Details of Ohio's Responsible RestartOhio Plan

Date: May 27, 2020

Gov. DeWine Lays Out Plan To Reopen Ohio Commerce

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Governor DeWine released details of the new “Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory” which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.  The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit. The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio. Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged. 

The Ohio Department of Health has developed COVID-19 signage and health screening questions for use with customers/clients as resources for businesses and other organizations that want to use them. These are posted on the website along with other COVID-19 signage.

Our partners at Bricker & Eckler LLP, a fellow NFIB member, have developed a legal toolkit for businesses amid COVID-19 changes.

Signage that may be particularly appropriate for businesses includes:

  • Welcome” sign 
  • Sign asking customers to maintain social distancing
  • Sign encouraging use of face coverings to protect employees and other customers
  • Sign asking customers with COVID-19 symptoms to please come back another time
  • Sign about precautions people can take to protect themselves from COVID-19
  • Health screening questions that an employee can verbally use with customers

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:

Face Coverings:

Governor DeWine announced on April 28, 2020, the state of Ohio will not require customers entering retail establishments to wear face coverings. Wearing face coverings in public is still, however, strongly recommended. Release here.  

NFIB has been received a flood of calls and e-mails regarding the requirements of those needing to wear face coverings. Click on the box below to see the concerns NFIB sent to Lt. Governor Jon Husted on the requirement of face coverings.

From the Ohio Department of Health: COVID-19 Masks in the Workplace FAQs


On April 29, 2020, Lt. Governor Husted reemphasized face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when:

  • An employee in a particular position is prohibited by law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job
  • Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices
  • Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes
  • If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies
  • An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace
  • There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee

If any of these exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.

“Wearing a mask is something we do out of mutual respect for one another,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “At work, you wear a mask because you want to protect your fellow employees and because you want to protect your customers. And when you are a customer, though it isn’t required, you should still wear a mask because it will help protect those around you.”

A Stay Safe Order was issued on May 1, 2020. The new directive, signed by State Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, sets new operating standards through May 29. The order allows certain businesses to open, provided they follow recommended workplace safety precautions. Schools, bars and restaurants, beauty enterprises, child care, entertainment, and gyms must remain closed.

One important change to note in the new stay at home order is found in point 12 of the document, as of May 2, now retailers who have been closed will be allowed to deliver, offer curbside pickup of orders, and also be allowed to have up to 10 customers in their stores by appointment only, leading up to the May 12 full opening date.

COVID-19 FAQs Stay Safe Ohio Order 

As You Recall Your Employees Back To Work

It’s important for employees to return to work and a refusal to do accept a position could cause a loss of unemployment benefits.
Report COVID-19 Quits or Work Refusals when Work is Available. Click below:

As you begin reopening your doors to a “new normal,” in compliance with the Responsible RestartOhio requirements, many of your employees are expected to return to their previous employment.  Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause. 

If you have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work, it’s important you let the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) know so they can make accurate eligibility determinations. To report these occurrences, please visit and click on “Return to Work Guidelines.” This will take you to a web page to report these employees for investigation by ODJFS.  

Next week, the full policy ODJFS will use to determine individuals’ continued eligibility for unemployment benefits after refusing to return to work will be posted here: This policy will underscore the presumption that if an individual’s job is available for them to work again, they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

A good piece by our partner Bricker & Eckler LLP: 

ODJFS provides an online form to report employees who quit or refuse to return to work because of COVID-19

Businesses that are best prepared to reopen, with a well thought out plan, will undoubtedly be the most successful! Preparing to Reopen

COVID-19 return to work guidance for high-risk workers as Ohio governor urges they stay home from our partner Bricker & Eckler LLP. How should employers call employees back to work who, due to age or certain high-risk conditions, are also being urged to continue to stay home? As part of its guidance on federal employment laws and the pandemic, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently provided more direction for employers on this issue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released:

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Home

The entire nine-page detail of the reopening guidelines can be accessed here. 


Beginning May 1, 2020, all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established.

Healthcare providers and facilities that plan to resume providing these services must adhere to infection control practices, have sufficient PPE, and talk with patients about the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Surgeries and procedures that, if not performed, would cause a threat to a patient’s life, a threat of the spread of cancer or the permanent dysfunction of a limb or organ, the presence of severe symptoms causing an inability to perform activities of daily living, and/or the risk of rapidly worsening symptoms have always been permitted even if an overnight stay is necessary. 


The guiding principles of the Responsible RestartOhio plan are protecting the health of employees, customers, and their families, supporting community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly getting Ohio back to work. 

“We put this plan together based on all the information we have about how dangerous COVID-19 still is right now, balanced with the fact that it’s also dangerous to have people not working,” said Governor DeWine. “COVID-19 is still out there. It’s still killing people. We’re asking Ohioans to be reasonable and rational. Please don’t take huge chances, and please use common sense when you go out and where you go out.”

Five protocols that must be followed to reopen.

If your business needs PPE: The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 has launched the Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange, an online marketplace where organizations that need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and related equipment can find a wide selection offered by Ohio manufacturers. This online marketplace offers PPE and related equipment for health care workers, first responders, and essential businesses. It’s especially well-suited for organizations that may have lower-volume needs, such as small businesses.

On behalf of the six major business organizations in Ohio, including NFIB, the following statement was released regarding the plan for Ohio’s economy to begin reopening May 1, 2020:

6 Business Group Statement 4-27-20



Beginning on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. The full Responsible RestartOhio plan for manufacturing, distribution, and construction can be found at

Beginning on May 4, 2020, general office environments may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. The full Responsible RestartOhio plan for general office environments can be found at

Beginning on May 12, 2020, consumer, retail and services, may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. The full Responsible RestartOhio plan for consumer, retail, and services can be found at

NFIB Statement as retail reopens. 

The general safe business practices that all businesses must follow as they reopen are: 

  • Requiring face coverings for all employees, and recommending them for clients and customers at all times
  • Conducting daily health assessments or self-evaluations of employees to determine if they should work
  • Maintaining good hygiene at all times such as hand washing and social distancing
  • Cleaning and sanitizing workplaces throughout the day and at the close of business or between shifts
  • Limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines

“I have an obligation as the Governor of Ohio to get people back to work and keep them safe. Opening everything up at once would not be consistent with the obligation to keep people safe,” said Governor DeWine. “Our Responsible RestartOhio plan is the best guarantee that Ohioans will feel safe going to stores and employees will feel safe going to work. I’m optimistic about our future, but we can’t be reckless.”

Restaurants & Bars

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, announced the next phase of the Responsible RestartOhio plan as it relates to restaurants, bars, and personal care services

Restaurants and bars in Ohio will be permitted to reopen as follows: 

  • Outdoor dining: May 15
  • Dine-in service: May 21

To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Restaurant Advisory Group, which included NFIB members, created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for restaurant and bar owners to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at

Restaurant & Food Establishment Best Practices 

NFIB statement as salons reopen & restaurants reopen for outside dining.

Personal Care Services

Personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15. To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Personal Services Advisory Group, which included NFIB members, created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for personal care service providers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at

When May 21 rolls around, over 92 % of businesses will be eligible to be open.

NFIB released a statement on the reopening announcement in regards to these industry sectors. 

Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Cosmetic Therapy

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices 


Beginning Thursday, May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. To ensure that campgrounds operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for day camps to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers is available at

Gyms & Fitness Centers

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Gyms Advisory Group is creating a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for gyms and fitness centers to follow. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices is available at

Child Care

Beginning Sunday, May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols. To ensure that these establishments operate in the safest manner possible, Governor DeWine’s Early Childhood Advisory Council created a detailed list of guidelines and best practices for childcare centers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found at


Beginning Tuesday, May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.

Beginning Monday, June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.


The following types of establishments are ordered to remain closed due to their increased risk of potential COVID-19 exposure: 

  • Schools
  • Older adult daycare services and senior centers 
  • Adult day support or vocational rehabilitation services in group settings

For greater detail on the types of businesses that must stay closed, visit


Because the danger of COVID-19 still exists, Ohio’s Stay at Home order will remain in effect to encourage Ohioans to continue making reasonable, rational decisions about leaving home.

Although anyone is susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19, those who are 65 or older are encouraged to be especially careful, as are those with high-risk conditions such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or liver disease, as well as those who are immunocompromised or obese.

Large gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.  


More detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at

For more information on Ohio’s response to COVID-19, visit or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Contact anyone by e-mail on the NFIB Staff in Ohio. You can still call the office 614-221-4107, as voicemails are forwarded to e-mail.

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