The Ohio Health Department lifted its restrictions Monday on adult daycare and senior centers.
The facilities were shut down in March as a result of the pandemic. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said at the time, “Our senior citizen’s centers provide very important support, these centers will close.” DeWine lamented the decision calling senior citizen centers the “heart of the community.”
A new order by Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health Lance D. Himes walked back those restrictions. The order praised Ohioans for their efforts.
“The sacrifices and incredible efforts that Ohioans have undertaken make it possible to begin to lift the mandatory requirements and restrictions that were needed during the initial phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the order said.
It goes on to say the decision to reopen the facilities is based on “the facts and the science existing at this time.”
The new decision warns seniors, especially those with respiratory, heart, liver, and kidney issues, those who are immuno-compromised, and those who are diabetic or severely obese to “stay in their residence to the extent possible except as necessary to seek medical care.”
Re-opening senior care and adult daycare facilities will be required to designate socially distanced areas for employees and customers six feet apart, have cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer available, and post online whether a facility will be open, the best way to reach the facility, and continue online or over the phone services.
Other restrictions include limiting capacity, restricting entry points and changing the layout of the facility “for enhanced infection control.”
Facilities are required to “immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms while at the facility,” sanitize their facility as best as they can after an outbreak, work with the health department to facilitate effective contact tracing, and when testing is readily available to test all people suspected of infection or exposure to the virus.
The new rule is enforceable by state and local law enforcement, and rule violations can include a fine of no more than $750, 90 days in jail, or both.