Today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released an order from the Ohio Department of Health closing all non-essential businesses and asking residents to stay-at-home starting Monday night, March 23 through April 6. The order did declare the HVACR industry including distributors and contractors as essential businesses. The order defined both essential infrastructure and essential businesses. Infrastructure includes housing construction and building maintenance and essential businesses include manufacturing, distribution and contractor/technicians in HVACR.
The order is based on the CISA memo released last week and adds several protections for HVACR:
9. Essential Infrastructure.
For purposes of this, 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 includes, but is not limited to: food production, distribution, fulfillment centers, storage facilities, and sale; construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities, public works construction, and housing construction); building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).
12. Essential Businesses and Operations.
For the purposes of this Order, Essential Businesses and Operations means Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure, and the following:
a. CISA List.
On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), issued a Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response. The definition of Essential Businesses and Operations in this Order includes all the workers identified in that Memorandum.
j. Hardware and supply stores.
Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating material;
k. Critical trades.
Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen, and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental prope1iies, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations;
q. Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations.
Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; and firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security;
The Ohio Department of Health has also put out a set of FAQs for businesses and residents and encourages all essential businesses to follow social distancing orders to prevent the spread of the virus.