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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

COVID-19 Business, Health Care Immunity Bill Passes House

COVID-19 Restaurant Closed
A restaurant is closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

A bill to grant essential businesses and health care workers immunity from pandemic-related lawsuits has quickly and overwhelmingly passed the Ohio House. The measure, which was introduced just last month, now moves on to the Senate.

Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) says the bill expands immunity protection to health care workers and facilities, first responders and essential businesses. And she says it will offer stability to businesses that are afraid to open.

“Why? Because the fear of the next negative wave to be spawned by COVID will be the wave of lawsuits.”

Nine Democrats voted no, including Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood), who said current law protects against frivolous lawsuits and that this bill could allow businesses to skimp on protecting workers.

“Substitute House Bill 606 is designed not to keep us safe but to protect the corporate elite and incompetent and careless behavior,” he said.

The bill also makes first responders, grocery store workers and prison staff eligible for workers’ compensation if they contract COVID-19.