As of midnight on Tuesday, March 24, all non-essential businesses are ordered closed, and citizens in Ohio are instructed to stay at home until at least April 6, 2020. There are exceptions to this Order, and the exceptions seem to swallow the rule.

Employers in essential businesses are supposed to maintain “minimum basic operations” to maintain inventory, maintenance, security, payroll, benefits, and related functions,  while complying with social distancing requirements,, while allowing work at home where available.

What is essential? 

  • Grocery and drug stores
  • Food, beverage, and medical marijuana stores
  • Animal Shelters and kennels
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services, such as shelters and food banks
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • First amended protected speech
  • Gas stations auto supply stores, farm, construction, and boat equipment stores, bike stores, and related repair shops
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades: plumbers, electricians, exterminators, security, sanitation, moving, painting, HVAC, cleaning, and janitorial
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, distribution, and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions – although most are closed
  • Laundry and dry cleaning services
  • Take-out and drive-thru restaurants
  • Stores that manufacture, distribute, or sell supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential businesses and operations: computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances, telecommunications equipment, hardware, paint, flat glass, electrical, plumbing, and heating material, sanitary equipment, personal hygiene products, food, food additives and ingredients, medical and orthopedic equipment, optics and photography equipment, diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps, and detergents, firearms and ammunition, and security supplies
  • Transportation – public and private transportation and rental
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services: legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical businesses and operations in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals, sanitation, waste pick up and disposal, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel, petroleum, fuel, mining, construction, defense, communications
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels (without dine-in food service)
  • Funeral services
  • CISA critical infrastructure, see here.

What is not essential?

  • Places of amusement: amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, museums, arcades, fairs, bowling alleys, movie theaters, theaters, concert and music halls, play centers, aquariums, zoos, and country and social clubs
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Gatherings of 10 or more people

Citizens may continue to leave home for outdoor activity, for supplies, for health and safety, to care for others, or to work for an essential business.

What do employees need to prove they work at an essential business?

Under the Order, nothing is “required”; however, some sheriff’s offices are urging employers to provide letters to their employees to speed up the process of proving the need to be out of the house. A essential business letter should:

  1. State that the worker is an “essential worker”
  2. Include the employee’s name
  3. List the employee’s work hours and days
  4. Include an employer contact name and 24/7 contact information
  5. Be dated
  6. Be signed by a manager or supervisor
  7. Be on company letterhead

(Source: Delaware County Sheriff’s Office)

Law enforcement will not be specifically stopped cars to enforce the Order, but in the event of a stop for another reason, citizens may be asked about their reason for being outside their homes. It would also be helpful if employees carry their employer ID badge (if any) and a government issued photo ID.

Childcare and daycare restrictions

Childcare and daycare centers are limited to ratios of 6:1 with no more than 6 children per class and must have a permit to continue to operate. This will extremely limit the number of employees with small children who will be able to report to work. These childcare restrictions will remain in effect until April 30. Schools are closed state-wide in Ohio until at least Friday, April 3rd.