Ohio's revised retail mask order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday
, and it basically says that due to the fact that every county in Ohio is now a COVID-19 high-incidence county, people must wear masks or some other facial covering while in a retail environment to help protect everyone and also keep the economy open.
That means, unless you have a medical condition that keeps you from wearing a mask (if so, you shouldn't really be out shopping anyway; try curbside pick-up or delivery) or you're 10 and under, you need to be wearing a mask in any store.
“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 Gov. Mike DeWine. “We know that masks work. They are the easiest, most cost-effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Here are the basics of the order:
- 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.
However, the big, new part of this order is compliance enforcement.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Retail Compliance Unit, local health departments and local law enforcement officers are now authorized to both inspect and enforce the retail mask order. Retailers also need to ensure customers are wearing masks while shopping — but the order says employees should not place themselves in "jeopardy or risk of harm" to enforce it.
Each retail business should also have a designated compliance officer to act as a contact for the health department, law enforcement and workers' comp unit.
All enforcement officials are allowed to inspect public retail areas during business hours, and if they notice a violation, they will issue an initial warning to the business. If that doesn't fix the mask problem, enforcers will next issue a notice of violation order.
That notice of violation will come from the Ohio Department of Health, local health department or law enforcement and requires the business to close — immediately — for up to 24 hours "to allow for dissipation of COVID-19 airborne droplets."
Per the Ohio Department of Health, "This order does not apply to restaurants, bars, banquet and catering centers, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, gyms, dance instruction studios, or personal fitness venues as these businesses fall under previously-issued, existing orders."
If you notice a retail business not complying with the mask ordinance, call the Ohio Department of Health at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634) and report it.