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COVID-19: Essential Businesses Dispute Resolutions

Here are some of the advisory opinions from the dispute resolution committee that are available online: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/resources/Guidance/Advisory-Minutes/

So far, they’ve considered the following issues:

  • Car washes (considered essential if they are following the guidelines included in the opinion)
  • Pet grooming (not essential)
  • Stores selling CBD products (not essential)

The Dispute Resolution Commission announced last week that was established to evaluate and render guidance in situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion for similar businesses on what is or is not an essential business. This will help provide uniformity. For example, a chain store may be operating as an essential business in one jurisdiction, but not another.

The local determination in question may be submitted to the Commission by either of the local health departments, or an entity or person subject to the determination. The Commission will review requests submitted and decide the outcome of the Order to the conflict. The decision of the Dispute Resolution Commission shall be final.

The process is:

  1. Business owner, or local health department, submits a dispute resolution request form to resolution@odh.ohio.gov.
  2. The Ohio Department of Health assigns the dispute resolution request with a number, reviews the submission, contacts the local health department for more information, and then shares with PUCO.
  3. PUCO will then compiles cases, prepares meeting agenda, and publishes a meeting agenda on the ODH website with all requests to be considered.
  4. The Dispute Resolution Commission convenes virtually, reviews each case, and makes a determination.
    1. All Commission meeting minutes and opinions will be published on the ODH website with specific date and time specified for enforcement.
    2. Opinions and recommendations become final orders 48 hours after date and time of issuance absent action by ODH director or designee.
    3. ODH sends opinions and recommendations to local authorities and requestees.

Commission members include Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sheryl Maxfield, Ohio Development Services Agency Director Lydia Mihalik, and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo.

The Commission will convene as needed and endeavor to make determinations on dispute resolution requests submitted within 24 hours.

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