Ohio Health Director Continues “Stay at Home Order” Through May 1, 2020

In COVID-19 Information Hub by Coolidge Wall

On Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor DeWine announced an Amended “Stay at Home” Order issued by Ohio Health Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH (the “Amended Order”). The Amended Order extends the original Order’s two-week restrictions on the ability of individuals in Ohio to leave their residences, this time through May 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Additionally, the Amended Order continues the prior Order’s prohibition on the operation of non-essential businesses and operations. The same exemptions for businesses operating as “essential businesses and operations” created under the initial Order still apply.

Notably, the Amended Order provides some new requirements for stores that sell groceries and medicine, new restrictions on entering the State of Ohio from out of state, and a Dispute Resolution Commission available to businesses to resolve conflicts related to the enforcement of the Amended Order.

Below are the new details contained within the Amended Order.

Effective date: April 6, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

End date: May 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM (unless rescinded or modified).

Stores that sell groceries and medicine must establish and enforce a maximum occupancy number for each of their locations. Grocery stores, pharmacies, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, prepared food, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products), must now determine and enforce the maximum capacity of persons permitted in any store, so that all persons in the store at one time may safely and comfortably maintain a six-foot distance from each other.

Every store must now place prominent displays at every entrance, indicating the maximum capacity number. Additionally, every store shall ensure that baskets and shopping carts are properly cleaned between each customer use. If a line forms inside or outside the store, a six-foot distance must be maintained between those not residing in the same household.

New restrictions on individuals entering or re-entering the State of Ohio. The Amended Order continues to permit travel into or out of the State for the purpose of maintaining essential businesses and operations and minimum basic operations. However, pursuant to the Amended Order, individuals entering the State with the intent to stay are asked to self-quarantine for fourteen days. There is an exception for individuals who normally live in one state and work or use essential services in another state. This new fourteen-day self-quarantine restriction is an “ask” and not a requirement.

However, non-resident individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are exhibiting symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC, are not permitted to enter the State, except pursuant to medical orders for the purpose of medical care.

Creation of a new Dispute Resolution Commission. The Amended Order creates a Dispute Resolution Commission appointed by the Director of Health to review conflicts that arise from the interpretation, application and enforcement of the Amended Order, in particular with reference to determinations of whether a business is an “Essential Business and Operation.” If any local health department issues an enforcement determination that is in conflict with a determination issued by a different local health department, the conflict may be submitted to the Ohio Department of Health by either of the local health departments or by an entity or person subject to the determination. The Dispute Resolution Commission will then review the conflict and resolve the disparity. The decision of the Dispute Resolution Commission will be final.

As noted above, the Amended Order will expire on May 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM, unless extended or modified before then.

The Labor and Employment lawyers at Coolidge Wall will post additional analysis about employer responsibilities under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as information updates on other federal and state developments related to the coronavirus outbreak. Should you have specific questions, please contact us.

Contributing attorneys:
Marc L. Fleischauer
David P. Pierce
Benjamin A. Mazer