New “Stay Safe Ohio” Order Details First Phase of Business Reopening on Monday

With the state’s “Stay at Home” order set to expire at midnight tonight, Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that it would be replaced by a new order, which is being called the “Stay Safe Ohio” order. The new order incorporates the phased-in reopening of Ohio businesses set to begin on Monday, May 4. It also instructs all Ohioans to continue to stay at home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While the new order remains in force until midnight on May 29, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted noted that many things could change before that date, leaving the door open to the possibility it could be rescinded sooner.

Gone are the distinctions between “essential” and “non-essential” businesses created in the original “Stay at Home” order. Now, all businesses – with certain significant exceptions – are permitted to reopen, as per this past Monday’s announcement. Starting on Monday, manufacturing, distribution, construction, and general office environments can reopen, followed by most consumer, retail and service-oriented businesses on Tuesday, May 12.

Many key industries, however, will remain closed. Per the “Stay Safe Ohio” order, these include:

  • Dine-in restaurants and bars (carry out and delivery still permitted)
  • Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, massage therapy locations and like businesses
  • Entertainment/recreation/gymnasiums

A decision as to when these industries will be allowed to reopen is expected next week. Recognizing that these industries – among those suffering the most – cannot be left behind, the Governor is also forming two separate advisory groups to develop best practices for reopening restaurants, barbershops, and salons.

The goal of these two new groups is to develop recommendations for how best to protect the health of their employees and customers as they reopen. Individual business owners recommended by the Ohio Chamber have been chosen to serve on both panels: Mike LaRosa, CEO of LaRosa’s, a Cincinnati-based family pizzeria and Italian restaurant, will be on the restaurant advisory group and Clara Osterhage, owner of several Great Clips franchises in the Dayton area, will be on the barbershop and salon group.

Also still closed are childcare services and adult day care services and senior centers.

The social distancing requirements are being carried over from the “Stay at Home” order to the “Stay Safe Ohio” order, but the new order also contains industry sector specific requirements for manufacturing, distribution & construction, for consumer, retail & services, and for general office environments. Employers must follow these in order to remain open. You can see these sector specific operating requirements here. Many businesses – especially small businesses – are facing irreversible devastation, and the need to re-open businesses is urgent. No one expects that things are going to return to pre-COVID-19 “normal” anytime soon. However, the sooner we bring our state’s economy back to full force, the sooner businesses will be ready to meet new demands and expectations in the post-COVID-19 environment.