Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) expressed sharp criticism for Governor Mike DeWine’s plans to reopen the economy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic over what the Speaker called an “unwillingness to recognize” the needs of small business.
“There is a tremendous amount of frustration from the majority of members in the Ohio House regarding the administration’s unwillingness to recognize that small businesses that have much less daily traffic in their stores are closed while their large chain competitors have been open throughout the process,” Householder said in a statement.
As long as small retailers continue to be shut down while national chains are allowed to remain open, the government is assisting in the demise of many great small businesses.The big get bigger and the small go away. The House has asked to work with the Administration to come up with common sense solutions to resolve this, but have been met with deaf ears.
Ohio’s three branches of government are to be separate but equal. Our members feel disrespected that their opinions have been largely disregarded by the Administration. The Ohio House has announced they are resuming on May 4 and Republican members are anxious to deal with these issues in person rather than via telephone.
Householder’s statement came shortly after at least 33 State Representatives – all Republicans – released a framework that urges more aggressive action.
In remarks to FOX19 NOW Tuesday, Householder said:
House Republicans believe it’s not government’s role to manage people’s lives. What you can wear, where you can go, when you can go there or if you can leave your home are decisions people make for a child or pet. House Republicans believe a vast majority of Ohioans understand their own circumstances and can make their own decisions without government mandates and orders. Now that we know there will be no surge, then if a citizen is worried about getting sick, don’t go out. It’s that simple.
The House Republicans’ plan, dubbed the “Open Ohio Responsibly Framework” calls for businesses to open starting Friday, May 1, with workers wearing masks and changes for social distancing.
“We respect past concerns regarding not overwhelming our hospitals, health systems, front line health-care workers and first responders as well as ensuring there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment,” the framework states. “In Ohio, we believe we are now past that stage of concern.”
However, Ohio Democrats favor extending the shutdown. Nine Senate Democrats signed a letter last week asking the governor to not reopen the state until more coronavirus testing is completed, and suggested masks be required to be worn in public, along with additional guidelines for businesses.
“We oppose any plan that disproportionately prioritizes the economy over people’s lives,” Democrats wrote.“Reopening the state too soon could negate the sacrifices of those who have missed going to school, lost their livelihoods, and put their lives on hold for the greater good.”
Coronavirus restrictions will begin to ease on Friday May 1, followed by expanded openings Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 12.
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Samantha Witwer is a reporter at The Ohio Star.