By Kirsten Mooney & Rob Gilmore

mask orderOhio Governor Mike Dewine held a special press conference Wednesday to address the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. He called on all Ohioans to recommit to their individual efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Ohio moves through the most intense and dangerous third wave of cases. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state saw a record number of positive coronavirus cases, with 7,101 cases reported Thursday, November 12. The previous record was 6,508 cases in one day.

While most businesses have properly complied with the COVID-19 safety guidelines, others have not. Thus, as an additional precaution, the Governor announced Wednesday that he will be reissuing the mask order for all Ohio businesses with the following new provisions:

  1. Each establishment will be required to post a Face Covering Requirement sign at all public entrances;
  2. Each establishment will be responsible for ensuring that all customers and employees are wearing masks; and
  3. A new Retail Compliance Unit, made up of agents led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, will inspect establishments to ensure compliance. A first violation will result in a written warning and a second violation will result in the closing of the store for up to 24 hours.

“We know that masks work,” Governor DeWine said. “They are the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

In addition to these new provisions of the mask order, DeWine maintained that Ohio’s April order limiting public events and private gatherings of 10 or more people is still in effect. He noted that we have seen a large increase in cases following social gatherings, including banquets, wedding receptions and gatherings following funerals. To address these, the Ohio Department of Health plans to also issue an order that will place new and more severe restrictions on these social gatherings. This order should be available within the next few days.

The Governor explicitly stated that bars, restaurants and fitness centers may remain open at this time. However, he will reassess this decision on Thursday, November 19. If the current upward trend continues, bars, restaurants and fitness centers will be forced to close. The Governor said that, in that event, “we will be forced to make these closures. I am very well aware of the burden this will place on employees and owners, but these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which we know now is the chief way of slowing this virus.”

KJK is actively monitoring the Governor’s new orders and will provide updates as they are made available. For more information, contact Rob Gilmore ( / 216.736.7240), Kirsten Mooney ( / 216.736.7239) or any of our Labor & Employment professionals.