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Retail Facial Covering Mandate - FAQ's


Retail Facial Covering Mandate

Why are we issuing a new mask order?

As the spread of COVID-19 accelerates in Ohio, a stronger response is required if Ohio is to minimize the risk of major shutdowns and limitations. Every county in Ohio is currently a high incidence county, reflecting that the state of Ohio is experiencing high exposure and spread of the virus. Every Ohioan has the right to shop and work in a business that is safe and to know the state is taking necessary steps to protect Ohioans and keep the economy functioning.

I thought there already was a facial covering mandate in Ohio. How is this different?

The new retail facial covering order mandates retailers require that all employees and customers wear facial coverings at all times when in retail business locations. Employees of retailers should not place themselves in jeopardy or risk harm to enforce this order. This order also requires retailers post signage at all entrances indicating masks are required and display a maximum capacity that assures individuals are able to stay 6 feet apart. They also must designate an onsite compliance officer for each shift during business hours.

When does the new order go into effect?

The new order went into effect at 12:01 am on Monday, Nov. 16.

So, is the previous facial covering order still valid?

Yes. The previous order is still in effect, and requires you to wear a facial covering in any indoor location that is not a residence; outdoors if you are unable to consistently stay 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household; and when you are waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, a taxi, a car service, or a ride sharing vehicle. For more details about the previous order.

What exactly qualifies as a “facial covering?”

A facial covering is a mask. It should be made of cloth or a comparable material and fully cover your nose, mouth and chin. It should allow you to breathe comfortably through the nose without having to adjust it frequently (so you avoid touching your face).

What if I am unable to wear a mask? Does that mean I can’t shop?

No. Retailers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation for anyone who cannot wear a mask by providing online or telephone ordering and non-contact curbside pickup or delivery or by allowing the person to wear a full-face shield that extends below the chin.

Are there penalties for violating the order?

Yes. Retail locations will be inspected by the Retail Compliance Unit employees, led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (RCU) during business hours.   The RCU may also request assistance from local health departments and/or law enforcement. For a first violation, a retailer will receive a warning. For repeat violations, the business will be required to immediately close to the public for up to 24 hours to allow any airborne COVID-19 droplets to dissipate. All businesses are required to provide information, allow access to and permit inspection of public areas during all business hours, and cooperate with inspectors.

What should I do if I am shopping and see the order is not being followed?

If you observe any violations of the order, call the Ohio Department of Health Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or your local health department.

I’m a small business owner but can’t print the signs. What should I do?

If you need printing assistance, call the Ohio Department of Health Call Center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or your local health department.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. The order does not apply to children younger than 10 and people medically or developmentally unable to wear a mask. Remember that masks should never be placed on children younger than 2 or anyone else unable to easily remove them on their own.

I’m a retail employee. What if customers won’t wear a mask and become argumentative? How do I make them comply?

Employees of retailers are not required to place themselves in jeopardy or risk harm when seeking to enforce the order.

I’m a retailer. What else do I need to do to comply with the order?

Along with requiring and ensuring people wear masks and making accommodations for people who cannot wear them, retailers must follow other safety protocols, including placing signage at entrances, ensuring 6-foot social distancing, providing hand sanitizer, disinfecting high-touch items after each use, ensuring capacity limitations in buildings and requiring employees to stay home when sick. Full details of compliance rules, and links to printable signs, can be found in the order.

Are earlier orders involving retailers rescinded?

No. Earlier orders remain in effect. Full details of retailer responsibilities can be found in the Responsible RestartOhio Consumer, Retail, Services & Entertainment document.

What about restaurants, or my gym or barber shop?

This mandate applies specifically to retailers who sell goods. It does not apply to restaurants, bars, banquet and catering facilities and services; hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations and tanning facilities; or gyms, dance instruction studios, and other personal fitness venues. They are covered by other orders and not subject to this mandate.

Created Nov. 16, 2020.

For additional information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the COVID-19 Care Line at 1-800-720-9616.

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

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

  • Stay home except for work or other needs
  • Wear a face covering when going out
  • Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet from others
  • Shop at non-peak hours.
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Clean and disinfect "high-touch" surfaces often
  • Don’t work when sick
  • Call before visiting your doctor

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


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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