Youngstown/Warren, Regional Chambers Applaud Gov. DeWine

by Terry Troy

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the rest of the Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition applaud Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly for enacting HB606, granting businesses tort protection against COVID lawsuits. Regional Chamber President & CEO Tom Humphries joined Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and members of the General Assembly for a signing ceremony on Monday.

“This legislation will help our businesses emerge from the COVID crisis,” said Humphries, who participated virtually during the special signing event filmed from DeWine’s Cedarville home. The civil immunity extends to individuals, schools, health care providers, businesses and other entities, provided they were not showing reckless, intentional or willful misconduct. It also shields health care providers from liability in tort actions regarding the care and services provided during the pandemic unless they were acting recklessly or displaying intentional misconduct.

The Coalition announced in a statement released last week, “The Ohio Metro Chambers Coalition applauds Gov. DeWine, Senate President (Larry) Obhof, House Speaker (Robert) Cupp and members of the Ohio Legislature for their leadership in passing House Bill 606, which enacts temporary and targeted qualified immunity from tort liability for responsible Ohio businesses against COVID-19 related law suits.” This legislation was a top priority to help our members weather the storm raged by COVID-19.

Businesses are eager to regain a sense of normalcy. Jobs must be restored; businesses must safely reopen to workers and the public; the economy must gain momentum. In order to do so, responsible businesses need assurance that they will not be at further financial risk by the threat of unwarranted litigation.”

The Regional Chamber, through its EMERGE program, will continue to actively educate and encourage businesses to follow local, state and federal safety guidelines, as well as promote best practices among its members. The EMERGE program has provided one-on-one assistance to 80 small companies in the Valley, EMERGE Safely toolkits and personal protection equipment toolkits, as well.