One of the most critical pieces of COVID-19 related legislation for the Ohio and Dayton area business communities passed the Ohio General Assembly and was signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on September 14, 2020. The legislation, known as Ohio House Bill 606, provides businesses, non-profits, hospitals, and schools much needed civil immunity from liability resulting from exposure or transmission of COVID-19.
Passing this bill was a top priority for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce lobbying team this summer, as it provides much needed protections for our business community. We submitted testimony (which you can read at DaytonChamber.org,) and worked closely with the Ohio legislature to ensure the voice of business was loud and clear as this legislation was thoroughly debated and considered over the past five months.
Introduced April 10, House Bill 606 directly covers schools, for-profit and non-profit organizations, government and religious entities, and state higher education institutions. These protections exist as long as the entity was not reckless in their COVID-19 protections, meaning they disregarded a potential risk or didn’t consider potential consequence of their actions.
As I meet and discuss this critical issue with the Dayton area business community and members of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, I am proud to say that every single member I’ve talked to is going above and beyond to protect everyone that they come in contact with on a daily basis. Safety is first priority for our business community and that has been evident.
Businesses are innovating, adjusting, and taking significant precautionary measures to protect their employees, guests, customers and vendors from COVID-19. These measures take significant resources, time and investments to put in place and ensure the safety of all is paramount. The last thing business leaders need is to be worried about a potential harm resulting from a COVID-19 related issue when they followed all of the health and safety recommendations. Our business community is working hard to re-open and get back to business as usual, and the quick passage of HB 606 gives them the peace of mind they need to focus on their employees and their business. This confidence will result in what our economy needs now: Jobs must be restored and our businesses need to be able to be back up and running.
Dayton area businesses are our employers, our neighbors, our friends and our community investors. They have been impacted beyond belief by COVID-19, and now that the proper protections are in place, they can rest a little easier and try to figure out what the new normal actually looks like for the future.
A personal thank you to the Ohio legislature, the Ohio Governor and the Ohio Lt. Governor, who made business a priority for all of Ohio. The country is watching and we are proud that Ohio has our backs.
Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.