Coronavirus pandemic in the news here and everywhere

Mar 25, 2020 | Featured | 0 comments

Ottawa County Commissioners approve State of Emergency

A State of Emergency has been put in place by Ottawa County Commissioners Mark W., Stahl, Donald A. Douglas and Mark E. Coppeler due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Board of Ottawa County Commissioners also announced that all Ottawa County facilities will be closed to the public until further notice. The courts and administrative offices within Ottawa County will remain open and staff will be working to serve the public by phone, email, on-line or by scheduled appointment if necessary. The office directory is available at https://www.co.ottawa.oh.us/index.php/office-directory/ or call 419-734-6700.

The pandemic may exceed all locally available public and private resources, said the commissioners. The declaration authorizes the Ottawa County Emergency Management Agency to apply for and assist with any requests for all available state and federal assistance that would be necessary for residents, employers and the community as a whole.

The emergency authority would be in effect in Ottawa County for the protection of the lives and property of the people of Ottawa County and the restoration of local government with minimum interruption. The State of Emergency will be in effect until removed by the Board of County Commissioners.

Gov. Mike DeWine shutters Ohio senior centers

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all of Ohio’s senior centers and adult day care services to stop providing care in congregate care settings on Monday, March 23. Congregate care settings are single locations where more than 10 people, including staff and providers, are in a confined space.

“It is a significant risk for anyone to be in a group setting, and that certainly includes our senior citizens,” said Gov. DeWine. “We have been telling providers that this day was coming, so they have already been working to ensure every senior will have continued care in a different setting.”

This order does not prohibit providing services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in residential settings. Rules that require day services and vocational habitation to be provided in community or work settings are being relaxed to recommend those services be provided in a person’s residence.

Insurers can offer employees 60-day grace period

The Ohio Department of Insurance is issuing an order for insurers in Ohio to allow employers to offer employees a grace period for insurance premiums.

The grace period is for all health insurers, and it must provide the option of deferring premium payments interest free for up to 60 calendar days from the original premium due date, which means employers can defer their premium payments for health insurance for up to two months.

Health insurers must allow employers to continue covering employees even if the employee would otherwise become ineligible for insurance because of a decrease in the hours worked a week.

Contract workers could get unemployment

Many governors around the country, including Ohio’s Mike DeWine, have signed onto a letter that will soon be sent by multiple state governors requesting federal officials unlock existing federal funding in the disaster unemployment account, which would make funds available to contract workers (those who file a 1099) who are ineligible for unemployment benefits under current rules.

MORA rules suspended for Port Clinton

The MORA open alcohol container regulations have been suspended by Port Clinton officials because it would violate the new coronavirus regulations by Gov. Mike DeWine that discourage crowds and have closed bars and restaurants all over Ohio.

Police Chief Rob Hickman and Safety-Service Director Tracy Colston have informed Main Street Port Clinton that the Ohio Division of Liquor ruled the MORA open container regulations would conflict with DeWine’s statewide closures. All alcohol must be sold in sealed containers, and the consumption of food or alcohol in bars and restaurants is not allowed during the pandemic crisis.

Non-compliant Ohio businesses warned

Governor DeWine warned business owners who are not complying with orders to take steps to protect employees from the spread of COVID-19. Although many businesses are heeding the advice of the Ohio Department of Health, others continue to ignore directives to keep distance between employees and keep a clean environment.

“I continue be notified of businesses that are recklessly risking lives of employees, their families, and everyone else they come in contact with. This must stop,” said Gov. DeWine. “As I continue to balance my responsibility to protect the people of Ohio with our attempt to keep this economy moving, let me make it clear that I will err on the side of protecting people. The bad, reckless behavior must stop.”

Camp Perry events shut down until April 6

The Civilian Marksmanship Program community at Camp Perry, just west of Port Clinton, is grappling with the status of many of its current and upcoming programs, and several events will be canceled or altered as a result.

The federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has all events with attendance of 50 or more canceled immediately. The CMP is shutting down all of its facilities and activities for the next two weeks, with plans to return Monday, April 6. CMP match sponsors should cancel their matches until some degree of normalcy returns. It is in the best interest of the CMP community to take positive precautions rather than deal with potentially damaging consequences.

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