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Whirlpool plants in Northwest Ohio say they’re essential, remain open amid coronavirus pandemic




Whirlpool Corporation, one of the area’s largest employers, says its washing machine and dishwasher factories in Clyde and Findlay, among other parts of Ohio, will remain open amid the state’s stay-at-home order due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday at 11:59 p.m., the stay-at-home order signed by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton went into effect in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Under the order, all non-essential businesses in the state must close, and workers are able to continue working from home. The order allows for Ohioans to leave in order to get groceries, go to the pharmacy, go to the doctor, care for others, and other essential tasks, but otherwise, it mandates they stay home.

On Sunday, an online petition began circulating on social media entitled “Whirlpool is not an essential workplace.” By Tuesday, it had over 2,500 signatures.

“They’re not taking the necessary precautions in the Findlay plant and the safety of the workers and their families are always supposed to be first,” petitioner Erica Heller said.

However, a statement from Whirlpool provided to News by Chad Parks states: “The health and safety of our employees, their families and the communities where we do business are our first priority. We have teams in place at local, regional and global levels continually staying on top of ongoing developments with COVID-19.”

“We will continue to work closely with health and government authorities to take measures to protect our employees. We have heightened cleaning protocols at each plant, have implemented social distancing practices, are doing temperature screenings and diligently promoting guidelines for personal hygiene,” the statement continues. “We have a commitment to consumers who need our appliances to take care of their families. They are depending on our products more than ever to clean, cook and provide proper food and medicine storage in their homes, and we are working to ensure we can deliver.”

The stay-at-home order is set to last through April 6. However, Gov. Mike DeWine indicated at a briefing Sunday it could be extended.

The order is the most extreme measure to date of the state government seeking to corral indoors some 11.7 million Ohioans — all of whom can act as vectors for the novel coronavirus.

Protect Yourself from Coronavirus

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

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