Ohio’s New Retail Mask Order Compliance Checklist
E-mployment Alert November 17, 2020
- Governor DeWine’s new order is materially different from the order this past summer and retailers need to adjust.
- Affected businesses should require masks, provide alternatives to eligible shoppers, post notice, designate compliance officers, promote physical distancing, and discuss how to handle angry customers.
- Be proactive- a second violation could result in the closure of your business for up to 24 hours.
Governor DeWine’s new mask order went into effect yesterday. If you are a store, retail business, or otherwise offer goods to customers in person, here’s your checklist for compliance.
The order requires all customers to wear a mask at all times unless they are medically or developmentally unable to do so. This requirement isn’t new. The governor’s original mask order went into effect over the summer, though this order specifies that cloth masks—as opposed to face shields—are what’s required of customers. Another new feature is the requirement that retailers provide those who are unable to wear cloth masks with specific alternatives.
First, if someone is unable to wear a cloth mask, the company should allow them to wear a face shield. The only requirement is that the face shield must extend below the chin. As a second alternative, the order requires businesses to provide online and/or telephone ordering and no-contact pickup or delivery. Technically, this “personal shopping” must only be provided to those who can’t enter the store with a mask or compliant face shield.
Stores must post notice at all entrances requiring customers to wear a mask. Six sample notices are available for download here under the “Face Coverings” tab.
Along with the required notice, we also recommend posting notice of your mask accommodations, stating that customers who are medically or developmentally unable to wear a cloth mask may enter with a face shield that extends below the chin. Also encourage individuals who are not able to wear a mask and do not have a compliant face shield to take advantage of remote ordering and pickup/delivery options.
Designate a Compliance Officer + Decide How to Handle Tough Situations
Each business is also responsible for designating a compliance officer(s). One compliance officer must be on-site at each business location for all business hours. If your employees rotate shifts, this means you’ll likely need to designate more than one compliance officer (though only one is required per shift).
Compliance officers are responsible for ensuring that customers wear masks or properly take advantage of accommodations. The compliance officer is also the point of contact for local health department investigators and law enforcement officers.
Compliance officers should also be instructed regarding how to address the difficult situation that arises when a customer refuses to comply with the order. If a person refuses to wear a mask (or compliant face shield if they cannot wear a mask), the compliance officer should first offer your personal shopping accommodation. If this doesn’t work, compliance offers can ask customers to leave or be denied entry. If the problem persists, some employers have instructed compliance officers to call local authorities to handle the situation and remove the offender. Of course, if a compliance officer or other employee ever feels that his or her safety is at risk, they should phone the police immediately. There is some ambiguity in the application of the order to those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons; as a result of this, other retailers have elected to allow disgruntled customers to enter, but are taking steps to move those customers in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
Note that the order contains a phone number where members of the public can report a business for not enforcing the order. The Bureau of Workers Compensation is tasked with investigating complaints and the second violation a company receives could lead to closure for up to 24 hours.
The order also requires employers to ensure physical distancing and hygiene. While most employers have already done so, you should mark six-foot separation spots at all check-out lines, designate aisles as “one way,” and limit or stagger the number of customers on the premises at a time. The order also requires retailers to place sanitizer in high-traffic areas, require regular employee handwashing, and disinfect high-touch items, such as carts and baskets after each use.