COLUMBUS—State Representative Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) today issued a statement following a House floor session where all 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 this 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. Leader 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. Rep. Mary Lightbody echoes Leader Sykes’ concern.
“As someone with a deep understanding of science, I am appalled that so many people are demanding a return to life as normal because the coronavirus is still with us and is highly contagious. Masks and proper physical distancing are preventing uncontrolled spread of the virus in states and municipalities that mandate these measures,” said Rep. Lightbody. “Out of respect for others, I wear a mask and would hope that others would do the same.”
State Representative Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) 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 the person is 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.
**Editor’s Note: A letter from Leader Sykes to Speaker Householder is attached.