Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday morning that Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes has signed a revised health order to limit mass gatherings in Ohio, effective as of Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The move comes in the wake of an announcement Friday that Himes had signed a health order to enforce mask-wearing in retail locations across the state, in compliance with the statewide mandatory mask order signed on July 23, 2020. That order went into effect Monday.
“Despite the health order that limited mass gatherings to 10 people that was signed in April remaining in effect, we have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” DeWine said in a news release Monday about the mass gatherings order. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events. It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward.”
In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through airborne particles passing between people in close contact, wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities are now subject to the following restrictions:
• No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing.
• Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
• If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
• Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
• No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.
This order does not apply to religious observances; First Amendment protected speech, including petition or referendum circulators, and any activity by media; and to governmental meetings which include meetings that are required to be open to the public.
In a news release Friday announcing the mask order, DeWine said,
“Every retail employee has the right to work in an environment that is as safe as can be, which means all customers must wear masks. Further, each Ohioan who goes out to shop has the right to know that every store they enter will be safe and the people they encounter in that store will be wearing a mask,” said Governor DeWine in a state news release. “We know that masks work. They are the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
This order restates that everyone 10 years-old or older must wear a facial covering when in a retail store and includes the following provisions:
• All retailers must post and enforce a sign indicating that masks are required at all entrances. Employees are not required to put themselves in jeopardy or risk harm when enforcing this order.
• All retailers must post at all entrances a maximum capacity limit to ensure a minimum of six-feet physical distance can be maintained throughout the location.
• All retailers should mark six-feet separation spots in all check-out lines.
• All retailers should arrange all store aisles to be directionally one-way, if required to achieve appropriate social distancing.
• All retailers should place hand sanitizer stations at high-contact locations.
• All retailers must require employees to stay home if symptomatic.
• All retailers must disinfect high-touch areas after each use (e.g. carts, baskets, and other equipment).
• All retailers should provide reasonable accommodation to any person unable to wear a mask into the store by providing online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick up or a delivery option and/or allowing a person to wear a full face shield that extends below the chin. Each retailer must post a sign at each entrance detailing these accommodations.
• Customers are strongly urged to utilize online or telephone ordering and curbside, non-contact pick-up or delivery options.
• This order does not apply to those medically or developmentally unable to wear a face covering.
• Each business should designate an on-site compliance officer for each business location and each shift during all business hours to enforce these requirements.