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Guidelines for Essential Businesses and Operations Employers

COVID-19 Guidance for Essential Businesses and Operations –

Guidelines for Essential Businesses and Operations Employers

In order to minimize contact among people and stop the spread of COVID-19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton are ordering all Ohioans to stay home or at their place of residence, effective 11:59 p.m. March 23, except for essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses and operations. Homes or residences include houses, rental units, hotels, motels, shared rental units, shelters, and similar facilities. The order will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 6, 2020, unless it is rescinded or modified before then. For full details, please read the order.

In this order, essential businesses and operations employers must:

  • Allow as many people as possible to work from home by implementing policies in areas such as teleworking and video conferencing.
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home until they are free of fever (without the use of medication) for at least 72 hours (three full days) AND symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours AND at least seven days have passed since symptoms first began.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note to validate the illness or return to work of employees sick with acute respiratory illness; healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are up to date, flexible, and non-punitive to allow sick employees to stay home to care for themselves, children, or other family members.
    • Consider encouraging employees to do a self-assessment each day to check if they have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
  • Separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) from other employees and send the home immediately. Restrict the access to the business until they have recovered.
  • Reinforce key messages – stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene – to all employees, and place posters in areas where they are most likely to be seen.
  • Provide protection supplies such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops railing, door handles, and doorknobs.
    • Use cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Be prepared to change business practices fi needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations).

Social Distancing Requirements:

Essential business and operations and businesses engages in minimum basic operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements, including where possible:

  • Designate six-foot distances. Designate with signage, tape, or by other means six foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance.
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers.
  • Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations. Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.
  • Online and remote access.  Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.

For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).


If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 TTY); connect with a trained counselor through the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741; or call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services help line at 1-877-275-6364 to find resources in your community.


Prevention Infographic


Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions.

  • Stay home 
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
  • Call before visiting your doctor
  • Practice good hygiene habits 


If you have questions regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 please call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)


CLEAN ALL "HIGH-TOUCH" SURFACES EVERY DAY

High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.



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