Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have ordered Ohioans to stay at home to flatten the curve of COVID-19 contagion. Read the full order here. What does that actually mean? We put together some frequently asked questions and answers as well as ways you can still explore and support Columbus. It's important that everyone abide by these rules.
Q: Do I have to stay inside?
A: It's best that you spend most of your time at home, and that if you do leave the house, it's in a manner that keeps you more than six feet away from other people. It's OK to take your dog for a walk, and to go for a walk, bike ride or run. It's also OK to leave your house to do things that sustain your life, like getting groceries, picking up carry-out food from a restaurant or going to a medical (or veterinary) appointment. If you're an essential worker, you are allowed to go to work. See the order for more details on what work is considered essential.
Q: What's closed by this order?
A: Non-essential businesses must close their physical workspaces, but may continue to operate with employees at remote locations. This means most retail shops are closed, excepting those that sell life sustaining items, like grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies. Your favorite boutique might be moving to e-commerce - see our list here for some details.
Q: What kinds of businesses are open?
A: Restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, laundromats and dry cleaners, hardware stores, banks, insurance agencies, gas stations, medical facilities and more remain open. Please check ahead of a visit as certain businesses have decided to close, and if open, the hours of operation may be different. We put together a list of businesses that are remaining open with modifications, and are keeping it updated.
Q: How to do I safely walk, hike, run or bike?
A: Both city parks and Metroparks are open, but indoor facilities and indoor and outdoor playgrounds are closed. It's a beautiful time of year, and if you're healthy enough to get outside, please be vigilant about maintaining that six-foot distance from other people. If a park or outdoor area seems crowded, it's a good idea to find a less crowded place to enjoy. Carry hand sanitizer and use it if you touch surfaces like hand rails, benches and other public areas. Follow current medical advice.
Q: Can I meet up with a friend?
A: It's not recommended. Non-essential trips out of your home are not permitted. You can go for a walk with a friend if you stay more than six feet away from one another. Video chats are the safest alternative. Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live and Periscope are all good video chat tools.
Q: What about hotels?
A: Hotels are not affected by the order, which means they can still operate. Some have decided to close temporarily. If you are in need of a hotel room, whether as a remote office space, because you're away from home, or as a way to maintain social distance from housemates if you're a front-line healthcare worker, you may find your stay different that normal. If there's a breakfast buffet normally offered, it may no longer be available or changed to a take-away option. Call ahead to confirm expectations.