EATON — Preble County Commissioners held a special meeting on Friday, May 1. During the meeting, Commission President Denise Robertson commented, “I am declaring all Preble County businesses essential.”
That soundbite circulated over the following weekend, along with posts on social media which insinuated orders would not be enforced in Preble County. Over the weekend, Preble County Public Health had to issue its own statement regarding the situation.
The Preble County Commissioners addressed the entire situation during their meeting on Monday, May 4.
Business owner Kathy Clapp, who also spoke during the special meeting, spoke on Monday, thanking the commissioners for having the special meeting in the first place. She also addressed the meeting as a whole and the blow back over the weekend.
“Friday I thought was very intense. I think it was kind of a double-edged sword. I was right there with it because I’m like an American citizen and I want my voice to be heard and I don’t want anybody in my pocketbook. I felt it was great, no matter what the Health Department had to add to our whole, big travesty, mess,” she said.
“I’m glad they were here and heard our voices. It was interesting, because I never knew how involved they were supposed to be. Now I know they are, so maybe I’ll bang on their door a little more. I felt your enthusiasm for this subject was great, over the top, wonderful for all of our business owners. I hope individually you’re reaching out to business owners as well, but it is our job as a business owner to reach out to you.
“We all have to be at the party to get things to happen. I’m hoping, with all that happened on Friday, I don’t feel that any of the commissioners made me want to open up my door and start doing hair illegally.”
“We never insinuated that and I don’t know why people took it that way,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said.
Commissioner Chris Day commented on the media-storm over the weekend, noting the Preble County special meeting actually made national headlines as well.
“We appreciate you guys coming in. I can tell you, my phone blew up this weekend, because what was put out there was ‘Preble County announces all businesses are essential.’ The only thing that made the news was Denise’s comment. We did not issue an order, that is what I told everybody. I think we all agree we want to put our businesses back together,” Commissioner Day said. “I think what you’re going to find out is statewide, especially in the rural counties, why isn’t the Governor giving us the ability to let the local health departments work with us and put our businesses back to work? I think there is going to be more push on that than you can believe.
“The message has been heard throughout the state and the nation — this actually made some national headlines. We’re in this with you, we’re trying to figure out the best way to move forward and get some action. As you said, when we don’t have an end-result, when we don’t have a finish line, where do you run to? We appreciate you guys coming in.”
Later in the meeting, Commissioner Creech brought up a conversation Governor DeWine had with Sheriff Mike Simpson. According to Creech, it was mentioned that in the Stay Safe Ohio Order the retail establishments that were closed can operate curbside pickup, delivery or appointment-online, limited to 10 customers at any one time.
Preble County resident Mary Bullen spoke about the Stay Safe Ohio Order, asking several questions and making clarifications.
“It’s a very tough situation and I know it’s tough for you guys to try and do the right thing for the county and still listen to the people who have the authority to make these rules,” she noted.
Commissioner Day brought up masks once again, asking if they were supposed to require masks to be worn in the courthouse, based on the Stay Safe Ohio order. Bullen suggested asking Preble County Public Health for their input and clarification. Commissioner Robertson said she does not understand how they can require anyone to wear masks.
The board also discussed if they should continue to take temperatures of those entering the courthouse, now that employees are supposed to be self-checking before they report for work. Commissioner Creech suggested finishing the week out.
“It might be okay to send out the memo that says please self check in the morning, take your own temperature, and if you’re sick stay home,” Robertson said.
Creech suggested checking with Preble County Public Health on the temperature station as well.
“Technically you’re just supposed to check employees — or the employees are supposed to check their temperatures,” Creech said.
Robertson agreed to finish out the week, but Commission Clerk Kim Keller asked if she should check with the health department first. The board agreed, with Commissioner Day noting he wanted to check with Preble County Public Health on several different issues.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH