By Jim Sammon, Kyle Stroup & Janet Stewart

On May 7, 2020, Governor DeWine announced that the personal services industry (i.e. hair salons, spas, nail salons, barbershops and tanning facilities), as well as the restaurant and bar industries may reopen under certain requirements on May 15, 2020. While Ohioans are anxious to have their hair cut and enjoy a good meal with friends and family, it is important to note that businesses in these industries, as well as their customers, must comply with a wide array of mandates derived from Ohio’s social distancing requirements and Responsible RestartOhio’s working groups.


The personal services industry and restaurant and bar industry must comply with many of the same mandates in order to reopen. All employees in the industries must perform daily symptom assessments, which should include monitoring temperatures, breathing, muscle aches, headaches, and new loss of taste or smell. Symptomatic employees are required to stay at home and symptomatic patrons are not allowed to enter the establishment.

High-touch areas, such as light switches, door handles, menus, pens and chairs must be sanitized frequently. Personal handwashing and sanitizing must occur frequently, and proper sanitizer must be available in common areas.

Maximum capacities for businesses should be reevaluated in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and state restrictions. Employees must also maintain a six-foot distance between one another and no more than 10 people may congregate in the same area at one time.


Notably, many of the reopening requirements for the personal services industry are similar to those already established and in place for other Ohio industries. Businesses in the personal services industry must set certain hours of operation for high-risk populations and place relevant Ohio Department of Health signage throughout the establishment.

Further, maintaining appropriate social distancing of at least six feet—and installing of barriers where such distancing cannot be maintained—will also be required for establishments in the personal services industry, with exceptions for distance between client and employee while the service is being provided. This exception addresses the necessary reality that close proximity between employee and client in the personal services industry is all but guaranteed in light of the services being provided.

In order to protect both client and employee, all employees in the personal services industry will be required to wear, at a minimum, cloth facial coverings (covering the nose, mouth and chin), unless an identified exception for health, safety, industry, practical or regulatory reasons applies. Upon request, businesses must provide written justification detailing why an employee is not required to wear a facial covering in the workplace. In addition, single-use materials must be disposed of between clients, chairs and equipment must be cleaned before and after each use and high-contact surfaces must be disinfected hourly. Where possible, gloves should be worn by employees and disposed of between tasks. If it is not possible to wear gloves, employees must appropriately wash their hands between tasks.

Clients and patrons must be permitted to use facial coverings while in a personal services industry establishment, unless a particular health, safety or security consideration is applicable. In order reduce the number of people in each establishment at any given time, only clients will be allowed entry for their service, and they are not to be accompanied by guests, with the exception of a caregiver, where necessary. Magazines and other non-essential items which cannot be disinfected are to be removed from waiting areas, as are self-serve beverage and refreshment stations and client-accessed product testers. Where possible, merchandise is to be cleaned before stocking.

For those in the personal services industry, maintaining complete and accurate appointment and walk-in records is also required in order to assist in contact tracing, to the extent a need for the same arises. If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at an establishment, those who are symptomatic at work should be immediately isolated and instructed to seek medical care. The local health department should be contacted in the case of a suspected case or exposure and, if possible, the affected area of the establishment should be closed and a deep sanitation conducted.

In addition, personal services industry establishments can mandate their own additional safety measures, including requiring clients and patrons to wear appropriate facial coverings, operating on an appointment-only basis and asking clients to wait outside in their vehicle until their scheduled appointment.

All establishments in the personal services industry must also continue to comply with all other industry-specific sanitation, cleanliness and disinfection laws, regulations and requirements.


There are few better feelings than sitting at a restaurant, enjoying a good meal in the company of good friends and family. Ohioans can begin experiencing that feeling again with outdoor seating beginning on May 15, 2020, and indoor seating on May 21, 2020. But Ohioans must do so while abiding by Ohio’s social distancing requirments. The onus is not just on the patrons, but the restaurants and bars are also responsible for implementing certain requirments outlined by Columbus here.

The overarching theme of the requirments is that restaurants and bars must comply with social distancing requirements. Meaning, current party sizes can be no greater than 10 and each table and its guests must be at least six feet away from adjacent tables and their guests. Where the six-foot distance cannot be attained, physical barriers must be constructed to separate tables. Private dining and bar seating must also comply with these requirements.

Restaurants and bars must ensure that there is a minimum of six feet between employees. Where the six-foot distance is not attainable, physical barriers for employees are required if applicable. Employees must also increase the frequency of handwashing, sanitizing and surface cleaning. Businesses must require all employees to wear facial coverings, except when facial coverings are (i) prohibited by law or regulation (ii) in violation of documented industry standards; (ii) not advisable for health reasons; (iv) in violation of the business’s documented safety policies; (v) not required when the employee works alone in an assigned work area; or (vi) not in compliance with a practical reason for an employee to wear a facial covering in the workplace. Upon request, a business must provide written explanation justifying why an employee is not required to wear a facial covering.

Employees must perform daily symptom assessments, which should include temperature checks, monitoring breathing or shortness of breath and assessing for fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. For employees experiencing symptoms, businesses must require symptomatic employees to stay at home.

Restaurants and bars must also provide ServSafe or other approved COVID-19 education as soon as possible and add COVID-19 symptoms to the current standard Health Agreement required by the food safety code. Restaurants and bars are required to continue complying with the Ohio Administrative Code and public health requirements.

In line with social distancing requirements, restaurant and bar employees cannot congregate in groups larger than 10 for the time being. For example, no more than 10 employees can be in a break room at the same time. The physical restaurant and bar spaces must also be reorganized to comply with social distancing requirments. To do so, an updated COVID-19 floor plan should be created, accounting for the maximum party size of 10. Kitchen floor plans should also comply with the six-foot distance between employees and account for the 10-person maximum in any one area.

Masks and gloves should be worn by employees and guests in compliance with state health department guidance. The restaurant or bar must be cleaned daily, including sanitizing of tabletops, chairs and menus between seating guests at the same table. All high-touch areas must be cleaned every two hours and more frequently as needed; these areas include door handles, light switches, phone, pens and touch screens. Approved hand washing or sanitizing products must be readily available in common areas.

Patrons should have assigned areas for ordering and to wait while their table is prepared. Self-service, table and common area items, such as lemons, straws and condiments, must be removed. Self-service, such as unlimited salad bars and buffets, are permitted only if served by staff with the same six-foot distance between parties. Common areas in restaurants and bars that are not necessary for food preparation and service, such as arcade games, dancing and billiards, must remain closed.

If a coronavirus case is confirmed, employees and patrons should immediately isolate and seek medical care for individuals who exhibit symptoms. Local health officials must be contacted so that exposure to the virus can be assessed and suspected cases can be monitored. The restaurant or bar area should also be shut down for a deep sanitation if possible.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Jim Sammon at or 216.736.7235, Kyle Stroup at or 216.736.7231 or Janet Stewart at or 216.736.7261.