Moving Forward… Responsible Restart, Ohio’s Plan to Lift Restrictions on Businesses

On April 27, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced the first phase of his plan to lift the restrictions on businesses imposed by the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Stay at Home Order and reopen Ohio’s economy.  This first phase of the reopening will occur in three steps, with each step beginning on a different day and easing restrictions on a different sector of the economy.  The state has issued both mandatory and recommended practices for each of these business sectors.  DeWine also listed the types of businesses that are not part of the first phase of the State’s reopening and are to remain closed at this time.

Ohio’s various business segments will be reopened over the following timeframe:

May 1, 2020 – Elective surgical procedures not involving an overnight stay can resume. Dentists and veterinarians can also begin providing services at that time.

May 4, 2020 – Manufacturing, distribution, and construction related businesses can return to work. Additionally, businesses described as “general office environments” can return to work.

May 12, 2020 – Certain consumer, retail, and service business can commence operations.

MAY 1, 2020

On March 17, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health issued an order prohibiting non-essential hospital, medical, dental and veterinary business operations.  Effective Friday, May 1, 2020, the state will ease some of these restrictions.  Specifically, doctors and hospitals will also be allowed to perform medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established.

MEDICAL BUSINESSES

PERMITTED BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Regular doctor visits Well-care checks
Well-baby visits Out-patient surgeries
Imaging procedures Diagnostic tests
Dental services Veterinary services

MANDATORY PROTOCOLS

Healthcare providers and facilities that plan to resume providing these services must:

  • Adhere to infection control practices
  • Have sufficient personal protective equipment
  • Talk with patients about the risk of contracting COVID-19

MAY 4, 2020

On April 2, 2020, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health issued the Amended Director’s Stay at Home Order (“Stay at Home Order”) that prohibited most non-essential business operations. Effective Monday, May 4, 2020, non-essential manufacturing, distribution and construction may resume operations and non-essential business offices may reopen if they are able to meet all of the state’s mandatory safety requirements. The State has also issued recommended safety protocols for these business types.

MANUFACTURING, DISTRIBUTION & CONSTRUCTION

MANDATORY COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Ensure minimum 6 feet between people or, if not possible, install barriers
  • Require employees to perform daily symptom monitoring
  • Require employees stay home if symptomatic
  • Require regular hand washing
  • Require employees wear face coverings, unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices or is not permitted by law
  • Stagger or limit arrival of employees or guests
  • Stagger lunch and break times
  • Personnel should work from home if possible
  • Disinfect desks and workstations daily
  • Perform deep disinfection of high-contact surfaces daily
  • Space factory floor to allow for distancing
  • Regulate the maximum number of people allowed in common spaces
  • Establish maximum capacity
  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for anyone who develops symptoms while at work
  • Contact local health district about suspected cases or exposure
  • If there is a suspected case or exposure shut down facility for deep sanitation if possible

RECOMMENDED COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Require customers wear face-coverings. This recommended protocol had originally been designated as mandatory on April 27, 2020, but the protocol was changed to “recommended” on April 28, 2020.
  • Provide a stipend to employees for private transportation in lieu of public transportation
  • Split the workforce into sub-teams and limit contact between these sub-teams
  • Reduce pace to allow less FTEs per line
  • Close cafeteria and gathering spaces or conduct regular cleaning
  • Deeply disinfect entire facility daily
  • Work with local health department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals and help facilitate contact tracing
  • If testing is available, test all suspected infections or exposures

GENERAL OFFICE ENVIRONMENTS

           MANDATORY COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Ensure minimum 6 feet between people or, if not possible, install barriers
  • Require employees to perform daily symptom monitoring
  • Require employees stay home if symptomatic
  • Require regular hand washing
  • Require employees wear face coverings, unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices or is not permitted by law.
  • Reduce sharing of work materials
  • Limit travel as much as possible
  • Post signage of on health safety guidelines in common areas
  • Stagger or limit arrival of employees or guests
  • Frequently disinfect desks, workstations and high contact surfaces
  • Personnel should work from home if possible
  • Disinfect common areas daily
  • Cancel or postpone in-person events when social distancing guidelines cannot be met
  • No buffet in cafeteria
  • Use disposable tableware and other materials
  • Establish maximum capacity
  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for anyone who develops symptoms while at work
  • Contact local health district about suspected cases or exposure
  • If there is a suspected case or exposure shut down facility for deep sanitation if possible

RECOMMENDED COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Ensure seating distance of six feet or more between persons
  • Enable natural workplace ventilation
  • Provide a health questionnaire for symptoms to employees at entry
  • Impose an employee temperature taking protocol
  • Divide essential staff into groups and establish rotating shifts
  • Close cafeteria and gathering spaces or conduct regular cleaning
  • Keep at least three weeks of cleaning supplies on hand
  • Work with local health department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals and help facilitate contact tracing
  • If testing is available, test all suspected infections or exposures

MAY 12, 2020

 Effective May 12, 2020, consumer, retail and service business that are not included on the State’s Continued Business Closures list (below) may reopen.  The consumer, retail and service businesses allowed to reopen on May 12, 2020, may do so only if they can meet the mandatory safety protocols outlined by the State.  Additionally, the State has issued recommended safety protocols for these consumer, retail and service businesses.

CONSUMER, RETAIL & SERVICE BUSINESSES

MANDATORY COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Ensure minimum 6 feet between all people or, if not possible, install barriers
  • Require employees to perform daily symptom monitoring
  • Require employees stay home if symptomatic
  • Require regular hand washing
  • Require employees wear face coverings, unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices or is not permitted by law
  • Place hand sanitizers in high-contact locations for employee and customer use
  • Clean high touch items like carts or baskets after each use
  • Disinfect high-contact surfaces hourly
  • Clean merchandise before stocking if possible
  • Reserve and specify hours for at-risk populations like the elderly
  • Request customers to not enter if symptomatic
  • Stagger entry of customers or guests
  • Stagger or limit arrival of employees or guests
  • Establish maximum capacity
  • Discontinue self-service food stations and product samples
  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for anyone who develops symptoms while at work
  • Contact local health district about suspected cases or exposure
  • If there is a suspected case or exposure shut down facility for deep sanitation if possible

RECOMMENDED COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Group employees by shift to reduce exposure
  • Provide a health questionnaire for symptoms to employees or customers at entry
  • Provide face coverings on entry
  • Recommend customers wear face coverings while shopping or visiting. This recommended protocol had originally been designated as mandatory on April 27, 2020, but the protocol was changed to “recommended” on April 28, 2020.
  • Accept customers by appointment only where possible
  • Increase availability for curb-side pickup
  • Consider suspending return policies
  • Close once a week for deep cleaning
  • Maximize available checkout space to promote social distancing
  • Use contactless payments where possible
  • Work with local health department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals and help facilitate contact tracing
  • If testing is available, test all suspected infections or exposures

CONTINUED BUSINESS CLOSURES

On April 27, 2020 Governor DeWine also announced that the Stay at Home Order will continue to ban gatherings of more than ten people and to require closures of K-12 schools, places of public amusement and certain other businesses and activities.

While the Stay at Home Order requires closures of these businesses, it will continue to allow these businesses to perform any operations that may be performed by employees working from home. The Stay at Home Order also allows on-site operations for these businesses if such operations are considered “Minimum Basic Operations” and the business follows social distance requirements. The Stay at Home Order defines Minimum Basic Operations as the minimum necessary activities to:

  • Enable employees to work from home;
  • Maintain the value of the business’s inventory;
  • Preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment;
  • Ensure security; or
  • Process payroll and employee benefits

Ohio includes the following types of businesses and operations on its Continued Business Closures list:

  • K-12 schools and daycares
  • Restaurants and bars other than for carry-out or delivery
  • Personal appearance beauty services, including hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, piercing or tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, massage therapy locations, etc.
  • Adult day care centers and senior centers
  • Adult day support or vocational rehabilitation services in congregate settings
  • Rooming and boarding houses and workers’ camps
  • Skating rinks, arcades, bowling alleys, or waterparks
  • Gambling industries
  • Auditoriums, stadiums and arenas
  • Movie or performance theaters and concerts and music halls
  • Public recreation centers and indoor sports facilities
  • Parades, fairs, festivals and carnivals
  • Amusement parks and playgrounds
  • Aquariums, zoos, museums or historic sites
  • 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
  • Indoor or outdoor swimming pools except pools for single households
  • Residential and day camps
  • Recreational campgrounds and RV parks

This client alert is intended for informational purposes only and is a non-exhaustive overview of Ohio’s Responsible Restart plan.  It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please consult with your SMDK attorney to provide you with advice specific to your situation.