Ohio are still ordered to stay at home or their place of residence, except as allowed in the Order. Leaving home for Essential Travel and Essential Activities as set forth in the Order is acceptable.
Only Essential Businesses continue to be permitted to stay open. The CISA Guidance on Essential Infrastructure Workers’ definition of which workers are essential changed on March 28, 2020. The new list now includes the private sector under “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and other First Responders,” added firearm or ammunition product manufacturers and retailers, added landscapers to “Public Works and Infrastructure Support,” creates a new heading of “Commercial Facilities,” added clergy for essential services to “Other Community- or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions”, and broadens applicable services listed under industries such as electricity, finance and communications and information technology, including explicitly listing workers who support the production of microelectronics and semiconductors among other technology industry activities.
While people are permitted to exercise outside, the six-foot social distancing guidelines will be enforced by health officials and law enforcement. The Governor stressed in his April 2 press conference that outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking in state parks could continue, but were examples of activities that would be monitored, and social distancing requirements would be enforced, if necessary.
The scope of the amended Order is expanded, and includes the following:
- Store Capacity Limits: Stores, including supermarkets, need to limit how many people may be permitted inside at once and still safely and comfortably maintain the six-foot social distancing requirement. Businesses must determine their number, prominently post it, and stop people from entering the store once it has been reached.
- If too many people are at a store, those exceeding the permissible limit must wait outside and those lines also require proper social distancing measures.
- Weddings: The state is not going to regulate wedding ceremonies. The state will leave those to the participants’ discretion. The wedding reception; however, must follow the limitation of no more than 10 people.
- Camps and Recreational Sports: Residential and day camps are prohibited, as well as organized recreational sports leagues for adults and youth.
- Swimming Pools: Public or private shall be closed unless for a single household.
- Campgrounds: The Order specifically closes campgrounds with the exception of where a camper or recreational vehicle in a campground serves as someone’s permanent residence and they are unable to secure safe alternative housing.
- Visitor Quarantine: Anyone who visits Ohio “with the intent to stay” is being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, with some exceptions for those who must cross state lines between home and work or obtaining Essential Services.
- Dispute resolution: In the event that two local health departments issue determinations in conflict with one another, for example, with respect to whether a similar business is essential in neighboring counties, the conflict may be submitted to the ODH by either of the local health departments or an entity or person subject to the determination. A Dispute Resolution Commission appointed by the Director of Health will review the conflict and make a final determination as to the application of the Order to the conflict.
The Amended Director’s Stay At Home Order can be found here.