Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Ohio, US, tighten some coronavirus restrictions as of July 22; issue advisory for travelers arriving from certain other states.

  • Alert Begins: 22 Jul 2020 11:33 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 05 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Ohio (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions

Authorities in Ohio have tightened certain restrictions and measures as of July 22 due to an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. A new travel warning issued by Governor Mike DeWine advises all travelers entering Ohio from states with COVID-19 positive testing rates of 15 percent or higher to self-quarantine for 14 days. The affected states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas; the warning applies to all person arriving from these locations, including Ohio residents.

Additionally, authorities issued an order requiring all person in Ohio over the age of 10 to wear protective face coverings whenever they are in indoor public locations, in outdoor settings when social distancing measures are not possible, and when riding public transportation, taxis or app-based private transport services. The order enters into effect at 1800 July 23.

Other restrictions in the state remain unchanged. Ohio continues to employ its Health Advisory System to track increases in COVID-19 activity and impose additional restrictions in the most affected counties. Under the system, counties are divided into four color-coded public emergency levels, with Level 1 (yellow) representing the lowest level of risk of COVID-19 infection and Level 4 (purple), the highest. Several indicators, including the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospital bed availability, are used to assign counties to the appropriate level.

At Level 4, residents are asked to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel; as of July 22, no county in the state is at this level. At Level 3 (red), residents must limit face-to-face interactions and unnecessary travel, as well as avoid large gatherings. As of July 22, there are 19 counties at Level 3: Allen, Athens, Butler, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Montgomery, Pickaway, Richland, Scioto, Summit, Union, and Wood.

At Level 2 (orange), residents should avoid anyone considered high-risk, decrease in-person interactions, and maintain social distancing. As of July 22, there are 35 counties on level two: Adams, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Defiance, Erie, Geauga, Greene, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Jefferson, Lake, Lawrence, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer, Miami, Morrow, Muskingum, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Warren, Washington, and Wyandot. The remainder of the state is Level 1, under which residents should maintain social distancing measures and avoid travel to high-risk areas.

Statewide, museums, zoos, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment facilities are allowed to open. 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.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

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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