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New bill gives schools, employers immunity against coronavirus lawsuits

School officials and business owners say the temporary immunity gives them one less thing to worry about during this pandemic.

PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Ohio businesses and schools are praising a new law signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

House Bill 606 gives schools, employers and businesses temporary immunity from any coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Business owners and school officials say it's giving them a sense of relief to about COVID-19.

Almost everything from where we eat and work to where kids go to school has had to change to protect against the coronavirus. These changes haven't been easy. So workers are happy with the new law that protects them against lawsuits.

"It does give us a sense of if we're doing our jobs and following the guidelines and we're making a good-faith effort," Perrysburg Schools superintendent Tom Hosler said. "We know that we're okay. So it gives us that reassurance."

RELATED: Gov. Mike DeWine signs bill ensuring immunity to Ohio schools and businesses from COVID-related lawsuits

Food businesses have been open throughout all of this, adjusting on a dime to any changes. The owner of Stella's in Perrysburg said this is one less thing they need to worry about now.

"It's definitely a positive step taken by the state legislature and Gov. DeWine to protect small businesses and businesses around the state and front line workers," Stella's owner Patrick Lahey said. 

Businesses can still be sued if a party can show intentional or reckless disregard in protecting against the spread of the virus. But workers have adjusted to safety guidelines and say this helps.

"We're a family-owned business. We're at 60% capacity, so it really has impacted us. However, we're really grateful to our customers and the community of Perrysburg for all of the support they've given us during this time," " Lahey said. 

"It's nice to have that flexibility as we begin to plan in terms of the law being in place through next year because we're still going to be dealing with elements of this for some time," ' Hosler said. 

The immunity lasts until Sept. 21, 2021.

RELATED: Ohio Coronavirus Update: School Reporting Dashboard now available on state COVID-19 website

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