Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Ohio, US, update COVID-19-related travel advisory list as of Sept. 17. Previously imposed restrictions remain in place.

Alert Begins 17 Sep 2020 07:46 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

On Sept. 17, authorities in Ohio released an updated version of the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advisory list. Kansas and North Dakota have been removed from the list; however, the states of Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota remain under advisory. 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.

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. 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. 17, 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. 17, the following counties are at Level 3: Butler, Mercer, Montgomery, Portage, and Putnam.

At Level 2 (orange), residents should avoid anyone considered high-risk, decrease in-person interactions, and maintain social distancing. As of Sept. 17, the following counties are on Level 2: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Athens, Auglaize, Brown, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Huron, Jackson, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Medina, Meigs, Miami, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Preble, Richland, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Union, Van Wert, Warren, Washington, Wayne, and Wood. The remainder of the state is at 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, including requiring all employees to wear protective face coverings, 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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