Business opening dates, safety measures detailed

Staff report

Editor’s note: The local COVID-19 case count is 17 as of Friday afternoon, according to numbers from the Champaign Health District. There has been 1 local death.

Champaign Health District this week summed up which additional businesses will be permitted to reopen this month under eased state orders. In a prepared statement, officials at CHD also noted the precautionary recommendations of state health officials that will help assist Ohio’s “responsible” economic restart:

As previously announced, consumer, retail and service businesses can reopen under state guidelines on May 12. Some of these businesses have already been permitted to reopen under curbside or pickup activity.

Personal services

Hair salons will reopen on May 15. A group of beauticians and health professionals helped in making the decision of when hair salons can reopen. For appointments, waiting may occur in the car.

Only the person with the appointment is permitted to enter the salon, with the exception of a child or caretaker. Lobbies or waiting areas will have social distancing guidelines posted. Magazines and self-serve beverages will not be in waiting areas.

Professionals will be asking clients and customers to come wearing a face covering due to the close contact that occurs during the appointments. Sanitation and cleaning will occur at a high frequency.

Restaurants and bars

Restaurants and bars are highly regulated by the state of Ohio and local health departments. A team of restaurant owners and health professionals helped in making the decision of when to reopen restaurants and bars.

On May 15, outside dining may reopen. On May 21, inside dining may reopen.

Restaurants and bars will be asked to create a floor plan for dining which complies with current social distancing guidelines. Parties of 10 or less can be seated together. Each party will be separated by 6 feet or a physical barrier.

Waiting may occur in personal vehicles rather than waiting areas, or there may be a designated area for queuing.

Salad bars will be served to customers rather than self-service.

Entry ways will post a list of COVID-19 symptoms to discourage any symptomatic consumer from entering.

Employees will be wearing masks in certain positions, but there are exemptions such as cooks working the grill. Food safety code already enforces the use of gloves for food handlers, so this will continue to be required.

Customers or guests may be required to wear a mask; this is at the discretion of the business owner.

Open congregate areas will remain closed during the first phase of this reopening.

Restaurants and bars that can comply with these guidelines will be allowed to participate in this first phase of reopening.

Social distancing and face coverings

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine strongly encourages everyone to continue social distancing and wearing face coverings in public. The danger of reopening businesses is that people become too relaxed; it is crucial to not do this. The goal is to be able to reopen Ohio without experiencing a spike in cases.

DeWine does not want to have to pull back and close businesses again if the appropriate prevention and safety measures are not being taken by everyone.

Face coverings will help protect others near you in public. Even younger Ohioans and those without health issues need to take precautions to protect others.

Staff report