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3/17/2020 Environmental Health Programs Conference Call Notes: Coronavirus/COVID-19

Conference Call Notes March 17, 2020

1. Should local health districts be conducting inspections? If LHD EH staff are needed to assist with COVID19 activities, they can respond accordingly. ODH is providing the following guidance regarding inspections:

  • Inspections of FSO's, RFE’s and pools/spas in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities can be deferred until after we return to normal operations. Inspections of all other FSOs, RFE’s and public pools may continue as long as social distancing, hand washing, etc. are practiced.
  • Private Water: Inspections and water sample collection to continue. If water samples/inspections are requested in order for the occupants to have potable water, then those actions should continue to occur. LHDs do not have to actively schedule water sample collection at this point in time.
  • Sewage Treatment Program: work to continue as normal.

2. Should self-service areas such as roller foods and drink stations close like salad bars and buffets? Yes, since the Director issued a Stay at Home order, all food must be sold for delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup or carryout only, and it is recommended that all self-service areas close. This includes but is not limited to: bulk donut cases, roller grill stations, hot and cold beverage stations, soft serve ice cream and yogurt machines, and bulk food dispensers. This is a recommendation, not an order.

3. If an FSO has a wedding venue, can they operate? Weddings are exempt from the Director’s orders, so the wedding venue can host weddings and have food catered. However, the FSO may serve food for carryout and delivery only.

4. Can cafeterias continue to operate? All food must be sold for delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup or carryout only.

5. Should food courts close their dining areas even though they don’t control them? Since the Director issued a Stay at Home order, only essential businesses should be open.

6. Can golf courses allow patrons to purchase food and sit on golf carts to consume the food? The following guidance should be provided to golf courses and other businesses regarding the Stay at Home order: “The Governor and Director of Health want to promote and protect the health of Ohioans. While, the Governor’s and Director’s Orders establish the spirit and parameters of Ohio’s response, it is impossible to anticipate all situations or provide individual responses to all questions. Businesses need to use their best judgment and make a good-faith decision. If you have questions whether your business is essential, please consult the Order for the list of essential businesses. If you have further questions about your specific business, please consult your trade association or lawyer. Many trade associations and lawyers are issuing guidance. These are complex times and it is important that we all take measures to flatten the curve. If you have any doubts about the status of your business, please consider temporarily closing your business to stay home and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

7. Can food be consumed in outdoor dining areas of FSOs and RFEs, including serving food to customers in vehicles such as Sonic? No, all food must be sold for delivery, drive-through, curbside pickup or carryout only.

8. Can buffets in hotels operate? Hotels may serve food, but the food must be carryout only and they should take measures to practice social distancing. Prepackaged foods may be provided as well as foods provided in “grab bags” or “takeout boxes”. We recommend that salad bars, buffets, and other customer self-service areas close.

9. Can salad bars/buffets in hospitals operate? FSOs and RFEs in healthcare facilities may only provide food to patient’s rooms or to visitors and staff for off-site consumption .

10. Will guidance to LHDs include PPE info? It is not likely to include PPE info, as PPE equipment is being allocated to healthcare and other critical facilities.

11. Does the Director’s order prohibit facilities from hosting wine tastings? Yes, tastings would be prohibited from onsite consumption of food and liquor.

12. Do facilities that provide food to another facility have to register with ODA? Please have the facility contact ODA for more information.

13. What if an LHD cannot conduct a 30-day inspection? LHDs should make a note on an inspection form noting the reason the inspections were not completed and keep in the facility file. The LHD should go back and conduct an inspection as soon as possible once the crisis ends.

14. Has ODH spoken with Liquor Control to see if they will be enforcing the Directors order for liquor consumption? Ohio Division of Liquor Control provided ODH the following info regarding enforcement of the Directors order: The Division of Liquor Control has coordinated an effort with the Department of Public Safety Liquor Enforcement to 1st notify the liquor permit holders to cease on premises operation. If the permit holders fail to cease on premises operation, then Public Safety will issue a violation notice for Rule 52 Improper Conduct. Subjecting the permit holders to administrative action against their liquor permit, which will include an emergency order of suspension, citation, rejection of a renewal or transfer application, or revocation.

15. What measures should body art facilities take? Due to the Stay at Home order, only essential businesses are allowed to operate.

16. Should LHDs still license campgrounds and public swimming pools? Yes, licensing of campgrounds and pools is to occur in April and May as required in law, including sending of license renewal notification.

  • Campgrounds are to close. However, campgrounds that provide residency, including for the oil & gas industry, are permitted to continue operating. All common areas are to be either closed or allow for adequate social distancing and frequently cleaned. All other campgrounds are to close.
  • Public swimming pools should not operate until the Stay At Home order is lifted.

17. How should we address temporary campgrounds? Temporary campgrounds are not permitted to operate while the Stay At Home order is in effect.

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