DeWine Issues ‘Stay at Home’ Order for State

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — During his daily coronavirus update, Gov. Mike DeWine announced an order for all Ohioans to stay home.

Known as a “shelter in place” order for other states, the stay at home order offers a few exceptions to essential businesses, particularly those in the grocery supply chain and in health care. It essentially puts the practices that have been discussed over the last week or so in an order.

“There really is nothing in that order that we have not been talking about. Nothing in that order that I’ve not been asking you to do for the last week,” DeWine said.

The order can be enforced by local health departments as well as law enforcement. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and will remain in effect until April 6, at which time “we obviously will reassess that order,” he said.

CLICK HERE to read the order in full.

The order has three parts, the first being the stay at home order itself. The order allows for some exceptions, including essential activities such as seeking health and safety services, going to the grocery store or pharmacy for necessary supplies and services, and some outdoor activities, including waking a walk, walking a dog or going to a park, though playgrounds are closed.

“I think people need to get out,” DeWine said. “It’s part of the mental health. We all have to get through this.”

Ohioans are also allowed to perform certain types of essential work and are permitted to take care of others. Weddings and funerals are also permitted.

“You still can take care of your neighbor. You still can take care of your mom, dad or child,” DeWine said.

Essential businesses include health care and public health operations, human services operations, essential government functions and essential infrastructure, such as food production and distribution.

Also permitted in the order are those industries identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which identified 14 employment categories as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, including:

  • Health care and public health workers
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Energy employees
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Pubic works
  • Communications and information technology, including news outlets
  • Other community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical workers
  • Defense industrial base

Other essential businesses as defined in the order include:

  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage and licensed marijuana production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious entities
  • Media, including newspapers, TV, radio and other media services
  • First Amendment protected speech
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades, including building and construction trades, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial for commercial and government properties, security, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation, and other services
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pickup
  • Educational institutions (the order is consistent with and does not amend or supersede prior orders regarding the closure of schools)
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for essential businesses and operations
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Manufacturing, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries, such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, health care, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

A list of frequently asked questions regarding stay at home orders can be found at Coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Each of the businesses allowed to stay open must follow good protocol and guidelines regarding health, including maintaining the six-foot social distancing rule, washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, ensuring hand sanitizer and sanitizing products are readily available for employees and customers, offer separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, and provide remote access to services if possible.

As with past orders, the state has consulted with businesses and nonprofits, as well as the Ohio Farm Bureau, manufacturers, retail associations, the Ohio Business Roundtable, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and other business and trade organizations to “put something together that would keep us healthy” while preserving essential supply chain industries, said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

In a statement released moments after the governor’s announcement, Pat Tiberi, president and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable, said the Roundtable “supports the Governor’s most recent isolation order.

“Our members have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep their employees safe, instituting work-from-home policies when possible and ensuring proper CDC safety protocols outlined by Dr. Amy Acton are being strictly followed,” Tiberi stated. “While we regret the idling of any business, anywhere, or at any time, we believe the DeWine-Husted Administration has gone to great lengths to ensure this order strikes the appropriate balance between protecting the public’s health and the well-being of Ohio’s economy.”

Though the order will further idle businesses in the state, Husted said there are still employment opportunities with the essential industries to meet increased need.

“While there are some businesses that won’t be operating due to this, there are some businesses that are part of the supply chain that are in desperate need of assistance,” Husted said. Some, particularly in the grocery store supply chain, are hiring thousands, he said.

In a statement on Facebook, Primanti Bros. restaurants has temporarily closed its dining rooms and partnered with Giant Eagle to put displaced Primanti Bros. employees to work with the grocery chain, “providing much needed support to our employees and to the community at this time,” according to the statement.

This order and the others made last week are intended to help minimize the pressure put on the health-care industry during the pandemic, said Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health. It’s important to not take these actions in a piecemeal way if Ohio and the country are to avoid overwhelming the hospitals who are preparing for a surge in positive diagnoses.

“This is a time when you’ll see quiet descend on this country, as it should,” Acton said. “Listen to what Italy is telling us.”

While making these sacrifices, it can feel like life is pulling everyone apart and shutting down, she said, but life isn’t shutting down. “I feel like life is waking us up. I truly see a vision of a future that is brighter than we have known,” she said.

“Absolutely no doubt in my mind that we have to ratchet down what we’re doing in society just as we’re doing,” Acton said. “You’re hearing it from the folks who are right ahead of us in the curve. We have not a day to spare.”

On Saturday, DeWine ordered the closure of adult day centers for individuals with developmental disabilities and Lt Gov. Jon Husted announced the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation will allow public and private businesses to defer payments for March, April and May until at least June 1, leaving $200 million in the economy. Throughout the week, the governor closed all bars and restaurants, schools, senior centers, fitness facilities, hair and nail salons and banned gatherings of 10 or more people.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, there were 351 confirmed cases in 40 counties in the state, with 83 hospitalizations and three deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The first death reported in Ohio was attorney Mark Wagoner Sr., Toledo, announced March 20. In the Mahoning Valley, there are 18 cases in Mahoning County, three in Trumbull County and two in Columbiana County.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.