On March 22, 2020 Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, along with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH, issued a DIRECTOR’S STAY AT HOME ORDER (Order) requiring all individuals currently living within the State of Ohio to “stay at home or at their place of residence,” except as specifically allowed and outlined by the Order.
The Order was made pursuant to R.C. 3701.12, allowing the Director of ODH to make special orders for preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases, namely the rapid spread of COVID-19 (commonly referred to as “coronavirus”) throughout the State of Ohio. Businesses must act pursuant to the Order or risk enforcement by State and local law enforcement.
The Order becomes effective at 11:59 PM on March 23, 2020, and remains in effect until 11:59 PM on April 6, 2020.
The following are critical takeaways for employers and employees regarding the Order:
1. The Order directs all non-essential businesses and operations within the State of Ohio to cease all activities, except “Minimum Basic Operations.”
- Ohio businesses covered by the Order include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure. The Order does not include home businesses consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences.
- Minimum Basic Operations means the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; and to facilitate employees being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
2. The Order provides for certain Ohio businesses to be exempt from the Order and remain open as an “Essential Business or Operation.”
- Ohio businesses that qualify as Essential Businesses or Operations and may remain open include grocery stores; pharmacies; stores that sell supplies to work from home; organizations that provide charitable and social services (i.e. food banks, shelters); media institutions; religious entities; gas stations; financial institutions; professional services (legal, accounting, insurance), critical trades (plumbers, electricians, cleaning and janitorial staff, security staff, exterminators, etc.); mail/shipping services; educational institutions; restaurants (for carry-out/delivery only); transportation services (airlines, taxis, Uber, Lyft); home-based care services; hotels; laundry services; food, beverage, and licensed marijuana production and agriculture; manufacturing companies producing and supplying essential products and services in industries (such as pharmaceutical, technology, healthcare, chemicals, etc.); critical labor union functions (i.e. administration of health and welfare funds); and funeral services.
3. All Ohio businesses—whether conducting Minimum Basic Operations or exempt as an Essential Business or Operation—must take proactive measures including: designating at least six-foot distances, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers, maintaining separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, and allowing online and remote access.
4. Essential governmental functions are exempt from the Order. This includes: first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, legislators, judges, court personnel, jurors, law enforcement and corrections personnel.
5. Individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to Essential Infrastructure. This includes: food production, distribution, fulfillment centers, storage facilities, construction, building management and maintenance, airport operations, operations and maintenance of utilities, road, highways, railroads, and public transportation, internet, video, and telecommunications systems, among others.
6. Individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to Healthcare, Public Health Operations, and Human Services Operations. This includes: hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, day care centers, day care homes, and residential settings and shelters for adults, senior, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities.
There are additional features of the Order applicable to individuals, including that outdoor activities such as walking, running, hiking, biking, etc. are allowed. This Memorandum is meant for employers and employees. All are encouraged to review the Order in its entirety. Additional information on the Order can be found at the Ohio Department of Health’s website.
 This Order does not amend or supersede prior Orders regarding the closure of schools in the State of Ohio.
 This Order does not amend or supersede prior Orders regarding the closure of restaurants and bars in the State of Ohio.
 We encourage you to review the Order to obtain a complete list of all exempt Businesses.
 We encourage you to review the Order to obtain a complete list of all exempt Essential Infrastructure.
 We encourage you to review the Order to obtain a complete list of all exempt Healthcare, Public Health Operations, and Human Services Operations.