I’m an essential business, what does that mean?
So you have poured over the mandate from the Ohio Department of Health and determined you are an essential business. What does this mean as we enter the stay at home mandate from the state?
There’s a business checklist for those deemed essential that wish to stay open. These are the things that will need to be instituted if you want to stay open under the current mandate for the next two weeks.
Allow as many people as possible to work from home or telework to minimize the interaction of employees
Sick employees need to stay home to flatten the curve. Employees that have gone home sick need to meet certain criteria to return to work. To return to work, the employee has to be fever free for 72 hours without the aid of medication. Their symptoms have improved over the last three days. There has been at least seven days since the onset of their symptoms. If they meet all these criteria, we’re asking that you allow them to return to work without having a work release from a doctor. This allows physicians to focus on the sick and apply resources where they are truly needed.
Make sure your sick leave policies are flexible and non-punitive so employees can provide for themselves or a sick family member without worry of repercussions.
If any employee has any type of respiratory illness, separate them from all other employees immediately and send them home to self-quarantine. They can treat themselves if they feel comfortable. If their symptoms progress to a point where they feel it’s unmanageable, they should call their doctor or emergency department prior to going to see them. This allows the health care professional to advise on best practices and how to proceed.
Reinforce the big issues. This stay at home order is to flatten the curve and force social distancing. We also need you to cover your cough, don’t touch your face, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and stay home unless it’s deemed essential.
Have cleaning supplies readily available, have sanitizing gels or soaps available to employees and the public to maintain a cleaner work space. Maintain cleaning schedules to create a healthy working environment.
Last but not least, be prepared to change business practices as this progresses. Being more flexible and understanding with your employees and customers will go a long way to mitigating the stress that invariably comes from the unknown and fear.
The stay at home mandate goes into effect tonight at midnight and will stretch for two weeks to midnight on April 6.
Should you have questions about the order, what is an essential business, what is essential travel or other general questions about the stay at home order, please call 937-393-1941 for the Highland County Health Department or 937-393-5880 for the Highland County Emergency Management Agency.
It’s important to remember, we’re all in this together. We can face this as a community and win out the other side as long as we’re willing to show everyone some grace and understanding.
Remember, it’s important to cover your cough, wash your hands, maintain your personal space with social distancing, and look out for each other.
We’re all in this together. Be nice!
Branden Jackman is the public information officer for the Highland County Emergency Operations Center.