Businesses now setting their own COVID policies as Ohio lifts health orders

Published: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It is a day of transition for Ohio businesses as they determine how to go forward now that most COVID-19 health orders are gone.

While the state has lifted restrictions, it is still up to businesses to decide if they want to continue to enforce them.

A stop for groceries at Deer Park Deli and customers will see that things have changed compared to a year ago.

“We’re letting people decide if they want to wear a mask,” said Keith Kolthoff at Deer Park Deli. “They can still wear a mask, but we’re not requiring it. We’re open for business; we don’t have any restrictions as far as the number of people.”

At the height of the pandemic, Kolthoff says they not only required masks and social distancing but also had to put a cap on products for customers.

“We had to restrict how much people could buy as far as meat, hamburger, chicken, pork,” explained Kolthoff. “We would limit it every day because we were running out every day.”

That is no longer the case, and Kolthoff is happy to be back to pre-pandemic routines.

The “no mask no service” policy is a thing of the past at Deer Park Barbers.

Owner Donna Reno is still setting her own rules, though.

“We’ll still be doing things as we always have,” said Reno. “We do sanitation, and we have hand sanitizer for people. We’ll just keep moving forward, we’re busy as ever.”

Other businesses, like MVP Sports and Grille, are taking a more nuanced approach.

Owner Josh Baughan says they will relax some precautions, like masks.

“We’re going to leave it up to the customer if they want to wear a mask,” explained Baughan. “We are encouraging our staff to bring a mask in case the people they wait on feel more comfortable to wear a mask for them.”

Baughan says MVP will keep other staples of the pandemic like including hand sanitizer stations and social distancing for guests.

Kenwood Towne Centre said in a statement to FOX19 NOW they will continue to follow state and local guidelines.

As these guidelines change, we update our policies to reflect them. It’s important to note that each individual retailer has their own rules and guidelines, and we recommend that our shoppers reach out to them directly with any questions.”

Restrictions remain in place for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Reporting requirements for positive COVID-19 cases are also still in place.

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