Sources for Guidance and CollaborationMonday, March 16, 2020
Here are the latest need-to-know updates from the weekend as of Monday morning, March 16 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor DeWine Holds Press Conference Yesterday:
Yesterday afternoon, Governor DeWine held a press conference to make new major announcements. The governor again referenced the difference in responses between St. Louis and Philadelphia in the 1918 flu epidemic, noting that St. Louis implemented social distancing beginning two days after the first case and experienced far fewer deaths as a result.
Bars and Restaurants to Close:
DeWine stated that Director Acton will sign an order requiring all restaurants and bars to close due to concerns over COVID-19. With St. Patrick's Day coming on Tuesday and bars and restaurants serving as locations where individuals congregate in close proximity, DeWine stated that these difficult steps must be taken to protect Ohioans and keep the healthcare system from becoming overloaded. The order was signed last night and went into effect at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 15.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted noted that carryout and delivery are still available options, and DeWine recognized that this will have a considerable impact on small businesses in Ohio. The Governor expressed his sadness over having to issue such an order.
Changes to Unemployment Compensation Policies:
The Governor also signed an order related to unemployment compensation which will make several changes to enable workers who do not have paid leave benefits to access unemployment benefits during this period of emergency. The current state policy will be broadened, noting that individuals who are quarantined or unable to work due to the new mandated closures will not be forced to seek other work in order to access benefits.
Ohio currently has a one-week waiting period, and this delay will be waived for eligible workers to receive unemployment. Husted also announced disaster relief small business loans, to help small business owners mitigate losses incurred as a result of the pandemic. “This is our first step in trying to account for disruptions in business,” noted Husted. Congregate Dining Ban extends to Assisted Living, Independent Living Per Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) directives, congregate dining in nursing homes is prohibited. LeadingAge Ohio feels it is important to share that congregate dining in assisted living, independent living, and all other long-term care settings should also stop, per the Governor's directive yesterday and direction from public health officials.