OHIO VALLEY — The Gallia County Economic Development Office and Jackson County Economic Development Partnership collaborated with the Gallia and Jackson county health departments to present a webinar Friday focused on answering questions surrounding COVID-19 concerns as businesses around Ohio slowly reopen.
Jackson County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Sam Brady and Gallia County Economic Development Office Executive Director Melissa Clark welcomed area business leaders to the meeting.
“We really wanted to facilitate this opportunity with the reopening of Ohio to connect business owners, entrepreneurs and operators to the health (departments),” said Brady. “They will be fielding your questions today as part of the Responsible Restart Ohio initiative.”
Jackson County Health Department Health Commissioner Kevin Aston and Gallia County Health Department Public Health Preparedness Director Tyler Schweickart were available to answer questions.
Brady said a web link would later be made available for those who were unable to attend the webinar for future reference.
Aston said that reopening restaurants should follow state guidance but that likely would not need a health inspector appear at every restaurant to approve floor plans. If health departments received complaints about restaurants, it would be likely an inspector would appear.
“I think that we need to trust each other to all make a really good faith effort to follow all the guidance that’s coming through and any future guidance that comes as well,” said Aston. “Just follow that to the best of our ability.”
Clark shared a question from a business in the banking industry to the health departments regarding issues with drive-thru sites and facial coverings.
“With employees in the state of Ohio mandated to wear those facial coverings, there are exemptions,” said Schweickart. “…If the individual is in the drive-thru and this kind of goes for the vast majority of positions in all of our businesses. If they are in their own area, they have that spacial distancing in. They don’t need to sit there all day long and wear that mask or facial covering. Primarily when those need to be utilized is if an individual will be crossing paths with the public or with their coworkers or they’re going to be speaking directly to either of those sub-sects is whenever those individuals do need to be wearing those facial coverings. There are plenty of alternative ways that they’ve (the state) listed where individuals wouldn’t need to wear those.”
For more information, contact your local health department or watch the coming link of the webinar.
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Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.