Thursday, November 19, 2020

Coronavirus Update 11-19-2020: Cuyahoga County issues four-week stay-at-home advisory

Yesterday afternoon, Cuyahoga County, Ohio's largest, issued a four-week stay-at-home advisory. It took effect immediately, and is in addition to the 21-day 10 pm – 5 am statewide curfew Governor DeWine implemented yesterday and which takes effect tonight. 

Let's examine why it was issued, what is says, and what it means for your business.

Why was it issued? 

  • The county is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • The positivity rate within the county has increased to 15 percent and is rising.
  • The county suffered 50 COVID-19 fatalities during the first two weeks of November.
  • The county is currently reporting 500 – 600 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, and modeling predicts it could rise as high as 2,000 new daily cases in the coming weeks.

What does it say?

  • All county residents are advised to stay at home to the greatest extent possible, and should only leave their homes for work, school, essential needs.
  • Employers are strongly encouraged to identify and accommodate as many employees as possible to work from home.
  • Businesses should transition as many functions as possible to an online format.
  • Schools that are currently implementing a hybrid or full in-person learning are advised to transition to online remote learning after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • All  public or private gathering, meeting, or social event occurring outside of a residence or living unit is limited to no more than 10 individuals.
  • Parties, receptions, celebrations, and other similar events should be postponed.
  • Residents are strongly advised not to conduct or attend any indoor gatherings with guests who are not members of their household in a home or place of residence. 
  • Residents that are exhibiting any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 must shelter in their place of residence, and people should otherwise follow CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine.

What does it mean?

  • If your employees live in Cuyahoga County, more and more will need time off because their children will be home from school.
  • If your business is located in Cuyahoga County, you should give serious consideration to shifting to an all-remote model if possible, or at least permitting every employee who can work remotely to do so for at least the next four weeks. 
  • This is just the beginning. We should expect similar advisories by local or state governments in the coming weeks as COVID-19 continues to surge out of control. Indeed, other counties in Ohio (e.g., Medina and Frankin) also issued their own stay-at-home advisories for residents and businesses, although neither of them recommends closing schools.

What are the penalties?
  • There aren't any.
  • It's an advisory, not an order.

Finally, I cannot mean this more clearly or earnestly, if everyone would have just behaved responsibly and with an ounce of compassion and empathy for their fellow humans from the beginning, we wouldn't be in the position we now find ourselves.