Responsible Restart Ohio Plan*

UPDATE June 8*

Governor Announces More Openings
The Governor yesterday announced that the following places can open on June 10 (following the protocols of the Consumer/Retail/Service/Entertainment sector):

  • Aquariums
  • Art galleries
  • Country clubs
  • Ice skating rinks
  • Indoor family entertainment centers
  • Indoor sports facilities
  • Laser tag facilities
  • Movie theaters (indoor)
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds (outdoor)
  • Public recreation centers
  • Roller skating rinks
  • Social clubs
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoos

 On Tuesday, hospitals were given the go ahead to start scheduling regular services and surgeries again. I had missed this in an earlier update I think, but in addition to Day Camps being allowed to reopen Residential Camps are also allowed to reopen (Protocols & Best Practices here). And here is a Protocols & Best Practices sheet for the outdoor visitation policy for Assisted Living & Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. And today he announced that amusement parks, casinos racinos, and water parks may open on June 19.

UPDATE May 29*

State Protocols & Other Updates
The State added several new Best Practices & Protocols for different types of businesses/activities over the last week, here are the links: County Fairs, Deputy Registrar, Driver Exam Services, Bowling Alley’s may reopen under the Consumer/Retail/Services/Entertainment protocols, Beaches, Hiking/Mtn. Biking, Canoe Liveries & Recreational Paddling.
Also of note, the baseball/softball rules were updated earlier this week, and they issued an FAQ for restaurants/bars (they addressed the ability to host live music, which we were getting several questions about).
Yesterday, the Governor said they hope to announce opening dates for attractions, amusement parks, museums, and other similar venues sometime next week. I know we have some local places waiting for that still.

The Governor also announced yesterday an increase in the testing locations (now including pharmacies) and the ability for more people to have access to tests. You can check the state website to see locations, and of course our local health care facilities also offer this. Here’s the direct wording from the State on testing:
Testing must be first available to individuals described in Priority Groups 1, 2 and 3, but Ohio is expanding to allow partners and communities to test Ohioans in Priority Group 4 which includes testing “Individuals in the community to decrease community spread, including individuals with symptoms who do not meet any of the above categories.”

And also yesterday, they announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. Beginning June 8, 2020, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation. The lifted restrictions do not yet apply to nursing homes.

UPDATE May 21*

The Lt. Governor did announce some new openings also today, and they seem to have added some new protocols on their sector specific protocols page. I’ve linked below:
-Batting Cages open May 26 – Protocols & Best Practices (same as baseball/softball)
-Mini Golf open May 26 – Protocols & Best Practices (same as golf)
-Bowling Alleys open May 26 – they noted protocols will be posted tomorrow
-Catering/Banquet Facilities – can open June 1 – they need to operate under the current restaurant guidelines – limited to 300 people – people cannot congregate.
-Effective May 26, skills training can resume for all sports, including contact sports like football, basketball and lacrosse so long as safety protocols are followed. This includes, but is not limited to, weight training, agility skills, and other types of conditioning. Tournaments, games & competitions for contact sports are still prohibited for now.  – Protocols & Best Practices
-General non-contact sports – Protocols & Best Practices
-Outdoor activities – Fishing (Protocols & Best Practices) & Charter Fishing (Protocols & Best Practices)

The other day I mentioned that the State was rescinding some of the Stay at Home order – here is that new order. It rescinds the ‘stay at home’ part of the order as well as the travel restrictions for traveling out of state. People in at-risk categories are encouraged to take extra precautions in this health advisory.


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the following orders have been signed by  Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH:


Additional Ohio businesses have been given the green light to reopen.

During his Thursday afternoon coronavirus press briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that several business sectors are permitted to reopen, including the state’s child care facilities and gyms.

The governor laid out a new timeline for reopening the state, with most businesses being able to reopen — with restrictions — before June 1.

ODH Director’s Orders for Personal Services (9-page PDF with all the rules)

ODH Director’s Orders for Dine Safe (10-page PDF with all the rules and guidelines)

Below is a timeline of when Ohio businesses may reopen.

  • May 15: Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage services, day spas, bars and restaurants (outdoors), other personal care
  • May 21: Indoor restaurant/bar service, and campgrounds
  • May 22: Horse racing (no spectators)
  • May 26: BMVs, gyms/fitness centers, non contact or limited contact sports, pools (excluding water parks)
  • May 31: Child care facilities (reduced numbers), day camps


On May 15 (Friday), most if not all personal care facilities have been given the green light to reopen.

Businesses permitted to reopen Friday include hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage services, day spas and other personal care facilities. However, in order to reopen, each of these business must follow strict guidelines. Those guidelines include social distancing and employees wearing face coverings. Hand sanitizers must be provided in high-contact areas, which for most of the personal care industry, is almost everywhere. Read the full list of guidelines here.

Also on May 15, the state’s restaurants and bars may resume outdoor service (indoor service is permitted to resume May 21). But in order to reopen, there are several new rules for customers and employees alike. Notably, parties of 10 or more are no longer permitted. A minimum of six feet must be kept between parties – both when dining and waiting on a table. If this is not possible, the restaurant must utilize barriers and other protective measures. Click here for a full list of mandates for restaurants and bars.


Bars and restaurants may resume indoor service on May 21. But, again, the restaurants and bars must follow strict mandates.

Additionally, Ohio’s campgrounds are permitted to reopen. But be warned, there are several restrictions in place for campers. Only one family household may occupy each site, the governor said. Campers must still maintain six feet of social distancing. Campground operators must also regularly clean and maintain public restrooms, shower houses and laundry facilities, as well as post signage to communicate COVID-19 guidelines.


Horse racing may resume in Ohio, but without spectators.

Racing may only resume if certain safety protocols are met, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Thursday, promising to release additional information at a later date.

This reopening does not apply to casinos and racinos, leaders specify. Additional information will be posted here when available.

Opening May 26

Gyms/fitness centers: Ohio’s gyms and fitness centers can reopen on May 26. The state’s gyms can reopen with several restrictions, Husted said. Those restrictions — which will include social distancing measures and increased cleaning — will be made available at a later date. DeWine noted that anybody that goes to the gym knows that with the close proximity in many areas, sanitation is vitally important.

BMVs: Ohio BMVs will reopen on May 26 for certain services, DeWine said. Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. Visit for more info on online services.

Non contact, or limited contact sports: Low-contact or non-contact sports like tennis can resume on May 26 if they can meet safety protocols. More details on safety protocols will be posted soon at Other high-contact sports are still being considered, DeWine said.

Pools: Pools are able to reopen on May 26, Husted said. He noted that only pools that are regulated by local health departments can reopen. Husted said this pertains to community pools, not water parks or amusement parks, those are still being worked through. There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation/maintenance (disinfection w/ chlorine/bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in water, DeWine said.

Opening May 31

Child care services: Ohio’s child care facilities will reopen May 31 with reduced numbers. These providers must operate under reduced staff to child ratios, state officials said, and maximum group size limitations will be put into place. Those limitations include:

  • One child care staff member per four infants with no more than six children in the room.
  • One child care staff member per six toddlers with no more than six children in the room.
  • One child care staff member per nine preschool children with no more than nine children in the room.
  • One child care staff member per nine school-age children with no more than nine children in the room.

Child care providers must ensure that children wash their hands upon entering the classroom, which may require adult assistance. See a full list of mandates here.

Day camps: Husted announced Thursday that day camps can reopen on May 31. Husted said day camps can reopen as long as they meet safety protocols and sizes.

Protocols will be released by the end of the day Friday. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said just because the camps can open doesn’t mean they have to.

May 16, From Jody Perry, CEO, Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development

Reopening Materials
We continue to see more and more businesses receive the green light to reopen, which is awesome news. But it is vitally important that you read through the protocols from the State and prepare a plan for how your business/organization will operate during this time. Documentation and thorough training for staff on what your expectations are will be a key cornerstone to success.

The good news is that we continue to receive great new materials to help you. The US Chamber released this digital resource center for reopening businesses. Included in there are:

Really it is packed with good information that is worth looking at.

I’ve shared these before, but to make them easily accessible remember these tools: OhioHealth Back to Business tools, University Hospitals Healthy Restart Playbook, Cushman & Wakefield Recovery Readiness site – with their Safe Six Checklist.

For a broader perspective on the restart, here is an interesting article from McKinsey talking about actions CEO’s can take. And if you’re really a policy wonk, the National Governor’s Association is tracking how all the states are reopening.

We’ve also updated the list of local places you can buy PPE, supplies, and other things related to reopening. And don’t forget that many of our local printers and sign makers are offering special products for your business.

UPDATE: May 12
For restaurants & bars, yesterday the State announced a $500 rebate for purchase of high-proof liquor to help you get restocked for opening this week and next. This is coming through the Department of Commerce & JobsOhio. Here is an FAQ sheet about that. Here is where you register.

Today the Governor announced that tattoo parlors and licensed massage therapists, acupuncture and cosmetic therapy will also be able to reopen on Friday, May 15th.

Preparing for Reopening
As you prepare for reopening here are a few links that you might find helpful (some have been shared before, some are new):

UPDATE: May 7, 2020: Governor DeWine Announces New Opening Dates
Today, two of the industries that were the earliest to be shut down received dates for reopening as the Governor announced dates for restaurants/bars and for personal services.

They had the committee chairs of both of those groups speak on the press conference today (go to minute 16:45 for restaurant chair; and 25:45 for personal services chair). If your business is one of these affected, I would recommend you listen to their report. They talked about how they made decisions and why. One example – the restaurant group opted not to recommend an occupancy limit – rather, they looked at the distancing guidelines. It’s worth it to watch.

We did not get a reopening date for childcare but the Governor reported that would be forthcoming on Monday. No specific dates for the other groups they have working (ie. gyms, tourism, sports) but the groups are working and I expect we will hear more soon and I will definitely let you know as soon as we do.

Preparing to Open
As your businesses get ready to reopen, it is important that you spend some time preparing. I’ve been doing that for the Chamber office itself and it’s not necessarily hard, but it does take some thinking, planning and preparing.

I found this great resource that has been very helpful to me as I plan. It’s from Cushman & Wakefield and includes a great checklist that covers the “Safe Six”:

  1. Prepare the building
  2. Prepare the workforce
  3. Control access
  4. Create a social distancing plan
  5. Reduce touchpoints
  6. Communicate with confidence

Getting our supplies in order, our schedule ready, updating policies and procedures are all things that I’ve been working on…and I know many of you have as well. If you’ve run across another helpful resource on this topic, feel free to share with me so I can in turn share with the larger group. Don’t forget the Kroger Blueprint which also has some really helpful best practices.

An Update on Face Coverings for Employers (April 29)
Today the Governor & Lieutenant Governor further changed the call for face coverings.

For Customers – they should wear the face covering, but it is not required. As a business owner, you do have the right to require it if you so choose.

For Employers/Employees – face coverings are required, except in the following instances:

  1. When the employee is prohibited by law or regulation from wearing one.
  2. When it is against documented industry best practices.
  3. When it is not advisable for health purposes.
  4. When it is in violation of company safety policies.
  5. When someone is sitting alone in an enclosed office.
  6. When there is a practical reason that the employee cannot wear one (examples given that employee works in an extremely hot condition or requires you to see the employees mouth for clear communication).

Further, if you feel that you – or some of your employees – will qualify for this exemption you must provide written documentation if you are asked for it.

Please note, that even if you have been open this entire time, you are now required to comply with the new protocols.

Original Post from April 27: About the Governor’s plan to restart Ohio’s economy:  He emphasized something that he had heard from his economic council – Ohio can do both, protect people and restart the economy. You can see the set of “Responsible Protocols” that have been established for all businesses. Those 5 protocols are:

  1. Recommend face coverings for employees and clients/customers at all times.
  2. Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
  3. Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.
  4. Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
  5. Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.
  • Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code.
  • And, use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion.

Responsible-Protocols – One Page Printable PDF

He also announced some dates:

What cannot open yet? You can see that list here.

CLICK HERE for the entire Responsible RestartOhio page developed by the Ohio Department of Health.

Preparing for Reopening (Added May 6, 2020)
While we have had a lot of conversation around masks, it’s important to note that there are additional expectations that businesses are being asked when they get ready to reopen. Again, here are the general protocols for all businesses, and here are the specific sectors: manufacturing/distribution/construction; retail/consumer/service; general office environment.

When it comes to calculating your maximum occupancy, the City of Mansfield Building Department created this overview that can help you. And you are also welcome to call them for questions. Additionally, I know that the County Building Department is also working on something and I will share when I receive it.

The Richland Area Chamber is compiling a list of LOCAL businesses that can supply some of the PPE that will be needed for you & your businesses. They will publish round 1 of that list at If you have NOT communicated that you can supply items, please take a moment and either take this short survey, or send an email to: We really hope to keep as much of this spending local as possible!

*some of this post was borrowed from the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development email, Jodie Perry, CEO and Author.

Important Steps to Take Before your Business or Building Reopens after Periods of Low and No-Flow Water Conditions and 8 Steps to Take Before Your Business Reopens

Click HERE for the PDF – Two Page Guidance

Guidance for Premise Plumbing Water Service Restoration

Click HERE for the PDF