DeWine to Lift Health Orders and End $300 Unemployment Enhancement Payments

In less than 24 hours, Governor Mike DeWine made two major announcements regarding pandemic policies that signal the beginning of the end in the state’s fight against COVID-19.

During a statewide evening address Wednesday, the Governor announced that Ohio would be lifting all mask mandates and large gathering health orders that have been in place for the vast majority of the crisis. The health orders will be rescinded June 2nd.

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In the address, DeWine also urged Ohio businesses to continue doing their part to encourage its workforce to get the vaccine. He named several OBRT members, including Worthington Industries, White Castle, Marathon and Scotts as leaders in the effort to incentive employees to get the shot.

In response to the Governor’s announcement, Ohio Business Roundtable President and CEO, Pat Tiberi, issued the following statement:

“Throughout the pandemic, Governor DeWine has approached each phase of the crisis in a balanced, thoughtful manner, and tonight’s announcement regarding the rescission of the health orders is no different. At the Ohio Business Roundtable, we are proud to have supported the all-hands-on-deck effort that has been required over the past year, most notably by standing up the Coalition to Stop the Spread. Spearheaded by Ohio’s business community, the efforts of the coalition have worked to promote safety protocols in the workplace as well as to encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated. Realizing the vaccine is the key to ending the virus once and for all, the Ohio Business Roundtable will continue our efforts to encourage workplace vaccination clinics and other measures to increase vaccine acceptance throughout the state.

 Through the tireless efforts and sacrifices of Ohioans at all stages of the pandemic, we are now at the long-awaited beginning of the end of our fight against COVID-19. In Ohio we have seen this crisis through and are emerging stronger, more confident than ever. I applaud Governor DeWine for his leadership in navigating our state through this impossible challenge.”

Thursday, the Governor followed the lifting of the health orders with another announcement that Ohio will end the $300 unemployment enhancement payment effective June 26th. The payment was intended to assist Ohioans who were hard pressed to find employment following the sharp decline in jobs and rapid increase in unemployment at the onset of the pandemic.

Over a year later, Ohio’s jobs have rebounded and the Ohio Means Jobs website had over 181,000 jobs as of the beginning of May, nearly have of which paid over $50,000 annually.

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Recognizing the wide availability of jobs and inability to fill them, Ohio Business Roundtable joined with the other statewide business organizations to advocate for the end of the $300 enhancement. As a result of DeWine’s announcement, Pat Tiberi made the following comment supporting the move:

“Ohio Business Roundtable members have spent months establishing guidelines and procedures to bring their workforce back in a way that keeps employees safe and healthy. With over 181,000 jobs available in the state, businesses have demonstrated that they are prepared to safely welcome back employees and provide the income necessary to support Ohio families and communities. The Governor’s announcement signals that--while we must still be prepared to stop the spread of the virus--it is time we return our trust in Ohio’s economy. OBRT thanks the DeWine Administration for listening to the business community’s concern on this issue, and for taking action to encourage a safe return to work.”

Alexandra Denney