Each day around 2 p.m., Ohioans have been fortunate to receive updates from Governor DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, and many other leaders in Ohio regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. These daily briefings can be watched live on the Ohio Channel, Ohio Public TV (PBS stations), and other Columbus-based outlets.
Additionally, www.Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov and the Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4-ASK-ODH are great resources.
Below is a list of actions taken as of March 27, 2020, with dates they were discussed, and official orders when imposed.
All COVID-19 orders can be found here.
Stay at Home Order/Essential Businesses
- Governor DeWine announced an order requiring all persons to stay at home unless engaged in essential work or activity. This order will go into effect Monday night at 11:59 PM until April 6, 2020. At that time, the order will be re-evaluated. Find the order here. 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 for essential businesses and operations employers here. March 25, 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.
Ohio General Assembly
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Healthcare Providers/Personal Protective Equipment
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It’s also possible to file by phone at (1-877-644-6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov. March 17, 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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. We would like to emphasize that the Supreme Court is staying open and 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.