State Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) told Ohio Future Foundation (OFF) Chairman Jim Renacci that Ohio needs to end its lockdown.
“I don’t think the government should be locking us down at all,” he said during OFF’s Facebook live forum Wednesday night.
Vitale has been one of the most vocal House Republicans who has criticized Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton for shutting down almost all of Ohio’s economy. He, along with 32 other House Republicans, created a plan the “Open Ohio Responsibly Framework” that recommended business start opening on Friday, which DeWine announced will happen.
“Many businesses have already modified their operating protocols to safely function in this current environment. Businesses/organizations recognize if they do not make it safe for their employees and customers, they will not come back,” the plan states. We believe it is time to trust Ohioans. They have respectfully followed the guidelines and NOW is the time to responsibly open all businesses.
Two weeks ago, Vitale also called on DeWine and Acton to ease restrictions to allow hospitals and doctors to perform elective surgeries.
A major concern Vitale expressed to Renacci was what was going to happen to the healthcare industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 49-year-old said he has had health care professionals tell him that many of their patients are not coming and that they might have to close their doors.
“My concern is [Ohioans] are going to have a health care crisis in our state because we rare bankrupting the backend of the financial system, and we are also in the process of denying people the healthcare they deserve,” Vitale said. “It’s awful.”
The state representative said he receives countless calls from people who are concerned about how they are going to get their healthcare needs.
Under DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio plan, Ohio will allow doctor visits, well-care checks, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures, diagnostic tests, and dental and veterinary services.
On the topic of essential businesses, Vitale told Renacci that he does not like it when the government determines whether businesses meet this criterion.
“I trust people to do the right thing. I trust business owners to do the right thing,” he said.
Vitale said he trusts people to make good decisions about how to run their businesses.
During the Facebook live forum, a viewer asked Vitale why so many people in Ohio were having a hard time receiving their unemployment benefits. The Dayton Daily News reported on Monday that Ohioans are “facing many obstacles” to getting paid.
Vitale said Ohio did not have a system in place to handle the large amounts of people flying for unemployment claims.
A concern Vitale said was that big companies were getting bailed out while small-town Americans were not.
“The bigger are getting bigger and the small are unfortunately going away, which is why all this needs to go away and we need to get back to work,” he said.
As The Ohio Star reported, almost one million Ohioans have filed for unemployment benefits over the last five weeks.
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