West Chester trustees implore Gov. DeWine to ease restrictions — in the township

West Chester Twp. Trustees want the state to lift restrictions in the township due to its “substantially lower social vulnerability.” FILE

The West Chester Twp. trustees are imploring the governor to lift restrictions on the township’s 3,600 businesses, citing a “substantially lower social vulnerability index.”

Trustees passed a resolution Tuesday encouraging Gov. Mike DeWine and health director Dr. Amy Acton to lift restrictions for the township. The township has 40 to 50 percent of its businesses shuttered due to the novel coronavirus.

The trustees want the DeWine and Acton to “recognize West Chester Twp.’s substantially lower social vulnerability index and to act accordingly to lift restrictions on the operation of businesses in West Chester Twp.,” according to the resolution. “To the extent further restrictions are necessary, the board respectfully requests that these restrictions be implemented in a manner that reflects the specific risk factors of each individual community in Ohio.”

The latest epidemiology numbers from the Butler County Health District showed the township’s main zip code, 45069, had 13.8 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases with 27. The report was based on 195 cases last week. As of Thursday, there have been a total of 262 positive cases, four probable cases and six deaths.

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The township quoted a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that gives Butler County overall a 0.3449 social vulnerability score on a scale of zero to one, with zero being the least vulnerable. The factors include economic data as well as data regarding education, family characteristics, housing, language ability, ethnicity and vehicle access.

Former township trustee State Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., gave a report of the state’s actions dealing with the pandemic, and told the trustees he believes the business community is better equipped to make business decisions than the state.

“It’s my opinion and my belief that free markets and free people know better what to do than government does…,” Lang said, noting he and some other state representatives sent a letter to DeWine last week with some recommendations. “We think businesses should be open as soon possible with as few restrictions as possible. Businesses know best how to protect their employees, their customers and their vendors.”

Lang said he and his colleagues are also recommending 100 percent tax credits for personal protective equipment businesses need to reopen and all state legislators including the governor and lieutenant governor take a 20 percent pay cut until the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) returns to pre-pandemic levels or better, among other financial moves.

State Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., also visited the township this week and cautioned against sending “any decrees from on high” to the governor.

“You might be sending it to the wrong place,” Coley said. “When you say, ‘Hey we want our businesses to open,’ well do all your businesses have access to test kits, do all your businesses have access to personal protection equipment. Have all your businesses structured themselves in a way they would not cause harm to their employees or people that were to enter their place of business. Have you thought of those things.”

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