Coronavirus Disease Updates from Gov. DeWine & the Ohio Dept. of Health

Date: May 15, 2020

Be prepared to protect employees in the event of an outbreak

As Ohio prepares to begin reopening on May 1, 2020, NFIB submitted a list of recommendations to Governor DeWine to help small business owners: Ohio’s Small Business Recovery

On April 24 NFIB and Ohio Council of Retail Merchants submitted a letter to Frank Sullivan, Chairman
Governor’s Economic Advisory Group, regarding impacts on Ohio’s retail community during the planned reopening of Ohio’s economy. 

COVID-19 Myths v Facts

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) asks employers and businesses to be prepared to protect employees in the event of an outbreak of any infectious disease. Please stay calm, seek out accurate information to share with employees, and be kind, staying mindful of actions that could perpetuate any discrimination or stigma associated with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases. Check here regularly for updates: https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/covid-19/novel_coronavirus 

The below guidance was adopted on March 3, 2020, from recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more detailed guidance on any updates, please visit the CDC website.

If you would like to print out this information please click here: COVID-19 businesses 03-03-20

Part II of the information on Coronavirus from the state of Ohio has now been released: COVID-19 TPs for State PIOs 03-10-20 Part II

To help protect the public against the spread of COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine and ODH Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommend that all employers screen employees each day before work. Guidance — Screening Employees for COVID-19

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ODH offer guidance for businesses/employers in planning for, and responding to, COVID-19, including if an employee tests positive for the disease. 

CDC has developed “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” which is available on CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-business-response.html. This guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. 

CDC also offers “Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations” for non-healthcare facilities with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html.

ODH offers a COVID-19 fact sheet for businesses/employers that contains helpful information, including a “checklist” of steps that businesses/employers which remain open under the Stay at Home Order can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/covid-19-checklists/businesses-employers-covid-19-checklist.

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that Ohioans are aware of the following information provided by the Ohio Department of Insurance regarding out-of-network insurance coverage specific to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Checklist Out of Network Insurance Coverage 03.29.20

ODH Director Dr. Acton strongly recommends a checklist of actions that businesses/employers can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their employees. COVID-19 Checklist for Businesses-Employers

Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, strongly recommends that Ohioans are aware of the following safe food practices for retail food stores, restaurants, and pick-up and delivery services to protect workers and customers: Checklist for Safe Food Handling

“On March 18, 2020, Governor Dewine recommended that all employers in the State of Ohio should check the temperature of their employees before they return to work.  While this is not mandatory, the NFIB encourages its members to follow Governor DeWine’s recommendation for the health and safety of your employees.  NFIB also recognizes the many challenges this proposes for our members and suggests that in response to the Governor’s recommendation, you ask your employees to take their temperature at home each day before returning to work.  If your employee finds that they are running a fever, you should ask them to stay at home.”

On April 2, 2020, Ohio extended the Stay at Home Order through May 1. Signed Amended Director’s Stay At Home Order 

“The leadership displayed by Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and Ohio Health Department Director Acton in responding to this unprecedented crisis is sincerely appreciated and is saving the lives of Ohioans. The extension of the Stay at Home Order allows our state to flatten the curve and protect our citizens,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

 

“The small business owners of Ohio are eager to get back to business. However, they understand that when they do so they need a healthy workforce and customer base to return to the prosperous economy they were enjoying prior to the coronavirus onset,” he continued.

 

“The Governor recognizes Ohio needs to have a long-term economic recovery strategy in place. We appreciate the creation of an economic advisory council led by Ohio business leaders that includes small business owners,” Geiger concluded.

 

In accordance with the Amended Stay At Home Order that was issued that goes into effect on April 7, 2020, and runs through May 1 at 11:59 p.m. by Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH under the direction of Governor Mike DeWine, the following is guidance regarding dispute resolutions for essential and non-essential businesses. To submit a dispute, fill out this Dispute Resolution Form and submit it to [email protected]. For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Our partner Bricker & Eckler LLP also has information for small businesses on the coronavirus on their COVID-19 Resource Page 

On March 18, 2020, Gov. DeWine asked business owners to take the temperatures of employees as they arrived at work. Here is a PDF from our partner, the law firm of Bricker & Eckler LLP on the situation Bricker & Eckler Temperature Recs 

NFIB surveyed members on the Coronavirus spread and their thoughts can be found here: Coronavirus Impact on Small Business

Helpful Information: How to cope with coronavirus-related stress 

On March 15, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that the ODH has issued a Director’s Order that will close all Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons, effective at 9:00 p.m. Restaurants with take-out and delivery options will still be able to operate those services, even as their dining rooms are temporarily closed.

On the afternoon of March 17, 2020, Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted submitted a formal request for federal assistance for small businesses from the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program 

On March 18, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH, announced the Ohio Department of Health is ordering the temporary closure of Ohio’s barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and tattoo parlors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 “The small business community across Ohio understands and respects Govern DeWine’s recent decisions to halt the spread of the coronavirus in our state. These are unprecedented times and his strong leadership is appreciated in helping to save the lives of our citizens. The DeWine/Husted Administration has worked closely with the business community and sought the input of Ohio entrepreneurs as they have moved swiftly to do what is needed to help to stem the tide of this outbreak. We look forward to continuing the dialogue as this constantly evolving situation progresses,” said Roger Geiger, Vice President and Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

On March 22, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH, announced that Ohio will be under a “Stay at Home” order. The order will go into effect beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 6, 2020, unless the order is rescinded or modified. Read the full order here: Director’s Stay At Home Order

Read comments on the order from NFIB’s Roger Geiger

Additional information from the Ohio Department of Health on the Stay at Home Order: Information on Stay-Home Order

For additional information, also visit coronavirus.ohio.gov

  • Encourage employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness to stay home.
  • Develop non-punitive, flexible sick leave policies consistent with public health guidance. Allow employees to remain home for their own or a family member’s illness or to care for a child if schools should temporarily close.
  • Separate employees who have acute respiratory illness symptoms at work from others and send them home immediately.
  • Ask employees who have a family member at home with COVID-19 to notify a supervisor. Refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, inform other employees of their possible exposure in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees at all times:
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles employee use.
  • Maintain adequate supplies of soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace.
  • Place hand rubs in multiple locations and/or in conference rooms.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use cleaning agents that are usually used and follow directions on the label.
  • Provide disposable wipes so employees can clean commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) before each use.
  • Plan for the canceling of non-essential travel.
  • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism or critical supply chains are interrupted.
  • Consider cross-training personnel in essential roles.
  • Prepare to consider canceling large work-related meetings or events.
  • Try to establish policies and practices — such as telecommuting, web-based conferences, and flexible work hours/staggered shifts – to distance employees from others if necessary.
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation and respond with credible information.
  • To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the CDC guidance to determine the risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain the confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19.

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