Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: As of July 8, officials in Ohio, US, have implemented a system to impose additional restrictions in counties most affected by COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 09 Jul 2020 01:21 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 22 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Ohio (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions

As of July 8, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has issued orders to implement a system, called the Health Advisory System, which allows authorities to better track increases in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity, and impose additional restrictions in the most affected counties. Statewide restrictions remain unaltered, with officials continuing to strongly recommend individuals, especially those 65 years and older and those with underlying health conditions, to remain at home as much as possible.

Under the current directives, counties are divided into four public emergency levels; level one (yellow) is the lowest level of risk of COVID-19 infection, and level four (purple) is the highest level of risk of infection. The level system is based on several indicators, including the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed in a county and hospital-bed availability.

On level four, residents are asked to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel; however, as of July 8, no county is on level four. On level three (red), residents must limit face-to-face interactions, limit unnecessary travel, and avoid any large gathering. They are also required to wear facemasks in any indoor location outside of their home, in outdoor locations when social distancing is not possible, and whenever they are on public transport, taxi, or ride-sharing vehicle. As of July 8, seven counties are on level three: Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery, and Trumbull.

On level two (orange), residents should avoid anyone considered high-risk, decrease in-person interactions, maintain social distancing, and wear facemasks when social distancing is not possible. As of July 8, there are 27 counties on level two: Allen, Belmont, Clark, Clermont, Delaware, Fairfield, Greene, Henry, Holmes, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Pickaway, Preble, Richland, Scioto, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Warren, Wayne, and Wood.

The rest of the state is on level one, under which residents should maintain social distancing measures, avoid travel to high-risk areas, and wear facemasks whenever social distancing is not possible.

Statewide, authorities have eased multiple business restrictions, allowing museums, zoos, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment facilities to reopen. Office-based businesses, retail stores, dine-in services at restaurants and bars, personal care businesses, and gyms and fitness centers may also operate. All businesses must follow safety guidelines. These include requiring all employees to wear protective facemasks, conducting evaluations of workers' health, enhancing sanitation procedures, limiting the number of persons allowed in establishments at a given time, staggering shifts, and maintaining social distancing. Employers should continue to encourage employees to work from home as much as possible.

Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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