COVID-19 update: Responsible Restart for Ohio


COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton on Monday, April 27, made several major announcements regarding Ohio’s plan to responsibly restart Ohio’s economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Beginning May 1, 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 were able to 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.

Responsible Restart Ohio

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.”

Beginning on May 4, 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, 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, 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

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.”

Continued closures

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

Schools and daycares

Dine-in restaurants and bars (carry-out is still permitted)

Personal appearance and beauty businesses

Older adult daycare serveries and senior centers

Adult day support or vocational rehabilitation services in group settings

Entertainment, recreation, and gyms

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

Stay at home order/large gatherings

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.

Customer face coverings in retail establishments

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

“As Governor, it is my responsibility to make the tough decisions, but it is also my responsibility to listen and be respectful of the thoughts and ideas of our fellow Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine. “Though it is not a mandate, wearing a face covering in retail locations is clearly in the best interest of all Ohioans. This gives added protection to others. When you wear a mask, you are protecting those around you from possibly getting sick.”

Governor DeWine also noted individual business owners could still choose to develop a business policy requiring face coverings for customers to enter their facilities.

“It is because of Ohio citizens’ individual actions thus far that we have collectively flattened the curve in Ohio. Ohioans have accomplished these things through social distancing, staying home, and wearing face coverings. These individual decisions have impacted the greater good for all Ohioans,” said Governor DeWine. “These individual decisions are going to be even more important as we move forward. Now is the time to double down on these efforts. We have an obligation to protect our most vulnerable Ohioans and each other.”

Face coverings would still be mandated for employees unless wearing a face covering is not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices, or is not permitted by federal or state laws and regulations.

Advisory groups on restaurants and barbershops/salons

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today he will form two separate advisory groups to develop best practices for reopening dine-in restaurants, barbershops, and salons.

Relevant business associations, along with Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, and Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, are working to identify individuals to serve on the advisory groups. They are specifically working to identify individuals who work in these fields every day, including small business owners.

The goal of this group is to develop recommendations for these businesses that balance the need to protect the health of employees and customers as they reopen to the public.

PPE delivery

Governor DeWine announced on Wednesday, April 29, the state of Ohio has shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local emergency management agencies (EMA) across Ohio.

Although this is not the first shipment of PPE, this is the largest one-time distribution of PPE from the state of Ohio to the local EMAs in Ohio history.

“When this crisis began, I told you that we were going to do everything we could to ensure that those on the front line of this crisis have the personal protective equipment they need,” said Governor DeWine. “The PPE will be distributed locally by county EMAs to nursing homes, jails, congregate living facilities, hospitals, and first responders.”

The shipment includes:

500,000 N95 masks

850,000 face shields

750,000 surgical-type masks

2 million non-medical gloves

The PPE was secured through the work of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Employee face covering exceptions

Lt. Governor Husted on Wednesday reemphasized that 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 a 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.”

Criminal justice grants

Governor DeWine announced nearly $16 million in grant funding is now available for local law enforcement agencies, probation and parole offices, local courts, victim service providers, and adult, juvenile, and community corrections agencies.

This funding was awarded to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, as part of the CARES Act and will support agencies in:

Taking measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as purchasing cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment

Taking measures to prepare for COVID-19 such as supporting proper planning, staffing, and communications to ensure effective operations and maintain the safety of criminal justice employees, citizens, and correctional populations

Taking measures to respond to the spread of COVID-19 such as medical visits, hospitalizations, purchasing medical supplies, and securing alternative housing

OCJS will accept applications on a continual basis while funding is available, and there is no cap. For more information, please visit

Class of 2020 graduation

Governor DeWine reminded Ohio educators they must ensure social distancing during any and all graduation ceremonies.

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Health today issued the following suggestions for local schools and health departments:

Virtual graduation ceremonies (preferred)

Drive-in ceremonies where students drive to a designated location at a designated time to get their diplomas

Outdoor ceremonies with 10 people or less who are socially distanced

Additional guidance can be found on the Ohio Department of Education’s website.

“Ohio has 612 school districts. Each school district must work with their local health department to make sure that their plan is in accordance with public health guidelines to deal with the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “I understand how hard it is for the Class of 2020. This is not how any of us envisioned your graduation, but I am confident that our schools will be resourceful and creative in how they can honor you.”

Governor DeWine also stressed that any graduation parties cannot exceed 10 people in one space.

Current Ohio data

At press time, there were 17,303 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio and 937 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,421 people have been hospitalized, including 1,014 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting

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

R-H Staff

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