COLUMBUS, Ohio — With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge throughout Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has revealed details of the state's updated mask mandate.
The order restates that everyone 10 years old or older must wear a facial covering when in a retail store and includes the following provisions:
- All retailers must post and enforce a sign indicating that masks are required at all entrances. Employees are not required to put themselves in jeopardy or risk harm when enforcing this order.
- All retailers must post at all entrances a maximum capacity limit to ensure a minimum of six-feet physical distance can be maintained throughout the location.
- All retailers should mark six-feet separation spots in all check-out lines.
- All retailers should arrange all store aisles to be directionally one-way, if required to achieve appropriate social distancing.
- All retailers should place hand sanitizer stations at high-contact locations.
- All retailers must require employees to stay home if symptomatic.
- All retailers must disinfect high-touch areas after each use (e.g. carts, baskets, and other equipment).
- All retailers should provide reasonable accommodation to any person unable to wear a mask into the store by providing online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick up or a delivery option and/or allowing a person to wear a full face shield that extends below the chin. Each retailer must post a sign at each entrance detailing these accommodations.
- Customers are strongly urged to utilize online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick-up or delivery options.
- This order does not apply to those medically or developmentally unable to wear a face covering.
- Each business should designate an on-site compliance officer for each business location and each shift during all business hours to enforce these requirements.
- State of Ohio employees with enforcement powers, including the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Retail Compliance Unit employees working on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health, representatives of local health departments, and local law enforcement are authorized to inspect and enforce the order.
- All retailers shall allow representatives of the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement to inspect public areas during business hours.
- The representative will issue an initial warning to the business before issuing a notice of violation requiring closure.
- If a notice of violation of these orders is issued by a representative from the Ohio Department of Health, a local health department, or law enforcement, the retail location must immediately shut down for no longer than 24 hours to allow for dissipation of COVID-19 airborne droplets.
- Citizens observing non-compliance should notify the Ohio Department of Health call center at (833) 4ASKODH ((833) 427-5634).
The state's updated mask order does not apply to restaurants, bars, banquet and catering centers, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, gyms, dance instruction studios, or personal fitness venues as these businesses fall under previously-issued, existing orders.
This order takes effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 16.
"Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment that is as safe as can be, which means all customers must wear masks. Further, each Ohioan who goes out to shop has the right to know that every store they enter will be safe and the people they encounter in that store will be wearing a mask," DeWine said in a statement released on Friday. "We know that masks work. They are the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19."
At his Thursday COVID-19 briefing, DeWine revealed that all 88 of the state's counties are now to be considered to be "high incidence" in regards to the coronavirus. As of Thursday, 68 of Ohio's 88 counties have reached the Level 3 "red" coronavirus risk level of the state's Public Health Advisory System. Two of those counties, Franklin County and Tuscarawas County, are on the watch list to reach Level 4 "purple" -- the highest level on the advisory -- as soon as next week.
During a statewide address on Wednesday, DeWine announced the reissuing of the state's mask order, with potential punishments for businesses that fail to enforce it. Gov. DeWine also said he would soon be issuing new orders regarding gatherings and activities and would spend the coming weeks evaluating whether to close bars, restaurants, fitness centers and schools if the state's coronavirus numbers don't improve.
You can watch DeWine's Thursday COVID-19 briefing in the player below: