COVID-19 Update: Face Coverings, Advisory Groups on Restaurants and More
April 28, 2020
Today, Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton, MD, MPH, provided updates on Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 16,769 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 799 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 3,340 people have been hospitalized, including 1,004 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The governor also announced that the state 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 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."
DeWine also noted that 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," DeWine added. "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.
The governor announced today that 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.