By JENNIFER DEMPSEY

Progress Editor

On Sunday, March 22, Governor Mike DeWine ordered a stay at home order that took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23. At this time, the order is set to end at 11:59 p.m. on April 6 unless otherwise modified.

This order covers the entire state of Ohio and means that unless you work for an essential business or are doing essential activity, you should stay home.

The list for essential businesses is quite extensive. You can visit the Governor’s website for a full copy of the order that includes these jobs. If you are unsure about wether to report to work or not, call your employer.

You are allowed to leave your home for essential activities.

Such activity includes for health and safety, such as obtaining medical supplies or medication or seeking medical attention.

For necessary supplies and services. This means food, cleaning products, household products and other essential items. When going out for these supplies, do not take your entire family with you. One person is all that is needed for these trips.

For outdoor activities. This includes hiking, running, biking, yard work, etc. Stay at home doesn’t mean stay in your house. It’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy the outdoors during this pandemic. Just be sure to practice social distancing when you are outside. Playgrounds are closed though during the pandemic.

For certain types of work. If you are an employee at an essential business, you are cleared to go to work.

And lastly, to take care of others. We still need to look out for each other during this time. This also extends to pets and livestock. It’s fine to transport family members to appointments. It also includes attending weddings and funerals.

It’s so important to remember that law enforcement will not pull you over and penalize you if you are on the roads during this time. Also, no roads will be closed during this time.

The stay at home order is mandatory though and is for the health and safety of our residents.

The intent of the Order is to “ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible.”

While all of this information seems daunting and honestly a little scary, it is nothing to panic about.

You will still have access to the items needed for survival. Your trash will still be picked up and food will be available.

This is being done as a preventative measure to help slow down the spread of the disease.

If your place of employment shuts down during this time, be sure to check your eligibility for unemployment. The one-week waiting period for benefits has been lifted during this time.