New Law Will Allow Ohio Businesses to Stay Open in Health Emergencies

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A law that allows businesses and industries to stay open in Ohio during a health emergency was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Dec. 1.

House Bill 215 is regarded as another step forward in the push back against the China Communist Party (CCP) virus to help safeguard the Buckeye State’s economy.

DeWine’s support of the bill, also known as the Fair Business Act, was a reversal of his decision last year to shut down non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That stance also required essential workers, such as those in healthcare, service, and government, to wear masks, and social distance.

After the state worked with numerous business leaders and labor organizations, it was realized companies with larger workforces could remain open, as they maintained safe workplace guidelines.

The bill was sponsored by State Reps Shane Wilkin and Jon Cross.

It reinforced safety standards—developed in coordination with numerous business and industry leaders—and allowed businesses and employers that follow safety protocols to remain in operation during health-related emergencies.

The bill was passed by the House 77-17 on May 5, and unanimously passed in the Senate by a 31-0 vote on Nov. 16. The “no” votes were from Democrats, who contended the language in the law was too broad.

“Ohio took the lead nationwide in working with businesses and industry leaders to help develop safe workplace guidelines and keep Ohioans working during the pandemic,” Gov. DeWine said in a statement.

“House Bill 215 reflects that business, and employers, can safely operate during a health emergency and affirms my commitment to working collaboratively with Ohio businesses to keep our economy strong as we emerge from this pandemic.”

DeWine’s stance during the shutdowns was a contentious one with Ohio lawmakers, as they saw businesses adjust to a remote workforce, restaurants go out of business, and community staple events—such as July 4 celebrations and county fairs—canceled.

But spokesman Dan Tierney said the governor changed his position because the chances were low that he would have to put similar business closures into place again.

By Michael Sakal

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