Ohio Law Puts Small Businesses on Level Ground with Big Box Stores During Emergencies

by J.D. Davidson


Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law Wednesday that supporters say eliminates the double standard for different Ohio businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies.

The Business Fairness Act addresses issues from DeWine’s initial stay-at-home orders that many said allowed large, national stores to remain open while mom-and-pop small businesses were forced to close.

DeWine said the new law reinforces safety standards development with business and industry leaders and lets businesses that follow safety protocols remain in operation during future health emergencies, no matter the organization’s size.

“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,” DeWine said. “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.”

Business groups throughout the state pushed for legislation that put small businesses on level footing with larger companies.

“On behalf of Ohio’s small business community, NFIB expresses our sincere appreciation for the quick signing of the Business Fairness Act by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. A lot of lessons were learned during the COVID pandemic and by signing this critically important piece of legislation into law Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor [Jon] Husted recognize the important contributions Ohio small businesses made during this difficult time. It sends a clear message that all Ohio businesses are important to the economy of our state,” said Roger Geiger, National Federation of Independent Business executive director for NFIB in Ohio.

DeWine also signed a law allowing local governments to use blockchain technology for record keeping and other uses. The move, DeWine said, would increase privacy and security and save taxpayer dollars.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.




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