Following on from Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference on Wednesday, the Delaware General Health District reported Friday that local businesses have been complying with safety guidelines and said it has not had to take any action against businesses for non-compliance.
DeWine held a special news conference Wednesday evening and asked Ohioans to recommit to safety guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
DeWine said Ohio was in its third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and Ohioans are “at the most crucial phase of the pandemic.”
“This surge is much more intense, widespread, and dangerous.” DeWine said. “As of today, every single one of our 88 counties has a high rate of virus spread, and areas of our state that were previously untouched — our rural areas — are being hit especially hard.”
DeWine issued a new mask order and said stores would be responsible for ensuring that customers and employees wear masks, and he will be forming a new Retail Compliance Unit to ensure compliance across the state. DeWine said a first offense would result in a written warning, and a second offense would bring about the closure of the business.
DeWine added he will give the state until Nov. 19 to improve before he closed bars, restaurants and fitness centers.
The Delaware General Health District reported Friday it has been performing inspections on restaurants throughout the pandemic.
“We have one field inspector who is doing his best to keep up with routine inspections,” said DGHD Public Information Officer Traci Whittaker. “Those routine inspections include an assessment of the facility’s compliance with Dine Safe Ohio and Responsible Restart requirements. We also respond to complaints submitted by the public — that response may be by email, phone, or with a site visit.”
Whittaker said inspections also assess compliance with Food Safety Code as well as “additional requirements for control of COVID-19, such as appropriate spacing of tables or the use of barriers between tables, proper signage, use of facial coverings/masks,” and other guidelines.
Whittaker added local businesses have followed guidelines so far.
“(Businesses within the district) are trying their best to adhere to the new and ever-evolving public health orders,” she said. “We have not had any instances of escalated enforcement action for non-compliance. Our team has really tried their very best to stay in communication with operators and guide them through these challenging times. We have provided resources and site visits for technical assistance, on top of compliance inspections.”
For more information about COVID-19 guidelines, visit delawarehealth.org or coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.