Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Ohio, US, update coronavirus disease-related travel advisory list as of Sept. 24. Some business restrictions also amended.

Alert Begins 24 Sep 2020 11:26 PM UTC
Alert Expires 01 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Ohio (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
On Sept. 24, authorities in Ohio released an updated version of the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advisory list. The new list consists of the states of Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Per the most recent directives, travelers entering Ohio from any state or territory on the list are advised to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Moreover, Ohio residents are urged to avoid nonessential travel to listed states. Authorities recommend all persons arriving from other US states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher to self-quarantine for two weeks. Ohio's travel advisory list is updated weekly.

Some business restrictions have also been eased as of Sept. 24. Under the new guidelines, bars, banquet and catering facilities, and restaurants may operate at full capacity. Social distancing must continue to be enforced, facemasks must be worn by employees and patrons when not eating, and no more than 10 people may be seated at a table. Catering and banquet facilities may host no more than 300 people at a time.

Previously imposed COVID-19-related restrictions remain unchanged. Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide; however, businesses, education centers, and religious services are exempt from the public assembly ban. The sale of alcohol after 2200 nightly remains prohibited. Statewide, museums, zoos, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment facilities are allowed to open. Office-based businesses, retail stores, personal care businesses, and gyms and fitness centers may also operate. All persons over the age of 10 must wear protective face coverings while in indoor public locations, in outdoor settings where social distancing is not possible, and while using public transportation, taxis, or app-based ride-hailing services.

Ohio continues to employ its Health Advisory System to monitor 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 Sept. 24, 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 gatherings of any size. As of Sept. 24, the following counties are at Level 3: Ashland, Butler, Delaware, Mercer, Montgomery, Pike, Putnam, Scioto, and Stark.

At Level 2 (orange), residents should avoid anyone considered high-risk, decrease in-person interactions, and maintain social distancing. As of Sept. 24, the following counties are on Level 2: Adams, Allen, Ashtabula, Athens, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Henry, Jackson, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Marion, Meigs, Miami, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Richland, Seneca, Summit, Tuscarawas, Union, Warren, Washington, and Wood. The remainder of the state is at Level 1, under which residents should maintain social distancing and avoid travel to high-risk areas.

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

Advice
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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