New Ohio Public Health Order: Retailers Must Enforce Mask Mandate or Risk Closure

Nov 16, 2020

Under a new order from the Ohio Department of Health, retail businesses will soon be required to ensure that all customers wear a facial covering while on the business’s property. Failure to comply could result in local health authorities ordering the business closed. The new order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on November 16, 2020.

Released late Friday, the new order covers each “store, retail business, or other enterprise in Ohio offering goods in person to the public….” The order does not apply to some specifically exempted businesses, including restaurants, bars, hair salons, spas, gyms, and others. Some exempted businesses are covered by previous orders.

For those covered by the order, businesses must ensure that “all persons…wear a facial covering (mask)…at all times they are in or on the premises of a [covered business].” Covered businesses must also take action to prepare for the new mandate by:

  • Posting notices at all entrances that inform individuals entering the store that they are required to wear a facial covering at all times while in or on the premises and that reasonable accommodations may be available for individuals who are unable to wear a facial covering. The state has released model signage that businesses may use to comply with the notice requirements, but businesses are free to create their own.

  • Designating a “compliance officer” for each location and each shift whose responsibility is to enforce compliance with the order. The designated compliance officer will also serve as the contact person for local health departments and law enforcement agencies.

  • Enforcing maximum capacity limitations, marking six-foot-separation spots in all check-out lines, placing hand sanitizers in high contact locations, and arranging store aisles to be one-way if necessary to maintain social distancing.

The order does not affect the covered business’s employees, which previous orders already required to wear facial coverings. The order also does not apply to individuals who are under ten years old or those who are “medically or developmentally unable to wear a mask.”

In connection with the order, the Health Department has created a telephone hotline (833-427-5634) where citizens may report businesses they observe to be in non-compliance. After issuing an initial warning, state and local health authorities are authorized to require any non-complying business to close to the public for no longer than twenty-four hours.

We encourage you to reach out to any of our KWW professionals with any questions you may have about this new order or any other workplace matters. As always, your workforce is our priority.

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