Coronavirus: County forces non-essential businesses to close

Four more businesses that are deemed non-essential were forced to close last week as the Montgomery County health department continue to enforce the state’s “stay-at-home” order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, one business owner that Public-Health Dayton & Montgomery County served a letter to plans to remain opened because the business is situated in Greene County, he said.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to disregard it,” said Rob McClure, owner of the Your CBD Store location in Centerville. “I’m going to keep the doors open as long as I can.”

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McClure said he cooperated with Montgomery County and provided requested information. But the next morning an employee found a letter on the door ordering the shop at 5820 Wilmington Pike to cease operations.

Public Health Dayton & Montgomery County has an agreement with Greene County Public Health to handle inspections in Centerville, where city boundaries cross the county line, Montgomery County officials said.

“Due to the overlapping jurisdiction of Centerville into a portion of Greene County, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County services businesses in that shopping center, and in this case both counties are in agreement to the closure order,” said Dan Suffoletto, a Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County spokesman.

McClure said he would need to see the jurisdictional agreement before altering his plans.

“Not until I’m forced to,” he said. “And even then I’m going to dispute it, of course.”

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The three other businesses ordered to shut their doors this week in Montgomery County include:

• 70’s Rock Shop, 300 N. Main St., Union

• Elite Smoke Shop, 29 Alexandersville Road, Miamisburg

• Rich’s Tobacco Shop, 2050 E. Stroop Road, Kettering

“Your business is classified as a non-essential business,” read the Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County letter sent to the businesses. “You are required to immediately cease operations under the Director’s order until further notice.”

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Twelve other businesses were previously ordered closed since the state’s “stay-at-home” order went into effect or its later extension.

Elite Smoke Shop was following the order to cease operations, said an employee who declined to give his name when reached Friday.

“We have no choice but to shut down,” the employee said. “They (government officials) are talking about reopening May 1 and that’s what we’re hoping for, so we are holding on for that.”

Phone calls to the other two businesses ordered closed this week were not answered.

A handful of Ohio businesses ordered shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic have now had cases heard by the state’s Dispute Resolution Commission, designed to resolve differences when local health departments have diverged on whether those operations are essential in the face of a pandemic.

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The commission that began meeting earlier this month has cleared the way for car washes and businesses that spread mulch to remain open so long as precautions are taken to protect from coronavirus transmission. But the three commissioners have ruled pet groomers must stay closed and their interpretation of other sections of the state’s “stay-at-home” order means other businesses must close or risk penalties.

A commission opinion also deemed CBD, or cannabidiol products, nonessential, but as with other opinions, stores can remain open if essential items account for a majority of revenues.

McClure said if forced to close the Centerville store he will take call-in and online sales like he did when Miami County closed his second Your CBD Store in Troy. The Troy store had a rocky grand opening March 13, just as the pandemic tightened its grip on the Ohio economy.

“Small businesses are already hurting as it is,” McClure said.

McClure said the products his store sells are essential and might be in greater need during a pandemic.

“We have so many customers that use it for stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, arthritis and inflammation. People use it for a reason. Addicts use it to help,” he said. “There’s a reason it’s becoming a billion-dollar industry. It’s not doing that for no reason. It’s not doing it because it’s a fad.”

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