Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Ohio, US, to lift some business restrictions between May 1-12. Stay-at-home order to remain in place until further notice.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Akron, Ohio
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Lima, Ohio
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Canton, Ohio

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 21:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Ohio (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 12
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced plans to lift some business restrictions that had been implemented as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), albeit while keeping Ohio's stay-at-home order in place indefinitely. The business restrictions will be lifted gradually May 1-12 as follows:

  • May 1: Outpatient medical procedures may resume (i.e. those requiring no overnight stay at a medical facility).
  • May 4: Manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses, as well as general offices may reopen.
  • May 12: Consumer and retail businesses may reopen.

All businesses must follow safety guidelines, to include: requiring all employees to wear protective face masks and recommending customers do the same; 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.

In the meanwhile, restaurants may continue to operate on a delivery and carry-out basis, but dine-in services remain banned. Schools and daycares, as well as businesses pertaining to personal appearance, entertainment, recreation, and fitness, remain closed until further notice. Essential businesses continue to operate, including grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, banks, and companies in the transport, media, utilities, and security industries. Nonessential businesses can only operate with their employees working from home. Travelers entering Ohio, except those working in essential businesses, are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Under the state's existing stay-at-home order, residents may leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to medical issues, care for a person in need, or go to work at a business or service. Residents may also engage in outdoor recreational activities, provided they comply with social distancing standards. Gatherings of ten people or more also remain banned until further notice.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the order on short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. 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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