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Ohio House Speaker: ‘Tremendous frustration’ with DeWine administration

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic with respect to...
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic with respect to smaller retail stores is coming under criticism by some in his own party including House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford.(Provided)
Updated: Apr. 28, 2020 at 5:51 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS (FOX19) Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder issued a statement Monday night criticizing Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration for ordering small businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic while larger ones have been allowed to remain open and profit.

“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," said Householder, R-Glenford.

"As long as small retailers continue to be shut down while national chains are allowed to remain open, 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,” Householder said. "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.”

Ohio House speaker announces COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force

In remarks to FOX19 NOW, 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.”

On Monday morning, a group of 33 GOP legislators rolled out a plan called Open Ohio Responsibly Framework to reopen the state several hours ahead of DeWine. Businesses can open starting Friday, May 1 with workers wearing masks and changes for social distancing such as increasing space between tables and checkout lines.

DeWine: Healthcare, manufacturing, retail services to reopen under strict guidelines

Democrats who are concerned about a second coronavirus outbreak are urging a slower reopening.

All nine Senate Democrats signed a letter last week asking the governor to not reopen the state until widespread coronavirus testing was done, masks were required to be worn in public, clear guidelines were created for businesses, whistleblower protections were set up and daycares were reopened.

Monday afternoon, DeWine announced how the state’s economy would reopen over the next two weeks -- including in health care, construction, manufacturing, offices and retail.

Coronavirus-related restrictions will begin to ease on Friday May 1, followed by expanded openings Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 12.

Friday, May 1: All no-essential medical procedures at hospitals that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed to resume, including dental and veterinary procedures.

Monday, May 4: Construction, manufacturing and distribution operations will resume with at least six feet of space between people, face coverings (masks) worn at all times, employees taking temperatures and checking for coughing or trouble breathing. Bosses need to let them stay home when they are symptomatic. There also must be regular hand-washing, hand sanitizer placed around the facility, regular cleaning of items people touch and staggered arrival of employees and guests. Offices also need to follow the same rules with a maximum occupancy lower than the fire code. Office employees who can continue to work from home are encouraged to do so.

Tuesday, May 12: Retailers and service companies will reopen with employees and customers required to wear face coverings (masks). Guests must enter in a staggered fashion to allow 6 feet between them. There must be signs announcing social distancing. High-contact surfaces must be disinfected hourly. If possible, merchandise must be cleaned before restocking.

Food courts will remain closed.

So will bars, hair salons, restaurants, gyms and daycares.

Gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned for now, so that also includes pools and large venue sporting activities, amusement parks and zoos.

Ohio’s stay-at-home requirements also will continue.

[Complete coronavirus coverage]

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