Tuesday Update: Ohio Retail Customers No Longer Required to Wear Face Covering Masks Under State’s Reopening Plan

Update on Cases

The Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) latest report shows the state now has 16,769 total cases of COVID-19. 799 Ohioans have now died from the coronavirus.

The state now has 3,340 hospitalizations; 1,004 people have been admitted into the intensive care unit. More than 122,000 Ohioans have been tested for COVID-19. The Buckeye State has a positive test rate of around 13.6%.

Election Day!

If you didn’t mail your ballot in, all 88 counties have a secure drop-box. You have until 7:30 tonight to get it to your county board of elections.

Governor DeWine says in-person voting will be available at the county boards of elections until 7:30 for individuals with disabilities and or those who do not have a home mailing address.

Face Masks No Longer Required, Still Recommended

After saying yesterday that businesses must require all employees, customers and clients to wear face covering masks once they reopen, Governor DeWine informed the media that no longer is the case. Ohio will not mandate that retail customers wear a mask. However, Governor DeWine says the state strongly recommend that you do.

“There will have to be adjustments as we go,” DeWine said. “Within the last 24 hours, it has become clear to me that a mandatory mask requirement for retail customers is offensive to some of our fellow Ohioans. I understand that.”

DeWine says the reason the state initially did mandate masks is because he heard from business employees who are scared and from family members who are scared for their loved ones who are working. The Governor says the state did the original order to protect these employees.

“Though it is not a mandate, it is clearly in the best interest for Ohioans to wear a mask in retail settings,” said DeWine. “This gives added protection to others. When you wear a mask, you are protecting those around you from possibly getting sick.”

The Governor says that businesses have the right to enforce a mask wearing policy for all people who enter their store, office, etc.

“We aren’t mandating that customers wear masks in retail locations, but business owners can require it,” said DeWine. “The recommendation that masks be worn came from business owners to protect employees. They can make a decision that those coming in the door need to wear a protective covering.”

Plan for Reopening Restaurants, Barber/ Beauty Shops

Governor DeWine announced that the state will start to look at how Ohio will reopen restaurants, barbershops, and salons.

“I talked with the Speaker Householder, Senate President Obhof, House Minority Leader Sykes, and Senate Minority Leader Yuko to help identify people who work in these fields every day,” said DeWine. “Ohioans who may not be part of a bigger chain, but may be barbers or local diner owners.”

The legislative leaders and the relevant business associations are going to ask their members to come up with ideas for individuals to serve on this advisory group. They will be meeting virtually, but the Governor says the state intends to pull these groups together this week.

DeWine says the goal of this group is to develop recommendations for their businesses that balance the need to protect the health of employees and customers as they reopen to the public.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted also weighed in on the situation saying the state will wait for the proper data before it moves to the next phase.

“When the day comes that the science says we can move forward to this next stage, we want to make sure we’re ready to go,” Husted said. “We want to make sure we’ve heard the voices of those who know these sectors best.”

Husted added that the more Ohioans follow the protocols (washing hands, social distancing, etc.) the more we slow the spread. The more Ohioans maintain a healthy environment the sooner we get to the next phase.

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