Larry Obhof

Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof. (Submitted Photo)

COLUMBUS —The Ohio Senate has passed legislation providing legal protections for small businesses, certain healthcare providers and other employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said Senate Bill 308 provides protections for business and healthcare providers against lawsuits from individuals alleging they were exposed to COVID-19 on the entity’s premises, unless it is found that the business or provider acted with reckless or intentional conduct to spread the virus.

Obhof's district includes all of Richland, Ashland and Medina counties, as well as a portion of Holmes County.

 "Ohio’s small businesses are working hard to reopen, bring back employees, and safely welcome customers back,” Obhof said. “Senate Bill 308 will give them the certainty that they need as we reboot Ohio’s economy.”

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During its consideration in the Senate, S.B. 308 was supported by dozens of organizations, including the Ohio Manufacturers Association, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and the National Federation of Independent Business, Obhof said.

The changes in Senate Bill 308 are mostly temporary and limited specifically to the effects of the coronavirus. If enacted, the heightened immunity for businesses provided through S.B. 308 will continue until April 1, 2021.

The bill will now be sent to the Ohio House for further consideration.