By Kate Hickner

During today’s COVID-19 Daily Briefing, Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, announced the following timeline for reopening certain Ohio businesses as part of the state’s Responsible Restart Ohio plan:

  • On May 1, all healthcare procedures that do not require an overnight stay may move forward, including dental and veterinarian services
  • On May 4, manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses will reopen
  • Also on May 4, general offices will open, however, companies are asked to permit employees to work remotely if practical, with Gov. DeWine noting, “We still want people to work from home as much as possible.”
  • On May 12, consumer retail and services will open

The state has issued mandatory and recommended best practices for the businesses.

The state guidance also emphasizes precautions required of all businesses, including certain actions that must be taken when a COVID-19 infection is identified.

Gov. DeWine said the plan is based on the need to balance the dangers of COVID-19 with the dangers of people not working. During the five-week period ending April 18, 965,000 Ohioans filed initial jobless claims. According to Lt. Governor Jon Husted, 446,000 Ohioans have been serviced by the Ohio unemployment program thus far, with the state paying out $1.24 billion in benefits. For those who have not yet received their benefits, benefits will be backdated.

Ohio’s Stay at Home Order remains in place, and gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted. Gov. DeWine noted that today’s announcement is just the beginning, and that these efforts are designed to move the state forward without falling back and seeing a large spike in COVID-19 cases. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the change in daily reported cases in the state has decreased each of the last five days.

As described further on the Responsible Restart Ohio website, the following businesses and operations will remain closed per the existing Stay at Home Orders indefinitely until further notice:

  • K-12 schools
  • Restaurants and bars (except for carry-out and delivery services)
  • Personal appearance and beauty services (e.g., hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, massage therapy locations and similar businesses)
  • Older adult day care services and senior centers
  • Adult day support or vocational habilitation services in congregate settings
  • Rooming and boarding houses, as well as workers’ camps
  • Entertainment/recreation/gymnasium sites (e.g., indoor and outdoor places of public amusement, gambling industries, auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, movie theatres, performance theatres, and concert and music halls, public recreation centers and indoor sports facilities, parades, fairs, festivals, and carnivals, amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor water parks, children’s play centers, playgrounds, and funplexes, aquariums, zoos, museums, historical sites, and similar institutions, country clubs and social clubs, spectator sports, recreational sports tournaments and organized recreational sports leagues, health clubs, fitness centers, workout facilities, gyms, and yoga studios, swimming pools, whether public or private, except swimming pools for single households, residential and day camps and, subject to certain exceptions, campgrounds)

Regarding the operations noted above that will remain closed, Gov. DeWine said, “we must first start down the pathway of opening things up where we thought there was less risk and a more controllable risk. As long as we aren’t seeing numbers that are terribly alarming, we’ll be able to move down that pathway.”

KJK’s attorneys are staying abreast of developments in this area and are available to respond to any questions that you may have. Additionally, for our valued clients, we will be making a manual available that incorporates the state’s new rules as well as best practices from OSHA and the CDC.