Ohio’s Essential Businesses to Limit Occupant Load

Grocery stores reevaluate how many customers are allowed inside in response to new COVID-19 regulations.

occupant load sensor

During Ohio’s daily COVID-19 press conference on Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced an occupant load requirement stating that, “essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time. These businesses must ensure that people waiting to enter the stores maintain safe social distancing.”

Similar occupant load regulations have been put in place in Maine and Washington as well as voluntarily mandated at many stores across the nation.

Since March 22nd all non-essential businesses in Ohio have been mandated to close their doors. The remaining essential businesses include public health facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores, and post office and shipping locations. The full outline of essential businesses can be found on the Amended Stay at Home Order.

At this point the Governor’s requirement allows flexibility for business owners to determine their own maximum occupant load and the honors-system for owners to enforce their set limits.

However, as we’ve seen over the past weeks, some businesses owners have loose interpretations of the Governor’s requirements and law enforcement has stepped in to reevaluate and punish businesses who ultimately are not complying.

For example, Hobby Lobby initially closed its doors as a non-essential business in compliance to the mandate set forth in mid-March. Then the week of March 30th, Hobby Lobby began reopening stores claiming it’s an essential business to provide homeschooling materials. Within days of reopening, the Governor made a declaration of the necessity of its closure followed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sending a cease-and-desist letter which drove the Hobby Lobby counsel to again close their stores in compliance.

Therefore, it’s necessary for businesses to follow the Governor’s maximum occupant load guidelines to the best of their ability. With the rising demands and pressures businesses owners are already under, such as ensuring stocked shelves and extra sanitation measures, relying on an automated system to count customers entering a store is an easier and more efficient solution than hand-counting.

Youngstown’s WFMJ 21 recently featured SenSource’s Occupancy Monitoring solution, showing how it can help businesses conform to these new regulations.

Learn more about SenSource’s Automated Occupancy Monitoring solution.

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