Ohio orders more businesses to close, those still open to check employees’ temps

(The Center Square) – The state is ordering more businesses to close to slow the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the governor said more closures are possible if companies do not help monitor the well-being of their employees.

The Ohio Department of Health ordered barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo parlors to close, and Gov. Mike DeWine also ordered most of Ohio’s 186 Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) deputy registrar locations and BMV driver examination stations to shutter for the time being. Both orders took effect at the close of business on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday evening, there were 88 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 19 Ohio counties. Of these, 26 people remain hospitalized.

“Everyone is in this fight, but we don’t need to go into the battlefield, we simply need to stay home,” DeWine said in a news release. “Social distancing is so critical, and many Ohioans are starting to understand its importance, but there are still some who don’t yet get it. This is a crisis that we have never seen in our lifetime, and everyone must recognize that their actions could have deadly consequences.”

Select BMV locations will stay open to issue and renew commercial driver’s licenses and conduct “commercial knowledge exams.” Officials said they do not want to interrupt the transportation of necessities such as food, medical supplies and cleaning supplies.

Because of the BMV closures, DeWine said he will work with the General Assembly to give Ohioans whose license is up for renewal a reprieve. While BMV locations are closed, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will not issue tickets to drivers whose licenses have expired, and DeWine is asking law enforcement agencies statewide to do the same.

Additionally, DeWine asked business owners to begin taking the temperature of employees when they arrive at work to identify anyone who is becoming ill. If unfeasible, DeWine asked employers to require workers to check their own temperatures before going to work, and anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher should self-quarantine with members of their house.

“We’re asking them to be aggressive in regard to cleaning surfaces and having soap/hand sanitizer available. Send employees home who are sick,” DeWine said on Twitter.

“The temperature check is not perfect but is one way to screen out employees who may be sick,” DeWine added. “We’re taking this one step at a time. If we find that we can’t get employers to take temperatures, we’ll have to go to the next stage and close everything down unless it’s essential.”

DeWine also signed a proclamation authorizing the Ohio National Guard to help organizations maintain their normal operations of distributing food and supplies.

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