Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has issued a statewide curfew as of his press conference Tuesday, Nov. 17. The curfew will last from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. and will continue for 21 days.

During his statewide press conference Wednesday, Nov. 11, Governor DeWine addressed the rising number of coronavirus cases across the state. Every county in the state is currently experiencing a high incidence rate, even those counties who are only at a level 1 emergency.

DeWine put pressure on businesses and retailers to enforce mask orders within their establishments. Stores are now required to post signs stating that face masks are required to enter. A new team dubbed the Retail Compliance Unit is being established to inspect retailers to ensure compliance to mask rules. Members will be comprised of agents from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

The governor again requested that Ohioans refrain from attending large gatherings, an issue that is becoming more prevalent as the days get colder and we approach the holiday season. He asked that masks be worn at any gathering where you are around those you don’t immediately reside with.

Further restrictions to prohibit large gatherings include the closing of open congregate areas. In open air gatherings, all attendees must be seated and wearing their masks unless eating or drinking.

DeWine stated, “If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. Unless Ohio’s case number start to slow down, it looks as if we could be heading for another partial shutdown.”

Since the press conference, DeWine has announced that Ohio Department of Health’s Interim Director Lance Himes has signed a health order with the goal of enforcing mask wearing in retail stores across the state. The details of the order are as follows:

Retail Locations

  • All retailers must post and enforce a sign indicating that masks are required at all entrances. Employees are not required to put themselves in jeopardy or risk harm when enforcing this order.
  • All retailers must post at all entrances a maximum capacity limit to ensure a minimum of six-feet physical distance can be maintained throughout the location.
  • All retailers should mark six-feet separation spots in all check-out lines.
  • All retailers should arrange all store aisles to be directionally one-way, if required to achieve appropriate social distancing.
  • All retailers should place hand sanitizer stations at high-contact locations.
  • All retailers must require employees to stay home if symptomatic.
  • All retailers must disinfect high-touch areas after each use (e.g. carts, baskets, and other equipment).
  • All retailers should provide reasonable accommodation to any person unable to wear a mask into the store by providing online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick up or a delivery option and/or allowing a person to wear a full face shield that extends below the chin. Each retailer must post a sign at each entrance detailing these accommodations.
  • Customers are strongly urged to utilize online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick-up or delivery options.
  • This order does not apply to those medically or developmentally unable to wear a face covering.
  • Each business should designate an on-site compliance officer for each business location and each shift during all business hours to enforce these requirements.

Compliance Enforcement

  • State of Ohio employees with enforcement powers, including the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Retail Compliance Unit employees working on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health, representatives of local health departments, and local law enforcement are authorized to inspect and enforce the order.
  • All retailers shall allow representatives of the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement to inspect public areas during business hours.
  • The representative will issue an initial warning to the business before issuing a notice of violation requiring closure.
  • If a notice of violation of these orders is issued by a representative from the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement, the retail location must immediately shut down for no longer than 24 hours to allow for dissipation of COVID-19 airborne droplets.

Citizens observing non-compliance should notify the Ohio Department of Health call center at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634).

The order was put into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 16.

Twitter: @amhulvalchick

Email: ahulvalchick@vintonjacksoncourier.com

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