By Shawn Ray, MPH, RS
Noble County Health Department
Governor DeWine unveiled his plans early last week to “Responsibly Restart Ohio” during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Responsible Restart Ohio” allows more Ohioans to return to work, thus more people back into circulation within the community. With that increased circulation, increased safety measures are being placed upon employers to prevent new outbreaks. “Responsible Restart Ohio” is about protecting the health of employees, customers and their families; supporting community efforts to control the spread of the virus; and, responsibly getting Ohio back to work.
The Ohio Director of Health on March 22 ordered that “Non-Essential business and operations must cease.” With this week’s announcement; starting May 1, all health procedures that can be done without an overnight hospital stay or do not require inpatient hospital admission may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dentists and veterinarians may also open if a safe environment can be established. Beginning May 4, office workplaces can reopen, along with manufacturing, distribution and construction services. All businesses must follow strict health protocols if they choose to reopen, which include: requiring face coverings/mask for all employees, recommending them for clients and customers, implementing strict social distancing guidelines, limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines, cleaning workplaces throughout the day, and conducting daily health assessments of employees. Office personnel should work from home if possible. On Tuesday, May 12, consumer, retail and service businesses can open as well, if they can follow those same guidelines mentioned above.
The following businesses and operations are to remain closed per existing Stay at Home Orders: Schools, daycares, personal appearance and beauty businesses, older adult day care services and senior centers, adult day support or vocational habilitation services in group settings, entertainment and amusement facilities, parades, fairs and spectator sports, campgrounds, restaurants, bars, and gyms. Restaurants and bars that have been operating with only carry out and delivery options are still permitted. For greater detail on the types of businesses that must stay closed, visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ResponsibleRestartOhio.
On May 1, the Noble County Health Commissioner issued Public Health Orders to ensure consistency in the Required Safe Business Practices for Getting Back to Work. The five requirements mentioned earlier include:
- Face covering requirements mandatory for employees with some exceptions. Recommended for clients/customers.
- Conduct daily health assessments. Employers and employees self evaluate to determine if fit for duty.
- Maintain good hygiene. At all times, wash hands and social distance.
- Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout the workday and at close of business or between shifts.
- Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines. Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code and use appointment setting when possible to limit congestion.
There are six exceptions to the employee face cover requirement. These can be found in the orders on the Noble County Health Department website, www.noblecohd.org. If an exception is used, it must be documented with evidence supporting the reason or the exception. These orders will begin with start of business on May 4, 2020, for all business and government entities in Noble County that are allowed to be in operation on that date. If a business or government cannot meet these requirements, they cannot be open for business.
Because the danger of COVID-19 still exists, Ohio’s stay-at-home order, will remain in place through at least the end of the month with modifications. The state will continue its ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Ohioans are encouraged to continue making reasonable, rational decisions about leaving home.