Dear Inflatable Operators and Friends,
As all of you are aware the COVID-19 virus and the governments reaction has put the entire country in a precarious position. We have all done what we can to abide by the rules and keep ourselves and our customer safe while trying to do what little business we can in hopes of coming out whole on the other side.
No person, business or government is immune to what has happened and governor DeWine has announced $775 million in budget cuts. As a result of the Ohio Department of Agriculture(ODA) has furloughed all employees of the Ride Safety Division, with the exception of one administrative position, and as of 5/22/2020 will no longer be operating.
Will this be a permanent shutdown of that division? We don’t think so. We know that the inflatable industry can still safely and affordably provide FUN to your events without requiring inceptions of equipment set up in YOUR backyard. We have also outlined safety recommendations to continue operations and retain revenue to Ohio government.
The amusement parks and the hard ride operators would like to get the department back up and running so they can open. While we agree that things need to open back up, we DO NOT agree that inflatables should be part of the same operating group.
Inflatable inspection and permit fees have long been the primary source of revenue for the department and fixed parks and larger mechanical amusements do not pay an equal amount based on the labor and time of inspection. We have subsidized the amusement parks and these large operators for a long time. Large coaster parks enjoy the benefit of less fees while many operators pay $5000, $10,000, $30,000 or more in fees annually.
There is an active push by the ODA to outsource the inspections to a private company. If we allow this to happen there is a good chance that your current fee structure will change and fees will go up AGAIN, and we want to ensure inflatable operators are not encumbered with a further increase of fees that continue to compound our cost of compliance.
OIOA is proposing a program similar to the Ride Safety Program in Pennsylvania that allows for self-inspection, promotes education of operators within the industry, and proven results making compliance more affordable but effective in achieving safety.
Highlights for the proposed regulations are below:
State of Ohio still will receive licensing fees for inflatable amusement companies and employees are tested
Operators inspect and certify their own equipment.
Operators must abide by all ASTM standards.
The operators are required to take mandatory Ride Safety training (usually 2 – 3 days every 2 years), administered by a private organization and much less expensive than Ohio's current fee structure.
The Pennsylvania program currently has the testing fee established at $50 per person.
State of Ohio would maintain oversight and audit through physical inspection, compliance, and enforcement.
Companies are still required to submit their itineraries and certificates of liability Insurance per licensing regulations
We want to continue to provide the State in oversite and work together for a safe affordable program..
Now is not the time to sit and discuss this among ourselves.
We need everyone to do their part now. The greater our voice the better chance we have of producing meaningful results. It is important that, now more than ever, we all get together to ensure our survival. Please help us put this project in motion.
What can you do to help?
Reach out to your state representatives by writing a letter and proposing the suggestions we are outlingin ASAP. Let your friends and neighbors know what we are proposing and how it affects all of us. Let your customers know what we are proposing as this reflects best pricing and safety for them!
Explain to everyone that if we are essential to their events and want to provide the best value and safety for FUN and many in this industry may not be here in 2021.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also reach out to your representatives as soon as possible:
Look them up by your address at: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/district-maps
A complete list is available at: https://mcusercontent.com/…/Ohio_House_and_Senate_Contact_L…
The board of OIOA
Kevin Wieging – President