State of Ohio Issues "Stay at Home Order"

On March 22, 2020, the State of Ohio Department of Health issued a "Stay at Home Order" requiring, with certain exceptions, all individuals currently living within the State of Ohio to stay at home or at their place of residence and that all non-essential businesses and operations must cease. A copy of the Order can be found here. The Order is drafted in an "easy to read", plain English manner. The intent of the Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of resident to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue. The Order becomes effective at 11:59 PM on Monday March 23, 2020 and remains in effect until 11:59 PM on April 6, 2020 unless the Director of the Ohio Department of health rescinds or modifies the Order. Below are highlights of the Order:

  • The description of essential businesses are described by reference to the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity & Infrastructure and Security Agency's Guidance Identifying Critical Infrastructure during COVID-19 attached here. In addition, the Order identifies a number of other categories of essential businesses that are permitted to remain open.
  • The Order is self-executing. No special waiver letter or exemption is required.
  • All essential business are not only permitted, but encouraged to remain open.
  • If you are deemed to be an essential business, you should be mindful of the Social Distancing Requirements described in paragraphs 15 of the Order. In addition, paragraph 18 provides a Checklist for all Ohio Businesses and employers. This checklist includes the following:
  1. Allow as many employees as possible to work from home by implementing policies in areas such as teleworking and video conferencing.
  2. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home until they are free of fever (without the use of medication) for at least 72 hours (three full days) AND symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours AND at least seven days have passed since symptoms first began. Do not require a healthcare provider’s note to validate the illness or return to work of employees sick with acute respiratory illness; healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  3. Ensure that your sick leave policies are up to date, flexible, and non-punitive to allow sick employees to stay home to care for themselves, children, or other family members. Consider encouraging employees to do a self-assessment each day to check if they have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath).Separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms from other employees and send them home immediately. Restrict their access to the business until they have recovered.
  4. Reinforce key messages — stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene — to all employees, and place posters in areas where they are most likely to be seen. Provide protection supplies such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  5. Frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, railings, door handles, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  6. Be prepared to change business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations).
  • You should consider communicating with your employees promptly as to your determination as to whether you are an essential business and to what extent your business will remain open.
  • Legal Services have been identified as an essential business and KMK will remain open during this period of time to assist you.

KMK Law articles and blog posts are intended to bring attention to developments in the law and are not intended as legal advice for any particular client or any particular situation. The laws/regulations and interpretations thereof are evolving and subject to change. Although we will attempt to update articles/blog posts for material changes, the article/post may not reflect changes in laws/regulations or guidance issued after the date the article/post was published. Please consult with counsel of your choice regarding any specific questions you may have.


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