As additional guidance from Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted regarding essential businesses that may remain open during the COVID-19 state of emergency, both TRAO and APTO would like to update everyone and provide guidance. There are two very significant aspects of the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order that must be adhered to if your business will remain open.

First, businesses are asked to review the plain wording of the order and determine whether or not their operations are essential and will remain open. Businesses that remain open should be prepared to justify the decision to employees, law enforcement and/or the health department in the event they are questioned about why they are open. Second, businesses that remain open must also adhere to the social distancing requirements and the COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses/Employers sections of the Governor’s order while operating. This includes having cleaning/disinfection supplies readily available and used regularly to ensure that common contact surfaces are treated.

To be prepared and to make the determination that your business is essential, Ohio towing and recovery companies are advised that several sections of the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order may apply to your companies and you should be familiar with the Governor’s Order. Please review the order and prepare a statement describing the essential functions of your business to remain open. For example:

a.) Section 9. Essential Infrastructure. Individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain, and repair Essential Infrastructure. Essential infrastructure specifically includes roads, highways, and bridges. (This section indicates that towing and roadside assistance services may fall into this section, as part of ensuring that roads, highways and bridges remain open for travel).

b.) Section 10. Essential Government Functions. Essential Government Functions means all services provided by the State or any municipality, township, county, political subdivisions, board, commission or agency of government and needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or to provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public, and including contractors performing Essential Governmental Functions. (This section would also indicates that towing and roadside assistance services are included, if requested/directed to respond by a law enforcement, public safety or other governmental agency, such as ODOT).

c.) Section 12. Essential Businesses and Operations. This section of the Governor’s order includes all workers identified in the Memorandum of Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID -19 Response issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity, & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19, 2000. This section also specifically includes facilities, such as: gas stations, auto-repair businesses and businesses needed for and related to transportation (sub section h.), businesses necessary for the manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries (sub section v.) (This section would also indicate that towing and roadside assistance services are needed for and related to transportation and logistics).

Businesses that remain open must also adhere to the social distancing requirements and the COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses/Employers sections of the Governor’s order while operating. The order states specifically:

Essential businesses that continue to operate MUST take proactive measures to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, including where possible:

Designate six foot distances. Designating with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain appropriate distance;

Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products. Having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available for employees and customers, and;

Separate hours for vulnerable populations. Implementing separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers, and;

Online and remote access. Posting online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely.

Businesses should also adhere to the COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses/Employers. If employees do report to workplaces:

Allow as many employees as possible to work from home by implementing policies in areas such as teleworking and video conferencing.

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home until they are free of fever or symptoms (without the use of medication) for at least 72 hours (three full days) AND symptoms have improved for at least 72 hours AND at least seven days have passed since symptoms first began. Do not require a healthcare provider’s note to validate the illness or return to work of employees sick with acute respiratory illness; healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.

Ensure that your sick leave policies are up to date, flexible, and non-punitive to allow sick employees to stay home to care for themselves, children, or other family members. Consider encouraging employees to do a self-assessment each day to check if they have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

Separate employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms from other employees and send them home immediately. Restrict their access to the business until they have recovered.

Reinforce key messages — stay home when sick, use cough and sneeze etiquette, and practice hand hygiene — to all employees, and place posters in areas where they are most likely to be seen. Provide protection supplies such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.

Frequently perform enhanced environmental cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, railings, door handles, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Be prepared to change business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations).

Please review the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order. Additional information and the COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Businesses/Employers can be found here:…/businesses-employers-covid-1…COVID-19 Checklist for Businesses/EmployersCORONAVIRUS.OHIO.GOVBusinesses/Employers – COVID-19 ChecklistCOVID-19 Checklist for Businesses/Employers

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