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  BOARDMAN POLICE CHIEF: “Orders are in place to limit interaction by people in an effort to slow down the spread of Covid-19”  
  Groups Of 10 People Or More Should Be Dispersed, If Observed:   April 9, 2020 Edition  
     Over the past month Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, have issued several orders that affect businesses and people in our community. Local, county, and state law enforcement, along with the county health departments are tasked with enforcing these orders. The orders are in place to limit interaction by people in an effort to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 illness.
      “During this time, our enforcement of these orders is extremely important. However, this is, and will continue to be very difficult for us based upon the complexity of the problem and the somewhat open-ended orders that are currently in place,” Boardman Township Police Chief Todd Werth said last week, suggesting “My guidance is that we will enforce these orders, but do so in a way that recognizes the strain on the public and our area businesses who are adjusting to a new way of life.”
      Outright enforcement issues to include citations and arrests will be a last resort, but are absolutely permitted at officers/supervisors discretion, the Boardman police chief told his officers, adding “That is after initial attempts have been met with resistance, repeat offenders, or based upon serious violations. Use good judgement to include getting input from supervisors or the on call administrator,”
      Chief Werth said he has had several conversations with the Mahoning County Health Department and the County Prosecutor’s Office about the orders as they apply to businesses in Boardman.
      “They are also sorting through these orders and have provided some guidance as to how to interpret each section,” the chief said, noting he is working through the Mahoning Valley Chiefs Of Police Association to push the state to tighten-up on certain areas.
      “Our enforcement at this time is complaint driven, or if we come across it during the course of our normal duties. The Health Department is also taking complaints and will be redirecting their inspectors to start checking on compliance,” Chief Werth said. The police chief urged people to email complaints (BoardmanPolice@boardmantwp.com) and refrain from calling into dispatch.
      To date, calls to the Boardman Police Department, as well as complaints, have been substantially declining, as the citizenry hunkers down in larger numbers in self-quarantine.
      In a lengthy memo to his officers, Chief Werth said the following:
      What defines “an essential business” is very open ended, but basically is a business that is essential based upon what they do or service they provide determines if they can still operate. Any essential business still open must adhere to social distancing practices outlined below. On a case by case basis, the Prosecutors Office has provided guidance on some individual businesses. Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby, for example, are allowed to remain open under the section that allows, “Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home.”
      Essential businesses must be operated with several practices that facilitate social distancing (remaining at least six feet apart). Minimum Basic Operations must take proactive measures to ensure compliance must include where possible: designate six-foot distances with markings, having hand sanitizer and sanitizing products available to customers and staff, separate operating hours for vulnerable populations, online and remote access.
      Restaurants are closed except for allowing delivery or take out. Ideally, they’ll have areas set up outside to facilitate pick up of orders. But that is not mandatory. People can be in the front part of restaurants waiting on orders (adhering to social distancing spacing). People should not be sitting down at tables, bars, waiting for an order, or drinking/eating.
      Bars are to be closed. If open as a restaurant they have to adhere to the above rules. Again, no “waiting” for your order inside, especially sitting at the bar. We have had reports of bars still being open to regulars and for specific parties. Parking is reportedly either behind the establishment or down the street, with one or two cars picking people up. Patrol should spot check locations and enforce accordingly.
      Parks are open, but people should practice social distancing outside of family groups. For example a family of five walking together is fine. But groups playing sports together, or congregating together is not allowed. Playgrounds, even located in open parks, are closed.
      Parties or gatherings of people of more than ten is not allowed. Private parties, back yard get together’s, etc. with large groups is prohibited. Identify owner/host of event and disperse crowd.
      Churches or religious facilities are considered essential and are allowed to be open. Travel to and from church is permitted. We have gotten several inquiries reference prayer caravans, drive up prayer services, etc. and have tried to discourage them. In these cases I’ve indicated that having less travel is beneficial to everyone. Several churches in the area are conducting virtual services.
      Public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including, but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, and country clubs or social clubs shall be closed. Fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities are closed per the order.
      Landscaping companies are permitted to work under the auspices that the services are important to facilitate sanitation and limit overgrowth and increase of pests. Workers should be practicing social distancing requirements.
      Construction, to include existing structure repair and new is permitted. Workers should also be practicing social distancing requirements.
      Travel or leaving the home for Essential Activities is permitted. For purposes of the order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following Essential Activities:
       •For health and safety,
       •For necessary supplies and services,
       •For outdoor activity, For certain types of work (at essential businesses),
       •To take care of others (family members/neighbors by visiting or transporting them for services outlined above).
      Medical procedures are limited to essential and life saving. This includes dental and other medical fields. Any complaints in this area will be forwarded to the Health Department. Treatment facilities and counseling centers are authorized to continue to operate. They are to institute social distancing and other work place practices per the order. BPD will take no action to determine if activities in this area fall within the scope of the order, and rely on the Health Department to enforce.
      Car dealerships fall within the scope as being an essential business supporting transportation. Repair shops are essential. The businesses are to adhere to social distancing and other work place requirements as directed in the order.
      Minimum basic operations for all businesses can continue. This would include functions like maintenance or cleaning personnel operating in a closed business. Or repairs, security personnel, payroll personnel, or other needed functions in order to keep the business viable during any shut down.
      Golf courses fall under outdoor activity as determined by the State Department of Health. Social distancing and other measures and safety practices are required. The Prosecutor’s Office also just advised that tennis is permissible.
      Chief Werth advised his troops. “Group sports, with contact is discouraged. Again, groups of ten or more should be dispersed, if observed.”
     
 
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