Updated Ohio public health order reasserts the need for facial coverings
Although many states have lifted the requirement to wear facial coverings, the state of Ohio has continued to assert the importance of wearing a facial covering and following COVID-19 protocols. As many individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the country continues to hope that infection numbers will decrease, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has reasserted the requirement that all individuals in Ohio continue to wear facial coverings and follow social distancing protocol. ODH Director, Stephanie McCloud, signed an updated Director’s order on April 8, 2021, clarifying certain COVID-19 requirements. The Order requires that all individuals within the State of Ohio continue to wear facial coverings in any indoor location that is not a residence, outdoors when unable to maintain a distance six feet and when utilizing public transportation. The requirement does not always apply and the Order further clarifies those situations, including when:
- The individual is under ten years of age.
- The individual suffers from a respiratory condition that restricts breathing, mental health conditions or disability that contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering.
- The individual is communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential.
- The individual is actively engaged in exercise in a gym or indoor facility so long as a distance of six feet is maintained.
- The individual is actively participating in athletic practice, scrimmage or competition permitted under a separate ODH order.
- The individual is seated and actively consuming food or beverage in a restaurant.
- Facial coverings are in violation of industry standards.
- Facial coverings are in violation of a business’s documented safety policies
- The individual is actively participating in broadcast communications.
- The individual is an officiant of a religious service.
- In a manufacturing facility when employees are separated by at least six feet or there is a barrier.
- Child care centers, day camps and after school programs licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
In addition, the Order expressly states that facial covering requirements previously put in place for Ohio K-12 schools remain in effect.
In an attempt to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases during the spring and summer months and as many establishments reopen, the Order continues to encourage that congregating in large groups be avoided, social distancing requirements remain in place and that individuals continue to avoid gathering when any possible signs of a COVID-19 infection are present and seek medical care.