State Representative Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today issued a statement following a House floor session where members were not socially distanced as the health experts recommend, and where only a few of the Republican members were wearing masks.
House Democrats and staff were not informed of the change in seating arrangement protocol until a few hours before the afternoon floor session, and—like most Ohio workers who have been noticeably absent from public discussions of reopening Ohio—had no input in the dangerous decision.
Minority Leader Emilia Sykes sent a letter to Speaker Householder today, expressing disappointment in his unilateral decision to loosen safety protocols as COVID-19 cases and deaths persist. Representative Skindell echoed Leader Sykes’ concern.
Rep. Skindell also made a motion on the floor today to immediately consider amending the House Rules that would require all persons over the age of two, including any member, to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering while attending a meeting of the House or meeting of any standing committee, subcommittee or select committee of the House. Exceptions would be made for a person unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition or if otherwise exempted by the Ohio Department of Health guidance. His motion was voted down by House Republicans, many of them refusing to wear masks themselves.
“Masks or cloth facial coverings are recommended by the CDC and other medical professionals and groups to lessen the spread of COVID-19 to others,” Skindell said. “By wearing a mask, you are demonstrating your deep concern for the health and safety of people around you.”