Everyone is anxiously awaiting the announcements that Governor DeWine plans to make next week. On Monday, he intends to outline his plans to reopen Ohio’s economy in a slow, methodical process. The DeWine Administration has continued their daily press conferences on the coronavirus pandemic. The daily briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio are at 2 p.m., and can be watched live on the Ohio Channel, Ohio Public TV (PBS stations), and other Columbus-based outlets.
Below is a list of actions taken as of April 24, 2020, with dates they were discussed, and official orders when imposed.
Should you have health-related questions, the Department of Health hotline can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.
Stay at Home Order/Essential Businesses
- We are all in this together and each of us have an important role to play in helping to flatten the curve. Please help us share Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton’s important message with your networks, friends, family, and various communication channels by posting on social media using #InThisTogetherOhio and #StayHomeOhio. April 4, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced an order requiring all persons to stay at home unless engaged in essential work or activity. The original order went into effect Monday, March 23 until April 6, 2020. Find the order here. March 22, 2020.
- On April 2, Governor DeWine announced that Ohio’s Stay at Home order has been extended until 11:59 PM on May 1, 2020. Updates to the new order include: the creation of a dispute resolution process, a requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at once, a mandate that wedding receptions be limited to no more than 10 people, among other changes. A copy is here. April 2, 2020.
- Under the Stay at Home order, all travelers arriving to Ohio are instructed to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. This does not apply to persons who as part of their normal life live in one state and work or gain essential services in another state. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Ohio if they are displaying symptoms. April 6, 2020.
- Beginning May 1, 2020, the state will begin a phased-in reopening of the state economy. The plan will be fact-driven over a long period of time to minimize the health risk to business owners, employees, and their customers. In consultation with Dr. Acton, Lt. Governor Jon Husted will lead the governor’s board of economic advisors to identify best practices, similar to the current requirements on essential business operations to ensure Ohioans health and safety as businesses begin the process of reopening. April 16, 2020.
- Governor DeWine also announced he will work closely with the Governors of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky to reopen the region’s economy in a coordinated way. The states will review four factors as they reopen their economies: the number of cases in the state and the number of hospital admissions, the amount of hospital capacity, the ability to test and trace cases of COVID-19, and best practices for social distancing in businesses. April 16, 2020.
- As Ohio begins to reopen, Governor DeWine stressed the need to balance: compliance with public health measures; implementation of safeguards in business; and protections for the most vulnerable Ohioans. April 17, 2020.
- Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton initially signed an order banning mass gatherings over 100 people. March 12, 2020.
- Later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended limiting gatherings to 50 people.
- Separately, the White House recommends limiting gatherings to 10 people.
- While Ohio has revised the previously issued mass gatherings order (100 people) to be in compliance with the CDC’s guidelines, the state is aligned with the White House, and strongly recommends gatherings to not exceed 10 people.
- This does not include religious gatherings, grocery stores, forms of transit, athletic events that exclude spectators, weddings, funerals, or religious gatherings. The March 17 order can be found here. Revised March 17, 2020.
Support Local Ohio
- Governor DeWine announced that Ohio is launching a website to encourage Ohioans to continue to support local retailers and restaurants by shopping online, choosing local, ordering carryout from restaurants, and taking virtual tours of well-known attractions around the state. There are currently more than 250 local restaurants, shops, and virtual activities being featured online. To find a local shop or restaurant to support, or to have your business featured, go to Ohio.org/SupportLocalOhio. March 27, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new Testing Strike Force team lead by former Governors Richard Celeste and Bob Taft that will work with leaders from business, academia, and public health to be part of the effort to help Ohio source critical testing items such a reagents. Governor DeWine also announced that the FDA has approved the use of a new reagent for testing developed by Thermo Fisher which will help with the state’s testing capabilities. April 21, 2020.
- The FDA has authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit. The entire announcement can be found here. April 21, 2020.
- Ohio will be ramping up testing and tracing. Thanks to Thermo Fisher and Roe Dental Lab there will be more swaps and reagent available. By the end of May, testing capacity will be more 22,000 tests a day. Ohio is partnering with Partners in Health out of Massachusetts to help with tracing. April 24, 2020.
Ohio Department of Health
- To comply with new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommended by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Dr. Acton has issued an amended Director’s Journal Entry with updated reporting requirements for COVID-19. Moving forward, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has ordered that confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 based on clinical and epidemiological evidence be reported within 24 hours to the local health district in which the person resides. Previously only COVID-19 cases confirmed with a lab test were reportable. April 10, 2020.
- Health systems worldwide have struggled due to a critical shortage of test kit components, including the swabs used to collect samples and the sterile solution needed to transport the swabs, called viral transport media (VTM). Governor DeWine announced that a team of Ohio State University researchers created an in-house “recipe” to make the crucial VTM. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State will continue to work on eliminating swab manufacturing and design constraints through a rapid product development cycle, including clinical testing. April 15, 2020.
- On March 31, President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Ohio and ordered Federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020 and continuing. Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Ohio impacted by COVID-19. April 1, 2020.
- On April 8, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $1.3 billion to 1,387 health centers as a response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Health centers may use the awards to help communities across the country detect coronavirus; prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19; and maintain or increase health capacity and staffing levels to address this public health emergency. Ohio received $40,732,260 to support 51 health centers. You can find a list of award recipients here. April 8, 2020.
- In March, Congress passed three acts to allocate additional federal funding to states for several programs to address the COVID-19 pandemic. These three acts are: The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (signed March 6), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, March 18), and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (March 27).
- These three acts will provide Ohio roughly $6.7 billion in federal relief. The CARES Act provides the state the most ($4.5 billion) in federal recovery funds. Of the $4.5 billion provided to Ohio, 45% is dedicated to counties with larger populations (above 500,000 residents). The state is responsible for determining how to distribute the remainder of the local allotment to other local governments but maintains some flexibility and discretion on how to spend the remaining federal stimulus dollars.
- Additionally, the federal CARES Act provides roughly $489 million to the state of Ohio for education funding and will supplement potential loss revenue to fund K-12 education programs. That could help maintain education funding throughout FY21 and mitigate the impact of potential cuts. The other Acts also provide federal grants to K-12, higher education and healthcare.
Ohio General Assembly & Controlling Board
- Governor DeWine thanks the General Assembly for the unanimous bi-partisan support of HB 197, which passed earlier today. This bill will ensure continuity of government, extended mail-in voting for our primary, clarity for schools and students, relief to workers, and measures to make sure we are prepared to help Ohioans get back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Find the Senate GOP synopsis here. March 25, 2020.
- Governor DeWine signed HB 197 into law on March 27, 2020. Find more on the bill here.
- The Ohio Controlling board met and approved the creation of an “Ohio Coronavirus Relief Fund,” which allows state agencies to use funds from the federal CARES Act. The fund allocated $76 million to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services to purchase 2,000 ventilators and5 million N-95 masks. The Department of Public Safety was allocated $50 million for personal protective equipment to be dispersed to county emergency management agencies, hospitals and other medical facilities. $39 million will be used for supplies for specimen collections, different testing kit materials and lab equipment for testing allocated to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Adjutant General was allocated $8.8 million to pay for operating costs for temporary medical facilities and 600 National Guard and service members. April 13, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) asked controlling board to release $8,556,587 in Public Health Emergency Preparedness after the CDC provided additional funding for the coronavirus pandemic. ODH plans to use the funds to support the efforts of the state’s local health departments in providing services related to monitoring, investigation, containment, and mitigation ($4,788,843), distribute throughout the state specimen collection kits for COVID-19 lab testing ($1,289,304), and make available medication to providers to combat COVID-19 ($1,289,303). ODH is proposing to use $1,189,137 in National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program funding to support the urgent preparedness and response needs of hospitals and front-line workers and set aside funding for the state’s Special Pathogen Treatment Center. April 20, 2020.
Nursing Homes/Long-term Care Facilities
- Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted drafted a letter to President Trump requesting permission to temporarily stop requiring inspections of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities until the spread of COVID-19 is contained. March 12, 2020.
- The Governor also announced there will be an order prohibiting guests in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That order is here. March 12, 2020.
- All K-12 schools (public & private) closed at the end of the day Monday, March 16 until April 3, 2020. March 12, 2020.
- Click here for a copy of the K-12 school closure order. March 14, 2020.
- There will be an extension of the K-12 order closing school buildings through Friday, May 1, 2020. The original order was only in effect for 3 weeks. The administration will again reevaluate the order once closer to May 1, 2020. March 30, 2020.
- The USDA granted an Ohio waiver allowing the provision of meals to students during the school closures beginning at the close of business Monday, March 16 through April 3, 2020. March 13, 2020.
- The state is not closing daycares at this point; however, this is not being ruled out as a future measure. Families have been asked to start thinking of alternative childcare options. The Governor signed an executive order approving emergency rules for the Department of Jobs and Family Services related to childcare. The order is here. March 13, 2020.
- The Ohio “At Home Learning” initiative will include a full schedule of daily television programming geared toward students in prekindergarten through 12th grade. This programming will be available on Ohio PBS television stations across the state starting in most areas on Monday, March 30th. Additional resources and information are available at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/LearnAtHome March 28, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) today released a special guide to help schools, educators, students, parents, and caregivers as they navigate remote learning. The guide is available on the Ohio Department of Education’s website here. April 3, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that students will continue to go to school remotely for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. At this time, no decisions have been made regarding whether or not schools will reopen in the fall. April 20, 2020.
- Governor DeWine signed an executive order authorizing the Department of Job and Family Services to issue temporary pandemic childcare licenses to help ensure childcare is available for children of parents employed in fields providing health, safety, and other essential services. A copy of the order is here. March 17, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced the closure of childcare except for licensed Temporary Pandemic Child Care (TPCC) providers. This will go into effect Thursday, March 26, 2020. Healthcare workers, including clinicians, nurses, and other support staff, will be given priority access the childcare. For a listing of currently licensed TPCC providers, please visit the Department of Job and Family Services website. Additionally, if you would like to become a licensed Temporary Pandemic Child Care provider, more information is available here. March 22, 2020.
Minority Health Strike Force
- Because COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting minority groups in Ohio and across the country, Governor DeWine announced that he has formed a new Minority Health Strike Force. The Minority Health Strike Force is lead by Ohio Department of Aging Director Ursel McElroy and Director of the Governor’s Recovery Ohio Initiative, Alisha Nelson. April 20, 2020.
- On March 20, Governor DeWine announced an executive order closing all senior centers and adult day care facilities going into effect at the end of the day Monday, March 23. Find the order here. March 21, 2020.
- Governor DeWine asked the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to issue an order that requires long-term care facilities to notify residents and families within 24 hours of a resident or staff member becoming infected. There will be a list of long-term care facilities where an associated individual has tested positive on the Ohio.Gov website as information becomes available. Here is the order. April 13, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that he has directed the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to collect more specific information regarding cases of COVID-19 in Ohio nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals. Nursing home and assisted living data will include COVID-19 cases broken down by the number of residents and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at nursing homes and assisted living facilities listed by facility and county. Data will be posted to Ohio.Gov every Wednesday. Ohio will also begin reporting aggregate death data for nursing homes and assisted living facilities at the county level. April 20, 2020.
- There was an order issued prohibiting visitors in county jails and community based correctional facilities. The order follows what has already been done in state prisons. March 13, 2020.
- Click here for a copy of the order limiting access to jails and detention facilities. March 17, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that he will recommend the early release of 38 prison inmates. Inmates eligible for early release are either pregnant or recently postpartum or inmates who are vulnerable COVID-19 at 60 years old or older and have 120 days or less remaining on their sentence. Judges who presided over these cases and will be encouraged to grant early releases. These cases do not involve any individuals convicted of serious violent crimes such as, but not limited to murder, sexual assault, and domestic violence. April 3, 2020.
- Governor DeWine asked the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC) to consider early-release for approximately 141 inmates from minimal security facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Eligible inmates have a pending release date on or before July 13, 2020 and were not convicted of violent offenses. These inmates also did not have prior incarcerations in Ohio, inter-state offenses, warrants or detainers, serious prison rule violations in the last five years, nor were they denied judicial release in the past. April 7, 2020.
- Governor DeWine asked the CIIC to consider early-release for 26 inmates who are 60 years or older and have one or more chronic health condition that makes them more vulnerable to COVID 19. Inmates were screened with the same criteria listed above. They also eliminated habitual offenders with two or more prior convictions. April 7, 2020.
- Pursuant to an overcrowding statute in Ohio law (ORC 2967.18) and agreement from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), Governor DeWine approved the release of 105 inmates in Ohio. Each inmate will be tested to determine if they have COVID-19 before they are released. The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) has been authorized to continue using the criteria previously set forth to identify other inmates that may qualify for release under the limited overcrowding statute. April 15, 2020.
- Comprehensive testing of inmates has begun at Marion Correctional Institution, Pickaway Correctional Institution, and Franklin Medical Center. Ohio is believed to be the first and only state in the country to conduct comprehensive testing in a state prison setting. With this, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) expects higher reports of COVID-19 as the testing identifies positive individuals who otherwise are asymptomatic or would recover without a test. Governor DeWine also announced that he denied 84 commutation requests and approved seven. April 17, 2020.
Ohio Department of Public Safety
- Governor DeWine announced an expansion of Ohio’s partnership with Battelle and the Ohio Department of Public Safety (DPS) to extend their sanitization services to law enforcement agencies and EMS providers. Local law enforcement and EMS agencies can bring their packaged N-95 masks to any Ohio State Highway Patrol Post in the state. The patrol will then bring those masks to Battelle for sanitization. Battelle is providing this service for free. April 15, 2020.
- Hospitals from 8 regions submitted their draft action plans for their capacity increase. The Ohio Department of Health and Ohio National Guard are currently reviewing these and will get back with the hospitals soon. March 28, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) signed an order to help track where ventilators are and how many we have in Ohio. Inventory is to be reported online at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/VentInventory each Wednesday. Separately, we are also working to secure more ventilators. A copy of the order is here. March 31, 2020.
- Director Acton signed an order requiring hospitals to send test kits to the Ohio Department of Health or hospitals with in-house testing capabilities to shorten the turnaround time. Here is a copy of the order. April 1, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that LabCorp and Quest currently have no backlog of samples and have added more testing capacity. In response to the private laboratories’ improved turnaround times, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will again allow hospitals to utilize commercial laboratories in addition to hospital laboratories performing COVID-19 testing. Here is the Director’s Order rescinding the previous ODH order for private lab testing. April 20, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is now partnering with the Ohio Department of Health to help increase the availability of testing supplies needed for testing citizens for COVID-19. April 3, 2020.
- Governor DeWine asked the Ohio Hospital Association to begin developing a plan to resume treating patients whose non-COVID-19 elective procedures were delayed or deferred due to the ongoing pandemic. Governor DeWine requested that the plan be completed within one week. April 15, 2020.
- Governor DeWine also directed the Department of Health to modify the Ohio Disease Reporting System to accurately collect case information for direct care providers at hospitals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The data, which will be available soon on Ohio.Gov, will be listed by each hospital. April 20, 2020.
- Dr. Acton announced an order limiting elective surgeries. Exemptions for this include procedures for preservation of life, organ, or limb, procedures to stop the progression of severe symptoms, and procedures to stop the metastasis of cancer. This order also applies to animals. A copy of the order is here. March 14, 2020. March 17, 2020.
- Dr. Acton announced an order that directs healthcare providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess procedures and surgeries that were postponed by a previous Ohio Department of Health (ODH) order issued on March 17, 2020. The purpose of the original order was to preserve PPE and hospital bed capacity. The new order directs healthcare professionals to review any postponed procedures or surgeries with their patients. Doctors and patients should consider the current health situations and make a joint decision about whether or not to proceed. The order also requires that patients be informed of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the impact during the post-operative recovery process. April 22, 2020.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Governor DeWine encouraged Ohioans to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation to wear cloth face coverings (masks) in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers are encouraged to allow their employees to wear masks as well. Find details here. April 4, 2020.
- The Governor has asked all healthcare providers to look at their inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and preserve surplus items and consider donating extra supplies to their local EMA. Contact information for each county’s EMA can be found on the Emergency Management Association of Ohio website here. March 14, 2020.
- The entire shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) that we’ve received from the Strategic National Stockpile has been distributed to counties based on the prioritization of need. March 24, 2020.
- The state of Ohio is asking residents and businesses who can donate PPE, or any other essential service or resource, to email Together@Governor.Ohio.Gov.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Columbus-based Battelle to sterilize surgical masks in Ohio. Battelle has the ability to sterilize up to 160,000 mask per day in Ohio alone. March 29, 2020.
- Late on March 29, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Battelle to sterilize surgical masks in Ohio without a daily limit. Previously, the FDA had set a daily limit which Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted opposed. Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted thank the FDA for their quick reconsideration of this issue. Anyone who needs to connect with Battelle regarding COVID-19 mitigation efforts and support, can call the Battelle customer service hotline : +1 800-201-2011 (prompt #2) or visit the Battelle website and complete the contact form. March 30, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced the establishment of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to fight COVID-19. This is a collaborative public-private partnership tasked with coordinating efforts to provide health care workers and first responders the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to safely care for patients. If manufacturers have the capability to produce any of the in-demand PPE supplies, we encourage them to visit RepurposingProject.com. April 1, 2020.
- Governor DeWine made a plea to healthcare workers using N95 masks to send them to Battelle which can sterilize up to 160,000 masks each day, making them reusable up to 20 times. Hospitals should contact battelle.org to arrange for mask sterilization. April 8, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, 19 manufacturers have partnered with three hospital groups to begin large scale production of face shields for Ohio. Over the next five weeks, 750,000 to 1 million face shields will be added to the Ohio Department of Health stockpile. The face shield production is part of Ohio’s unique strategy to buy PPE when it is available, make PPE when it cannot be purchased, and use technology and innovation to identify ways to make Ohio’s PPE supplies last. April 9, 2020.
- Lt. Governor Husted announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted STERIS, a Mentor, Ohio-based company, a temporary Emergency Use Authorization for decontaminating compatible N95 and N95-equivalent respirators by utilizing V-PRO Sterilizers. This on-site solution allows hospitals to decontaminate up to 10 masks per cycle in 28 minutes. April 10, 2020.
- To protect our first responders and to ensure consistency across the state, Dr. Amy Acton announced that a new order has been issued that requires local health departments to provide to their jurisdictions’ dispatch agency or agencies the names and addresses of COVID-19-positive individuals. Dispatch agencies are required to keep this information confidential. By knowing in advance if they will be interacting with someone who has tested positive, first responders will be better prepared when they arrive at a scene with appropriate protective gear. April 14, 2020.
Mental Health and Addiction Services
- The Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) and Medicaid announced they are filing emergency rules regarding telehealth options for individuals with mental illness and substance-use disorders. These emergency rules will temporarily eliminate the requirement for first-time in-person appointments. MHAS has also temporarily suspended patient visitation at the 6 state operated psychiatric hospitals. March 14, 2020.
- The Department of Health signed an order requiring health screenings for patient admission to state operated psychiatric hospitals or to the Department of Youth Services facilities. A copy of the order is here. March 14, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS) announced a new resource for people who are struggling with stress and need emotional support during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Individuals can call the COVID CareLine toll-free at 1-800-720-9616 to speak confidentially with a trained professional. Lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After 8:00 PM, the calls will be forwarded to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. April 22, 2020.
Foreclosures and Evictions
- Governor DeWine signed an executive order to provide small businesses relief from commercial evictions and foreclosures. The order requests that landlords suspend rent payments for small businesses and also implement a moratorium of evictions for no less than 90 days. Lenders to commercial real estate borrowers with a commercial mortgage loan are asked to provide an opportunity for forbearance for at least 90 days. The order is here. April 1, 2020.
Housing and Homelessness
- Governor DeWine is asking all local communities to include homeless shelters in their planning so that we can help support these Ohioans to meet social distancing guidelines. Additionally, Governor DeWine has created a Homelessness Team dedicated to this specific issue. If an organization has questions or recommendations related to this, please email COVID19Housing@mha.ohio.gov. March 30, 2020.
- The Department of Health issued an order closing all bars and restaurants effective 9:00 p.m. March 15.
- Carryout and delivery options are still allowed and encouraged. A copy of the order is here. March 15, 2020.
- Additionally, fitness centers, gyms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, water parks, trampoline centers were ordered to close. Find order here. March 17, 2020.
- Governor DeWine also announced he will order all spas, tattoo parlors, barber shops, and beauty salons to close effective March 18. Find the order here. March 18, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that internet cafes will be ordered to close. Find order here. March 19, 2020. March 21, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that in-person sales of liquor in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson, and Belmont Counties will be restricted only to Ohioans after instances of persons from Pennsylvania coming into these counties for the sole purpose of purchasing liquor. From this point forward, individuals in those counties must present a valid Ohio photo ID or a valid military photo ID. Sale of liquor to a person with a valid non-Ohio photo ID may only occur with additional information showing that the person resides in Ohio, including mail with the person’s name and Ohio address on it or a letter from an employer placing the person as an essential Ohio employee. April 13, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule to allow establishments with an existing on-premises liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol, including high-proof liquor in limited quantity for off-premises consumption. Under the rule, patrons can purchase two unpackaged drinks per meal. All drinks must be closed and remain closed during transport as per open container law. Here is the signed Executive Order and the emergency rule. April 7, 2020.
- Bar and restaurant owners affected by COVID-19 can return high proof liquor products purchased within the past 30 days. This courtesy also extends to those who may have obtained a temporary permit for an event scheduled between March 12 and April 16 and that event is now cancelled. For questions regarding the one-time high proof liquor buy back, contact the Liquor Enterprise Service Center at 877-812-0013 or OhioLiquorInfo@com.ohio.gov. March 15, 2020.
- Governor DeWine issued an executive order granting the authority to the Department of Job and Family Services to approve requests to suspend the normal one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation. March 15, 2020.
- Here is a link to a frequently asked questions page regarding COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Benefits. March 17, 2020.
- Pursuant to a Department of Labor order, Ohio will now release our unemployment numbers on a weekly basis as soon as the national report is released on Thursday. March 24, 2020.
- Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov. April 9, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will be able to begin processing the additional $600-a-week payments authorized by the federal CARES Act. ODJFS also plans to launch an online tool that will allow self-employed, 1099 workers to get in line early, so that as soon as they have the technological ability to process their claims, they will already have their paperwork in and be in line for review. The department expects to be able to begin processing those claims by May 15, 2020. April 15, 2020.
- Starting Friday, April 24, Ohioans who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin pre-registering for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers. To pre-register for PUA benefits, Ohioans should visit unemployment.ohio.gov and click on “Get Started Now.” April 23, 2020.
Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation
- Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis. Both essential businesses and current job seekers can visit Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch to post and search. April 2, 2020.
- Governor Husted announced there are over 40,000 job postings on the JobSearch.Ohio.Gov website from 642 unique companies. Individuals or employers who have been affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to visit the website and apply for a position or post their job opportunities. April 13, 2020.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
- The Development Services Agency (DSA) has secured approval from the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) to extend the Winter Crisis Program from March 31 to May 1, and to extend the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) from March 31 to June 1. For more information on these utility assistance programs, please visit energyhelp.ohio.gov. March 25, 2020.
Business Guidance & Support
- Governor DeWine recommends that businesses take an aggressive approach to clean and sanitize all surfaces. He also recommends that employees’ temperatures be taken on a daily basis. If an employee has a high temperature, they should be sent home to prevent the spread of any possible illness. Find more here. March 18, 2020. March 19, 2020.
- Governor Husted announced that businesses and workers effected by COVID-19 now have a central website to access helpful resources and information. The Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp portal includes information on unemployment benefits, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the Liquor Buyback Program, and many other things. March 22, 2020.
- Essential businesses do not need a specific letter or certification to maintain operations. However, Lt. Governor Husted does recommend that businesses create their own documentation with rational for staying open and what measures they are taking to implement safe workplace practices and social distancing protocols. Find guidance here for essential businesses and operations employers. March 25, 2020.
- The Dispute Resolution Commission will evaluate and render guidance in situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion for similar businesses on what is or is not an essential business. To submit a dispute, fill out this Dispute Resolution Form and submit it to Dispute.Resolution@odh.ohio.gov. April 6, 2020.
- Lt. Governor Husted announced the creation of the Office of Small Business Relief to better coordinate efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses. This office will be housed within the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA). You can visit the Office of Small Business Relief website here. April 7, 2020.
- Governor DeWine cautioned companies in Ohio that are purchasing rapid antibody tests to ensure that they are purchasing tests that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Without the FDA Emergency Use Authorization approval, there is no way to know if the tests are valid. To date, the FDA has granted 30 Emergency Use Authorizations of commercially available diagnostic tests, including one antibody test to be used in hospital laboratories. April 13, 2020.
Economic Advisory Board
- Governor DeWine announced the creation of his Economic Advisory Board that will help the administration work through economic issues facing Ohio as the state looks toward the future. A list of the advisory board members can be found here. April 2, 2020.
Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
- The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020. At that time the matter will be reconsidered. Additionally, BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of COVID-19. For more information, or you can visit BWC.Ohio.Gov. March 21, 2020.
- Governor DeWine and BWC proposed giving $1.6 billion in dividends to Ohio employers this spring to ease the economic impact of COVID-19. If approved by the BWC’s board, $1.4 billion will go to private employers, and $200 million will be directed to local governments. April 8, 2020.
- The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors approved to send up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers this spring to ease the economic impact on Ohio’s economy and business community. Of the $1.6 billion dividend, approximately $1.4 billion would go to private employers and approximately $200 million would go to local governments. April 10, 2020.
- The Ohio Bureau of Worker’ Compensation (BWC) will begin sending up to $1.6 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s business community and economy. The dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums employers paid in policy year 2018. Approximately $1.4 billion will go to private employers and nearly $200 million will go to local government taxing districts. For a county breakdown of the dividend, visit this link on BWC’s website. Dividends for specific public employers are public record and can be found at this link. April 21, 2020.
- Banks and credit unions across the state are taking steps to offer loan payment deferrals, fee waivers or refunds and extend credit lines to both businesses and individuals. Many financial institutions are also suspending foreclosures where possible. If individuals need help, they should reach out to their local banker for assistance. March 24, 2020.
Small Business Administration
- The Ohio Development Services Agency, Governor DeWine, and Lt. Governor Husted worked to submit necessary information to qualify the state for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. This program will enable small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million dollars. Non-profit organizations are also eligible. Small business owners who have been impacted should send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov. March 15, 2020.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Loan applications can be completed online at disasterloan.sba.gov or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955. March 19, 2020.
- On March 23, Governor DeWine announced a temporary hiring freeze in state government. The only exceptions are for positions that provide a direct response to COVID-19, safety and security, and/or direct care or institutional services. The Governor’s cabinet has been instructed to look for unnecessary spending cuts by 20%. There will also be a freeze on all new contract services. More details here. March 23, 2020.
- Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued an order regarding Closure of the Polling Locations in the State of Ohio on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Order Found Here.
- The Ohio General Assembly has determined that Ohio will complete the 2020 primary election on April 28, 2020. The election will be largely completed by mail, with limited in-person voting on April 28th for the disabled and those without a home mailing address. Individuals can visit VoteOhio.gov to request their absentee ballot. March 26, 2020.
- Back on March 17, it was thought the primary election would be held on June 2, but with the new legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly, Ohio’s primary election will be completed on April 28.
BMV/Commercial Driver’s License
- Governor DeWine announced that he will order the majority of Bureau of Motor Vehicle offices to close effective March 18. Five centers will remain open and some online services will continue to operate. To comply with this order, law enforcement offices have been instructed not to issue tickets for expired drivers licenses. More information here. March 18, 2020.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation has cut red tape related to obtaining or renewing commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and other licenses that are vital to the efficient movement of essential goods across the state and country, while ensuring that safety standards are still being followed. March 25, 2020.
- Currently, the National Guard is helping erect tents, assist food banks, and provide other civilian support during this health outbreak. March 18, 2020.
- Governor DeWine has called upon the Ohio National Guard to assist in the state’s response to COVID-19. Members of the Guard are helping foodbanks distribute food and supplies and helping to organize an assessment of healthcare resources across the state to determine what additional personnel, supplies, and facilities might be needed. April 1, 2020.
- The Ohio National Guard began providing assistance at the Pickaway Correctional Institution, as a number of medical staff are out sick due to COVID-19. The Ohio National Guard will provide triage support, take temperatures, and help with non-COVID cases. April 13, 2020.
- Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor announced the Supreme Court will issue $4 million dollars to courts for technology improvements. Courts should also prioritize work, suspend non-essential jury trials, refrain from foreclosure hearings, and use discretion to release non-violent offenders who are highly at-risk. The Supreme Court is staying open and emphasizes that local courts should do the same. March 19, 2020.
- Governor DeWine issued an executive order that will expand access to medical and behavioral health services using telehealth. Patients don’t need to have an existing relationship with a healthcare professional to utilize these services. Find the order here. March 19, 2020.
- Governor DeWine signed an executive order that effectively allows Ohioans to more easily access telehealth services from individual counselors, social workers, marriage, and family counselors without the requirement to have an initial in-person appointment first. April 4, 2020.
- The Ohio Department of Insurance issued an order that will allow employers to take care of employees with a grace period for insurance premiums. Employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to 2 months. March 20, 2020.
- Lt. Governor Husted reinforced relief efforts through the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) including a grace period that was enacted on March 20, 2020 for employers that can not pay their premiums. More information is available on Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp. March 31, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced that adult day services for individuals with developmental disabilities will be ordered to close. There will be exceptions for groups of less than 10. Find the order here. March 21, 2020.
Ohio Department of Transportation
- The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will issue waivers for haulers carrying heavy or oversized loads of essential goods. ODOT will also waive the current permit fee for this. Haulers can download waivers from ODOT’s website at transportation.ohio.gov. March 21, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced a new permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation, allowing food vendors to temporarily serve food at Ohio’s 86 rest areas. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) temporarily lifted regulations prohibiting commercial activity at rest areas, with limited exceptions. The permit is of no cost to the vendor, and can be found on ODOT’s website. April 10, 2020.
- Governor DeWine signed an order to waive the requirement for commercial vehicles to file an application for a single trip permit if they are transporting COVID-19 emergency relief supplies while traveling into or throughout Ohio. April 16, 2020.
Ohio Board of Pharmacy
- The Ohio Board of Pharmacy passed a rule related to prescribing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for purposes of COVID-19. March 22, 2020.
Ohio Emergency Management Agency & Spam Calls
- The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) is receiving reports of spam calls to Ohioans from individuals claiming to be from the Ohio EMA and requesting personal protected information, such as a Social Security number. Please note the Ohio EMA will NOT call you asking for personal information. More information is available here. March 30, 2020.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
- Governor DeWine also announced the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an order to maintain public water service during the COVID-19 state of emergency. A copy of the order is here. March 31, 2020.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
- The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today that Ohioans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who did not already receive the maximum monthly allotment for their household size in March, will be issued an additional payment beginning this week. SNAP-eligible households will also be able to pick up a pre-packaged box of food at their local foodbank. This came after Ohio received federal approval to waive certain administrative verifications. April 7, 2020.
- Governor DeWine signed an Executive Order to provide nearly $5 million in emergency funding from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant to support Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and the statewide hunger relief network. Of this funding, $1 million is earmarked for the Agricultural Clearance Program, where the Ohio Association of Food Banks will purchase Ohio-made commodities, such as milk, to distribute to foodbanks across the state. An additional $1 million has been granted to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to help homeless shelters purchase needed cleaning supplies and provide homelessness prevention and housing services. A copy of the order is here. April 13, 2020.
- Governor DeWine announced changes to the foster care system so that no child is forced out of the system during the pandemic. Those who would be aging out of the system and in the Bridges program will be able to continue foster care. April 24, 2020.
Ohio Department of Agriculture
- Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Agriculture has waived the required $50,000 local match for the Agricultural Society Facilities Grant Program. Ohio’s operating budget set aside this grant funding to help fairs make necessary facilities and grounds improvements. Fairs could apply for the $50,000 grant with a required $50,000 from local governments and businesses. Fair managers have until May 30th to apply via the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website. April 21, 2020.
Ohio Department of Medicaid
- Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), in partnership with Ohio’s Managed Care Plans announced an emergency amendment to ODM’s provider agreement. The updated agreement will impact pharmacy benefits, telehealth services, and service authorization requirements. These changes are intended to remove barriers to care, and to safeguard individual health and wellbeing while reducing burdens on hospitals and providers. April 10, 2020.
- In addition to previous emergency measures taken by the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to help increase access to healthcare for millions of Ohioans, Governor DeWine announced that his administration is submitting its first waiver application to the federal government, known as 1135 or Appendix K, to provide the needed flexibility to address this crisis. The waiver will allow Ohio to bolster telehealth and other technology to be used to do health assessments and care planning; waive signature requirements for a variety of providers to ensure safe distancing without compromising access to care; ease obstacles to access nursing home care; allow services to be provided at alternative locations; and remove staffing level requirements to give providers more flexibility. Once the federal government approves the waiver, it will be retroactively applied from March 1, 2020. April 14, 2020.
- JobsOhio announced it has provided a $2 million growth fund loan to Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC), which provides small business financing in the 32-Appalachian Counties of eastern and southern Ohio. The lending support is intended to sustain small Southeast Ohio businesses during this COVID-19 outbreak and create sustainable growth for the Region beyond the crisis. March 31, 2020.
- Lt. Governor Husted announced that Battelle and JobsOhio have partnered to provide free N95 mask sanitizing for hospitals for the next two weeks. Ohio still faces a critical shortage of PPE. Anyone with items to donate should email email@example.com. Manufacturers that may be able to temporarily repurpose to create PPE are asked to visit repurposingproject.com. April 3, 2020.
- Many Ohio distilleries have stepped up and are now are producing large quantities of hand sanitizer. JobsOhio has purchased more than 3,100 cases (more than 1 million ounces) of distillery-made sanitizer. JobsOhio will donate the hand sanitizer to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. April 10, 2020.
- JobsOhio, Peoples Bank and First Federal/Home Savings Bank announced a partnership to support existing small business clients with maintaining operations and payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. JobsOhio has committed up to $50 million to assist with this. For information on how to apply for this lending support, businesses should visit PeoplesBancorp.com/Coronavirus, First-fedbanking.com/COVID-19 or Homesavings.com/COVID-19. April 21, 2020.
- Lt. Governor Husted announced that the State of Ohio has been working with providers to find public hotspot locations that Ohioans can use in areas where they may not otherwise have access to internet from home. A list of hotspot finders and locations by provider is available at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/BusinessHelp under the “Individuals and Families” tab. April 4, 2020.
- Ohioans who are finding it difficult to access reliable internet service from home can utilize Ohio’s public libraries. Many libraries have wi-fi available that can be accessed from the parking lot. Individuals can locate their nearest local library here. April 9, 2020.