Coronavirus

Additional Resources:

      • PHONE: For questions you have about COVID-19, please call 1 (833) 4-ASK-ODH from the hours of 9 am -8 pm or use the local Hancock County Resource Call Center by calling 419-425-9999 from the hours of 9 am – 8 pm Monday through Friday.
      • SOCIAL MEDIA: @GovMikeDeWine, @LtGovHusted and @OHDeptofHealth
      • DAILY UPDATES: Governor DeWine is holding daily press briefings at 2:00 p.m. to deliver the most recent updates as well as give updated guidance for the state’s response. These press events are carried live at www.OhioChannel.org.

Vaccination Information

Governor DeWine announced Phases 1A and 1B of Ohio’s vaccine distribution plan. Because the availability of the vaccine remains limited in Ohio and across the country, Ohio is taking a phased approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable citizens, those in the healthcare field, and school staff members.

  • Phase 1A, which is currently underway, includes approximately 1 million Ohioans.
  • Phase 1B focuses largely on those who are 65 and older. Those in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87 percent of Ohioans who have died from the virus. Phase 1B also includes school teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get Ohio’s children back to school as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people.

Details of future phases of the vaccination plan will be announced as Phases 1A and 1B progress and as Ohio receives vaccines for the future phases. Ohio is currently receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines each week, although that number could increase if more vaccines are approved for administration.

U.S. Chamber COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ

As you know, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. As states begin to prioritize, allocate, and distribute the first doses, the U.S. Chamber has created a new COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ one-pager to answer the common questions being asked by Americans—and especially business leaders.

Beware of COVID-19 Related Scams

Now that the first COVID-19 vaccines are arriving in medical centers near all of us, the Better Business Bureau warns that the scammers aren’t far behind! As we all know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  has recommended that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities will receive the first available doses. Vaccines will be distributed to federal- and state-approved locations and each state has developed its own protocols for who gets access to the vaccines next.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid a vaccine-related scam:

      • You likely will not need to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine during this public health emergency.
      • You can’t pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
      • You can’t pay to get early access to the vaccine.
      • No one from a vaccine distribution site or health care payer, like a private insurance company, will call you asking for your Social Security number or your credit card or bank account information to sign you up to get the vaccine.
      • Beware of providers offering other products, treatments, or medicines to prevent the virus. Check with your health care provider before paying for or receiving any COVID-19-related treatment.

If you get a call, text, email — or even someone knocking on your door — claiming they can get you early access to the vaccine, STOP. That’s a scam. Don’t pay for a promise of vaccine access or share personal information. Instead, report it to your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Employee & Small Business Support

Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans

Click here to view the U.S. Chamber’s new Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans with the latest information and answers to FAQs about the changes that have been made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program as part of the end-of-year pandemic relief package Congress has passed.

501(c)(6) Eligibility in Pandemic Relief Package Expansion of PPP

Click here to view the U.S. Chamber’s summary of the extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the Pandemic Relief Package as it pertains to the eligibility of 501(c)(6) organizations.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that the administration, in partnership with the General Assembly, is developing a package of more than $419.5 million CARES Act funding to help Ohioans. This package includes funding for small businesses, restaurants and bars, hospitals, higher education, arts, nonprofits, and low-income Ohioans impacted financially by the pandemic.

The package includes $125 million in CARES Act funding to provide grants to small businesses with no more than 25 employees. The grant funding will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including mortgage or rent payments; utility payments; salaries, wages, or compensation for employees and contractors; business supplies or equipment; and other costs. The application for the Small Business Relief Program will be available November 2, 2020 at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

Read more about the Small Business Relief Grant.

Home Relief Grants

The state of Ohio will allocate $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund from the CARES Act to 47 Community Action Agencies to help Ohioans that have experienced economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Community Action Agency will receive a portion of the funding based on their Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) CARES Act allocation. Learn more about the Home Relief Grants.

Bar/Restaurant Owner Support

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is designed to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders. This $37.5 million fund will help those licensees significantly impacted by COVID-19 and limited in the full use of their liquor permit. Funding for the program is from the CARES Act. Learn more about the Bar and Restaraunt Assistance Fund.

Jobs Ohio and the Ohio Department of Commerce will offer a one-time rebate to bars and restaurants to defray the cost of restocking high-proof spirituous liquor. For more information visit: visit Wholesale.OHLQ.com.

HB 606

Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill (HB) 606. Under HB 606, all Ohio employers are granted qualified immunity from lawsuits alleging their action or inaction exposed someone to COVID-19. You can read a full summary of the bill here.

To explain the bill to employers, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has created this graphic.

Small Business Association Disaster Guidance

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. Information on Small Business Disaster Guidance can be found here.

Impacted Employee Support

Your employees may be affected by the temporary restrictions put in place. The Governor’s office also announced several initiatives to help:

      • They are broadening current state policy to clarify that individuals that are quarantined by a health professional or by their employer are considered to be unemployed and will not be subject to requirements to actively seek work during the period of emergency.
      • This also applies to companies that determine it is necessary to temporarily shut down operations due to the current emergency.
      • Ohio currently has a 1-week waiting period before an individual can receive unemployment. In order to expedite the payments to impacted Ohioans, they are waiving the waiting week so that workers eligible for unemployment benefits will receive them for the first week of unemployment.

The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services also issued a FAQ page that you can use to share with affected employees if they need to access services.

Unemployment

Substantial but temporary changes have been made to Ohio’s Unemployment Comp System:

      • Allows for individuals ordered to self-quarantine by a medical professional or their employer to be eligible for unemployment compensation
      • Eliminates the one-week waiting period and work search requirements
      • Holds harmless an employer’s experience rating due to layoffs resulting from the coronavirus
      • Waives employer penalties for late reporting and payment of next quarter’s unemployment compensation contributions.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted has announced the development of a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during this crisis. Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch

Ohioans who are unemployed as a result of COVID-19 but who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin pre-registering for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers. To pre-register for PUA benefits, Ohioans should visit unemployment.ohio.gov and click on “Get Started Now.”

SharedWork Ohio Program

Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act

The U.S. Department of Labor has compliance assistance materials to help workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of WARN. The employer guide provides a brief overview of the WARN Act provisions and answers to frequently asked questions about employer responsibilities and requirements. View the guide.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) has the SharedWork Ohio Program, a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity.

Ohio employers may apply if they meet the following criteria:

      • Have at least two affected employees that do not work on a seasonal, temporary or intermittent basis
      • Are current on all Ohio unemployment insurance reporting, contributions, reimbursements, interest and penalties due
      • Agree to the program requirements

More information on SharedWork Ohio, including employer FAQ, can be found on their website.

Workers’ Compensation

Blog Post: Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Payroll Reporting Guidelines

The Ohio BWC is waiving several requirements for employers participating in programs that lower their premiums as a reward for creating safer workplaces and doing BWC business online and on time.

BWC is waiving all safety education and training requirements for this policy year — July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for private employers; calendar year 2019 for public employers — for participants in the following programs:

      •  Drug Free Safety Program.
      •  EM Cap Program.
      •  Grow Ohio.
      •  Industry Specific Safety Program.
      •  One Claim Program.
      •  Policy Activity Rebate Program.

Discounts offered through these programs will be applied automatically. Additionally, the annual report deadline submission for Drug Free Safety Program participants has been extended to June 1, 2020.

Additionally, unpaid insurance premium installment amounts due for March, April, and May for the current policy year can be deferred until June 1, 2020.  BWC will consider the issue further as we approach June 1, 2020.

BWC will not refund amounts to employers who have already paid some or all of their premiums that were scheduled to be paid during those months. Employers that wish to submit payments for March, April, and May are free to do

For more on COVID-19 as it relates to BWC, visit this Frequently Asked Questions page. For the latest on COVID-19, visit the Ohio Department of Health website coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Tax Payment Deadline Extension

Tax payment relief details can be found on the IRS info page.

News

Leveraging the Power of a Women’s Wisdom Circle

The Chamber will host a virtual Women’s Mentoring Connections Panel

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What We Learned from 2020 – Lunch and Learn

The Chamber is hosting a virtual Lunch & Learn session

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Fresh Brewed Business: Economic Development Forecast with Tim Mayle

The Chamber will host Fresh Brewed Business on Tuesday, January 5th

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Virtual Small Business Workshop: The Small Business Resource Center

The Chamber will facilitate a virtual Small Business Workshop outlining

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