How Does Ohio’s Stay-at-Home Order Impact Your Business?

On March 22, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, released a Stay-at-Home Order for all Ohioans. This Order took effect at 11:59 PM on Monday, March 23, 2020, and will remain in effect until 11:59 PM on Monday, April 6, 2020. While Governor DeWine has not explicitly outlined enforcement procedures, this Order will be enforced by state and local law enforcement.

Naturally, many businesses and employees are wondering how this Stay-at-Home Order applies to them. The answer is: “it depends.”

Exempt + Essential Businesses

Certain industries and operations are exempted from the Order, including Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Infrastructure, and Essential Government Functions. Therefore, if your business or employer falls under one of these categories, you are not required to shut down or stay home from work.

Additionally, some businesses outside of these four categories are considered Essential Businesses and may continue operating while the Order is in effect.

1. Healthcare + Public Health Operations

Individuals may leave home to work for covered Healthcare and Public Health Operations. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hospitals;
  • Dental offices and eye care centers;
  • Pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies;
  • Medical device companies;
  • Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers; and
  • Providers of any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, such as manufacturers of medical equipment and related products.

2. Human Services Operations

Individuals may leave home to work for covered Human Services Operations. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Long-term care facilities;
  • Day care centers; and
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services to economically disadvantaged individuals.

3. Essential Infrastructure

Individuals may leave home to work for a business or service provider involved in Essential Infrastructure. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Food production, distribution and fulfillment centers, and storage facilities;
  • Construction;
  • Operation and maintenance of basic utilities (water, sewer gas, electrical); and
  • Public benefits like waste removal.

4. Essential Governmental Functions

First responders, emergency management personnel, law enforcement and corrections personnel, and other such employees are considered Essential, and may continue reporting to work while the Order is in effect.

5. Essential Businesses

In addition to the above categories, other businesses are also considered “Essential” under the Order and may continue operating while the Order is in effect. The Order lists several examples of Essential Businesses, but case-by-case analysis is necessary to determine if your particular business or employer is considered “Essential” under this portion of the Order. Businesses considered Essential include:

  • Those designated as essential infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage, and licensed marijuana production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • First Amendment protected speech
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades like plumbers and electricians
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, deliver, and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions for the purpose or remote learning
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies for work-from-home
  • Supplies for Essential Business and Operations
  • Transportation
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services like legal and accounting
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels
  • Funeral services

6. Minimum Basic Operations

Even if your business or employer is not considered Essential under the Order, certain in-person activities may still be permitted. For example, certain employees may go to work in order to process payroll or facilitate processes necessary to enable other employees to work from home. These employees appearing in-person must still abide by the social distancing requirements, though.

Key Takeaways

If your business or employer is considered Essential under the Order, you are permitted to continue regular operations and appear for work-in person, subject to social distancing guidelines. However, all employers—Essential or not—are still expected to permit as many employees as possible to work from home. Therefore, in-person work should be avoided if feasible.

If you have additional questions, or require specific analysis for your particular business or employer, please contact Shana DeMooy at Kegler Brown.