COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Following Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement Wednesday that health orders tied to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations as well as the governor’s own political party applauded the move.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik said DeWine’s announcement was “welcomed news.”

“While the Biden-Harris Administration and Democrat governors have imposed draconian, nonsensical regulations, barred children from school, and implemented policies that disincentivize work and squander taxpayer dollars, Ohio, under Governor DeWine’s leadership, rose to the challenge of our time.

“Smart, prudent economic policy is incentivizing work and fueling Ohio’s economic rally—outpacing most of the country. Ohioans are back to work. Children are back in the classroom. Opportunity is abundant again in the great state of Ohio.”

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik

Throughout the pandemic, some Republican members of the Ohio Statehouse have rallied against the health orders put in place by the DeWine administration, to the point that the legislature passed a new law that would allow it, with a simple majority of the House and Senate, to rescind executive actions taken by a governor or the state health department.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who is running to face DeWine in the 2022 governor’s race, said he was caving from political pressure in lifting the health order.

“This isn’t the first time Gov. DeWine has caved to pressure from his party when it could benefit him politically, just like he did on a mask mandate last year. While we’re all eager for Ohio to reopen safely, it’s disappointing that DeWine continues to care more about appeasing his political base than following the guidance of his own public health officials.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) criticized the governor for using tax dollars for the lottery-like drawings announced by DeWine as an incentive to get more Ohioans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As elected leaders, we’re obligated to take seriously our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Using millions of dollars in relief funds in a drawing is a grave misuse of money that could be going to respond to this ongoing crisis. Ohioans deserve better than this. I do hope people continue to get the vaccine and help our state reach herd immunity so our economy and way of life can thrive again.”

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron)

Republican Rep. Jon Cross agreed with Sykes.

Former Republican Congressman Jim Renacci also criticized DeWine’s announced plan for the vaccine drawing.

U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who began his senate campaign by calling on DeWine to reopen Ohio, called the lottery drawing a bribe.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose tweeted his support of the lifting of the health orders.

“This is a day all Ohioans – especially our small businesses and restaurants – have waited for!” LaRose tweeted. “So many have sacrificed so much, and now with the vaccine available to all who want it, we are ready to truly be OPEN FOR BUSINESS again.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office issued the following statement in regards to DeWine’s announcement:

Sen. Brown has said all along that he supports getting states the funding they need to get shots into arms. The bottom line has not changed: the most important thing we can do to defeat this pandemic, get our economy moving again, and get people back to work and school, is to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible. The Senator is urging Ohioans to get vaccinated and consult their family doctor if they have questions about the vaccine.

Spokesperson for Sen. Sherrod Brown

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther called on all Ohioans to continue to follow the health measures and get vaccinated.

“Regardless of state orders or city orders, we all know what we must do to get our lives back: Get vaccinated, wear masks, keep social distance and wash hands frequently. We must continue with the common sense measures put in place by health professionals, but the best weapon we have is the vaccine. I have great faith and confidence that the residents of our great city will do the right thing.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther

The organization representing one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, the Ohio Restaurant Association, applauded DeWine’s announcement while also calling the state “a leader” for the steps taken over the last year to fight the virus.

Ohio has been a leader in taking a holistic approach to public health while balancing safety, economic issues, mental health and other realities that COVID restrictions brought with them. Today’s announcement about ending Ohio’s health orders on June 2, 2021 is the logical next step in fully reopening our state for Ohio’s businesses and families. We are pleased to see a decline in COVID cases and hospitalizations as more Ohioans are vaccinated. 

Eliminating the six-foot social distancing requirement will enable restaurant, bar and foodservice operators to return to greater sales capacity for indoor dining, which is critical to our industry’s recovery and profitability,”

John Barker, President and CEO of the ORA

Baker also urges anyone who has yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to do so.