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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County Commission To Create COVID-19 Economic Recovery & Relief Task Force

coronavirus closure
Tony Dejak
a man walks past a closed business in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Commissioner Alicia Reece proposed the legislation in order to keep up with Ohio's 87 other counties.

The Hamilton County Commission has passed a resolution to create the county's COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Relief Task Force. The task force aims to provide a rapid response to economic challenges facing county residents and businesses.

Commission Vice President Alicia Reece said she wants the county to be able to move as quickly as possible when dealing with the pandemic.

"One of the things that we do want to do also is be aggressive to say 'Hey, we know that we've got to compete with 87 other counties,' " Reece said. "We've got to compete with other states, other cities. We're ready to go, we're ready to fight, we're ready to try to get as much as we can."

The task force will consist of two "phases": Phase 1 is the COVID-19 Economic Recovery & Relief Task Force Internal Action Team which will focus on immediate relief for citizens and businesses. Phase 2 is the Economic Recovery & Relief Task Force External Team, which will focus on rebuilding the economy and investing in the future.

Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas said she supports the resolution because people are still in need.

"People still need to get their needs met, and if we can think of another way, a creative way, to allow that to happen, that's what we need to do," Dumas said.

The Board of County Commissioners will discuss appointing members of an external task force to advise the board on rebuilding the economy at a later date.

Reese announced her intentions to create the task force in January.

Read the full resolution below.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.