Reopen Ohio Guidance for Employers

Final Update: As of April 30, the guidance relating to face covering/masks has changed again. At this point, I can only suggest that you monitor the industry specific links below for guidance.

Update: Another day and another change to the face covering issue.  As of April 29, the Governor's guidance for businesses re-opening is as follows:

Face coverings are required for all employees, unless not advisable by a healthcare professional, against documented industry best practices, or not permitted by federal or state laws/regulations.

Face coverings are recommended for customers and guests but not required.

Update: As of April 28, the Governor has amended the re-opening requirements and face coverings/masks are recommended, not required.

Yesterday, the Governor issued guidance for the partial re-opening of Ohio’s economy. The guidance includes specific directions for employers whose employees will be returning to work in several business sectors. Complete guidance is here and a summary follows.

Initially, the following schedule has been issued for reopening:

Friday, May 1: Hospital, medical, dental and veterinary services that don't require an overnight hospital stay;

Monday, May 4: Construction, distribution, manufacturing, offices;

Tuesday, May 12: Consumer, retail and service businesses.

All businesses are subject to the following requirements:

  • Face coverings required for employees and clients/customers at all times.
  • Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
  • Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing, and social distancing.
  • Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
  • Limit capacity to meet social distancing
    • Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code. 
    • And, use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion. 

Additional, sector specific guidance has been issued for the following sectors:

Each sector has slightly different requirements and recommendations for employers with employees returning to work.

Finally, a lengthy list of continued business closures was issued, including dine-in restaurants, bars, schools and daycares, salons, barbershops, casinos, gyms, movie theaters, swimming pools, and several others.

Employers who wish to re-open their businesses need to review the specific requirements for their sectors and consider how to accomplish the required measures and whether additional recommended measures are feasible. Every workplace is different but employers will need to consider issues such as providing masks to employees and visitors, instituting health assessment protocols and possibly reconfiguring work stations and employee schedules to comply with the guidelines. Given the short time frames and possible shortages of items such as hand sanitizer, certain requirements may be difficult to fulfill. Employers should consider these issues in determining whether to reopen at the earliest possible time or at some time thereafter. Finally, employers should assign compliance planning and oversight to specific employees or an established committee while the requirements are in place. 

Please contact any member of our Labor & Employment Group or the KMK Law Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team for further assistance.

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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