Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine signed a law that restricts local and state officials from closing churches or other houses of worship and from changing election dates.
According to Cleveland, DeWine's signing of House Bill 272 follows criticism of him for postposing Ohio's March 17th primary election due to coronavirus fears. Leading many congregations to halt services, he once stated, 'holding in-person services would be a huge mistake.'
Dan Tierney stated, "At that stage, remember, the pandemic was emerging in March, and the situation on the ground changed very rapidly and unexpectedly. Moving forward, the virus will not have the element of surprise."
The law is planned to take effect in mid-December as the House Bill 272 includes prohibiting a public official from ordering the closure of all places. The new legislation states, "no public official shall cause an election to be conducted other than in the time, place, and manner prescribed by the Revised Code."