Responsible RestartOhio: Key Info for Economic Developers

Apr 30, 2020 | News, Newsletter

Earlier this week, Governor DeWine announced the Responsible RestartOhio plan which aims to protect the health of employees and customers while supporting community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and responsibly getting back to work. The three-phase plan includes reopen dates for several types of businesses and the resumption of elective surgical procedures.  A summary for each phase can be found below.  Restaurants, gyms, beauty and barber shops, and camps are among the entities that remain closed.  For a full list of continued closed businesses click HERE.

The provision which would have required all customers in retail businesses to wear face masks drew the greatest attention and opposition.  One day after the plan was released, DeWine reversed course on the mandatory customer face mask requirement provisions of the May 12 retail reopening, making them optional.

“Within the last 24 hours it has really become clear to me that a mandatory mask requirement for people who are shopping, going into a retail business is offensive to some of our fellow Ohioans. I understand that,” he said. “And so, we made the decision for retail customers this is not going to be mandated.”


Masks will still be required for employees and he said businesses could also require them of customers of their own volition.  There is a very narrow list of exceptions to the employee face mask requirement including when:

  • Prohibited by law from wearing face masks,
  • Against industry best practices or violates a safety policy, and when
  • Not advisable for health reasons.

Discussions are still occurring around how the above employee health exception will be documented. For more specific details about the face mask requirements, click HERE.

DeWine also indicated that a pair of ad hoc panels will be convened to plan for the eventual reopening of restaurants, salons, and barber shops.

OEDA’s Responsible RestartOhio Webinar Recording Now Available

OEDA hosted a webinar for the economic development community on the Responsible Restart Ohio plan on Wednesday, April 29.  More than 150 people participated in the live webinar. The recording is now available by clicking HEREPlease note, due to the technical difficulties many are experiencing as the systems are overloaded, the webinar was restarted.

Key Provisions of the Responsible Restart Ohio Plan:

    • May 1, 2020: Medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment may move forward. This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, and diagnostic tests. Dental services and veterinary services may also proceed if a safe environment can be established.
    • May 4, 2020:  Manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees. Additionally, general office environments may reopen if they can also meet mandatory safety requirements.
    • May 12, 2020: Consumer, retail and services, may reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

All businesses must follow general safe business practices as they reopen. Those include:

  • Requiring face coverings for all employees and recommending them for clients and customers at all times except in very narrow situations;
  • Conducting daily health assessments or self-evaluations of employees; maintaining good hygiene and social distancing;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing workplaces; and
  • Limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines.

Specific Industry Sector Requirements & Best Practices:

Continued Closures:

  • Schools and daycares, dine-in restaurants, beauty businesses, older adult daycare and senior centers, adult day support or vocational rehabilitation services in group settings, entertainment, recreation, and gyms are all ordered to remain closed due to their increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. More info: COVID-19 Continued Closures
  • Because the danger of COVID-19 still exists, Ohio’s Stay at Home order will remain in effect to encourage Ohioans to continue making reasonable, rational decisions about leaving home. Large gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited.
  • More detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan can be found at

Ohio Testing Plan and Contact Tracing:

While the focus has been on the dates and requirements for re-opening the state, DeWine also outlined Ohio’s testing and contact tracing plan, core public health actions that will enable the state to continue to move forward on re-opening plans.  Click the links below for more details on each.

Ohio’s Testing Plan (PDF)

Contact Tracing Workforce (PDF)


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