DeWine announces new counties with mandatory mask requirement; plans for colleges and universities to reopen; education COVID plan implementation funding
At Governor DeWine’s July 9, 2020, press conference, he updated the state’s most recent COVID-19 reporting numbers and county alert levels, offered additional guidance for higher education, announced the latest data from the public health advisory system and shared a few other developments.
Ohio public health advisory system – Mandatory mask requirement in high threat counties
Under the order, masks are required in all indoor locations (not a residence); outdoors when social distance of six feet or more from persons who are not part of the individual’s household is not possible; or when waiting for, riding, driving or operating public transportation, a taxi, a private car service or a ride-sharing vehicle, unless:
- the individual is under ten years of age
- a medical condition, mental health condition or disability contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering
- the individual is alone in an enclosed space, such as an office, and the space is not intended for use or access by the public
- the individual is actively engaged in exercise in a gym or indoor facility as long as six or more feet of separation between individuals exists
- the individual is actively participating in athletic practice or competition as permitted under a separate order
- the individual is actively engaged in a public safety capacity (police, fire, EMT)
- the individual is seated and consuming food or beverage in a restaurant or bar
- facial coverings are prohibited by law or regulation
- facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards
- facial coverings are in violation of a business’s documented safety practices
- the individual is actively participating in broadcast communications
- the individual is an officiant of religious services
Once a county falls below Level 3, the mask mandate is no longer in effect.
On July 9, Governor DeWine announced the latest updates to the public health advisory system. There are currently 12 counties at Level 3: Butler, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Lorain, Montgomery, Pickaway, Summit, Trumbull and Wood. He also announced that Huron County is back at Level 2 and, therefore, no longer subject to a mask mandate.
Counties that moved to Level 3 will be subject to a mask mandate through a new order that will take effect at 6:00 p.m. on July 10. We expect the order to be nearly identical to the current order.
Colleges and universities
Governor DeWine announced guidelines for higher education institutions for reopening this fall. To assist colleges and universities with implementing the guidelines, he announced that the administration is seeking Controlling Board approval of $200 million in CARES Act funding. This funding release is in addition to the $190 million in direct federal CARES Act funding for colleges and universities.
Similarly, the administration is seeking Controlling Board approval for $100 million in CARES Act funding for K-12 schools, in addition to $440 million direct federal CARES Act funding.
Governor DeWine announced the state is awarding a $15 million grant to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to help Ohioans maintain housing during this crisis.
The administration announced a $2.5 million grant for career tech training to Ohio’s workforce through the launch of the Individual Microcredential Assistant Program (IMAP) from the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Ohio House staff working from home again
After a House staff member reported a COVID-19 infection, Speaker Householder announced that the chamber’s staff will again work from home beginning July 10 out of an abundance of caution.