MIAMI COUNTY — The Board of Miami County Commissioners approved an open letter to Governor Mike DeWine asking for “a flexible method of the reopening of our businesses,” but no decision was made as to whether or not they will send the letter following DeWine’s press conference on Thursday.
In the letter, the commissioners expressed appreciation for DeWine’s efforts, along with those of Lieutenant Governor Husted and Dr. Amy Acton, “in keeping Ohio residents safe from the rapid spread of COVID-19.” They said, “You have made Ohio a leader in this regard.”
The commissioners went on to recognize the hardships people and businesses have suffered due to the pandemic, noting how local businesses in particular have suffered financially and may not be able to reopen.
“As you recognize, the effects of this disease on both individuals and businesses have put grave hardships never seen in our lifetime — and the future remains uncertain,” the commissioners said. “Many businesses within Miami County have experienced great financial hardship from which they may never recover and several businesses have shut permanently. Furthermore, bigger retail establishments have experienced less hardship as they have been deemed essential and have been able to operate with safeguards in place. We are now faced with citizens and businesses contacting us asking for action in opening up businesses in our community.”
The commissioners then asked for the governor to consider “a flexible method” to reopen businesses, asking Dewine not to use a “one size fits all” method for all of Ohio. They suggested that, with safety procedures in place, reopening businesses would ease the economic burden.
“As Miami County Commissioners, we are respectfully requesting your consideration for a flexible method of the reopening of our businesses. If proper guidelines and protocol are utilized, it is our belief that businesses can reopen safely, reducing the negative economic impact to our county, reducing the tremendous burden on state and local budgets, while also improving the mental well-being of our residents.
“You and your staff have provided great leadership and education in the process of slowing the spread of this disease. We now ask that you look at each county individually and not utilize a ‘one size fits all’ approach for reopening businesses throughout the State.”
Following reading the letter during the commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, the commissioners discussed the letter, not making a decision on whether or not they will send it due to wanting to consider DeWine’s newest guidelines. On Thursday, DeWine announced the state’s reopening dates for restaurants and salons, which will be May 15 for salons and outdoor dining areas for restaurants and May 21 for dine-in seating for restaurants. The date for salons also applies to barbershops, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, and other personal services.
“The COVID’s lethal, but poverty’s lethal, too,” commissioner Ted Mercer said. “The governor’s trying to do the best that he can do,” adding, “We should send the letter.”
“I think it’s important the governor hears from the constituents,” commissioner Jack Evans said.
Commissioner Greg Simmons referenced the “one size fits all approach,” saying Miami County is not like Columbus or Cleveland, suggesting Miami County should not be treated the same as urban areas.
Evans went over why they have not allowed local businesses to reopen, saying, “We do not have the authority to change what the governor has put into place.”
The commissioners are expected to decide sometime Friday on whether or not they will send the letter to the governor.