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Ohio's stay at home order. What you can and can't do

Akron, Ohio, March 23, 2020 – In compliance with the directives of Governor Mike DeWine and the Stay at Home Order of Ohio Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is speaking directly to Akron residents and urging them to comply with the Stay at Home Order.

Mayor Horrigan said, “It is absolutely essential that each and every one of us take this situation seriously in order to limit community spread here in Akron and across the state.” The Stay at Home Order is a lawful order of the Health Director, which, if necessary, will be enforced by local public safety and health officials. Violation of the order is a second degree misdemeanor.

“The Akron Police Department is committed to doing its part to minimize the impact of the coming surge of coronavirus cases,” Akron Police Chief Ken Ball said, “We will be using this opportunity to educate the community about the critical importance of following the Stay at Home Order and limiting unnecessary gatherings and contacts. As our local police officers continue to place themselves at risk, we are pleased to report an overall reduction in crime and calls for service. Our community is truly coming together, and we hope to see that continue.”

In addition to ordering residents to stay at home except for certain exemptions, the State order also outlines what is considered an essential and non-essential business during this state of emergency. Beginning at 11:59 p.m. Monday night, all non-essential businesses should shut down any non-remote operations within the State of Ohio, including Akron. Read the full order here: Director's Stay At Home Order.

“These steps are not taken lightly. Governor DeWine and local officials are aware of the impact this will have on residents and businesses alike, but right now, the number one priority has to be the safety of our community. This is a time which requires extraordinary measures of shared sacrifice to ensure that we protect our most vulnerable citizens and to give our hospitals the best chance possible to treat critically ill patients. I am asking all of our residents to take their responsibility to heart during this time to keep us all safe.”

The City has made several updates to their operations during this time to comply with the most up to date guidelines from local and state health officials regarding social distancing. Last week, Mayor Horrigan proactively sent home all non-essential City employees to protect employee health and safety. All essential City services are being maintained, including our drinking water supply divisions, wastewater collection and treatment divisions, and trash/recycling services. To stay informed, please visit

NEW: This week, Mayor Horrigan ordered all City playgrounds and equipment closed until further notice to prevent spread of the coronavirus/COVID19. Residents may still visit a City park to enjoy the open space, but are urged to carefully practice 6 or more feet of physical distancing from others.

Details re: City of Akron Water Service

Water service will continue safely and uninterrupted during the emergency declaration period. Water will not be shut off for non-payment. Only in a very limited number of situations would there be a need for Akron employees to enter a customer’s home to service a water meter. In that situation, employees will be wearing protective gear and ask customers to maintain distance for everyone’s safety. You can read more about the Water Department’s preparation and work here.

You can still pay your bill by mail to: Utilities Business Office, PO Box 3674, Akron, OH, 44309, or drop off at the exterior depository slot located at 146 S. High Street. You can also pay online or by phone. Payments by check over the phone at (330) 375-2554 or online at will incur a $0.70 service fee. Payment by credit card over the phone or online will incur a $1.95 service fee. You can read more about the Water Department’s preparation and work here.

As the situation continues to evolve, Mayor Horrigan will keep residents informed of any further updates and take actions necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of Akron citizens.

For further information, contact: Ellen Lander Nischt Press Secretary Phone: 330-375-2325 E-mail:

Only essential businesses are permitted to stay open, according to the new order, which can be enforced by health officials and law enforcement.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and will remain in effect until April 6, at which point state officials will reassess.

So what does that mean for Ohio? It's nothing new from what the governor has previously recommended. But an order will make it enforceable.

"There is nothing in the order that we haven't already been talking about. There is nothing in this that I haven't been asking you to do for the last few weeks," the governor said.

At it's basic concept, Ohioans should all stay at home. Nonessential workers should work from home.

It does permit exceptions to staying home. Commonsense exceptions are leaving for health and safety, for necessary supplies and services, and for outdoor activity (walking your dog, going to a park), although DeWine said that playgrounds will be closed.

You can leave home to take care of others. You can take care of your neighbor, your family and your friends.

The second part of the Stay Home Ohio order talks about essential workers and businesses. The state used the Homeland Security guidelines. These are the accepted businesses that are essential for us to continue to live, such as grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, etc.

Here is a full list of what is deemed an essential business. Each business that stays open must follow good protocol in regard to health.

In addition, only essential travel is permitted across the state. People riding public transit must comply with social distancing requirements "to the greatest extent feasible," the order states. The order allows travel into or out of the state to maintain essential business or for operations and minimum basic operations.

Leaving the home is permitted, and no one is required to stay cooped up in their homes, the order states. Walking outside is allowed, but maintaining safe social distancing requirements is required.

So what will remain open? The obvious will remain open, like first responders services, health care workers, transportation and essential infrastructure.

According to CDC guidelines, the following businesses are considered essential

  • Retail fuel centers, such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them

  • Retailers that sell groceries and medicine

  • Restaurant carry-out and quick-serve food operations

  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees

  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers

  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities and other agricultural inputs

  • Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers and workers who maintain and inspect infrastructure

  • Petroleum drilling, extraction, production, processing, refining, terminal operations, transporting and retail for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing

  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions and services

  • Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)

As of Sunday afternoon, the state of Ohio has 351 confirmed cases.

As of Sunday afternoon, the cases spanned 40 counties. Those cases have now been confirmed in Ashland (1), Ashtabula (2), Belmont (2), Butler (17), Carroll (1), Clark (1), Clermont (5), Clinton (1), Columbiana (2), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (125), Darke (1), Defiance (2), Delaware (6), Erie (1), Franklin (34), Gallia (1), Geauga (2), Greene (1), Hamilton (19), Hancock (1), Huron (1), Lake (6), Licking (1), Lorain (19), Lucas (5), Mahoning (18), Marion (1), Medina (10), Miami (13), Montgomery (5), Portage (1), Richland (1), Stark (10), Summit (23), Trumbull (3), Tuscarawas (2), Union (1), Warren (3) and Wood (1) .

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