Earlier this week, House Bill 215 received its second hearing in the Ohio Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee. This bill – referred to as the Business Fairness Act – would put forth a framework for businesses to remain open moving forward in any future pandemics.
The Ohio Chamber lent their support to the measure as they did previously in the 133rd General Assembly when this bill was introduced by Representatives Shane Wilkin and Jon Cross as House Bill 621. The bill, in its current form, is very simple. HB 215 will allow any business – to remain open or reopen – that can demonstrate compliance with any safety precautions a government order or regulation requires of businesses permitted to continue operations.
We believe this is an important bill, especially given the timing of it and the issues many small businesses are having as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. As you may recall, at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, many businesses were forced to close their doors with only businesses deemed essential being able to remain in operation. This bill seeks to move away from that standard and allow for businesses to be given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to operate safely during a time of a health emergency.
It is our hope that this bill moves quickly through the legislative process in order to set up a process and provide some clarity for businesses should we have to go through another health emergency in the future.