Over the last few days, the State of Ohio has announced several initiatives aimed at helping Ohio’s many businesses and workers that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Below are details on three programs that may provide some relief for your commercial clients during this crisis. As this situation evolves, we anticipate more relief programs to be offered and will keep you updated so that you can help your clients navigate this difficult time.
Support for Small Businesses and Non-Profits
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the request sent Tuesday by Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted to allow small businesses and nonprofits in Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used by Ohio small business owners and non-profits to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Loan applications can be completed online at disasterloan.sba.gov or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955. Additionally, a checklist for businesses and employers is HERE.
Earlier this week Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted announced that anyone who is laid off as a direct result of COVID-19 is immediately eligible for benefits. This measure will give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work.
Yesterday, it was announced that 111,055 Ohioans have applied for unemployment to date. Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. The state continues to urge people to file using the website. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888-642-8203, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov. Workers with coronavirus-related claims can use the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications, but those who have already submitted claims do not need to add it.
One-Time Liquor Buyback for Bars and Restaurants
The Ohio Department of Commerce is offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants that have been forced to close. This will especially aid those establishments that stocked up on high proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1 (877) 812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.