March 17, 2020
We are going through an unprecedented disruption together. But we have been tested before in different ways, and always emerge stronger – and we have no doubt this will prove true once again.
The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and various other business organizations commends the Governor for making the difficult decisions to protect Ohio residents from the COVID 19 virus.
We realize that these decisions will impact our businesses and the residents of our community and throughout the State of Ohio. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce President CEO Andrew E. Doehrel stated “We know this difficult decision was made in consultation with leading health experts, including Dr. Amy Acton, who are recommending actions to keep Ohioans safe during this unprecedented time. We support Governor DeWine’s decision because we believe taking steps now to confront the coronavirus will ultimately benefit our state by limiting the spread of the disease and enable Ohio to get back to normal sooner”.
We are writing today with some important updates on things that have been announced over the last few days:
Small Business Support
The President announced loans through the Small Business Administration on Thursday evening. The Lt. Governor also talked about those in Sunday’s State press conference. Here is a great resource page that gives some highlights on this program.
Here in Ohio, the Development Services Agency is helping to take the lead and they have asked that any small business owners who have been affected please send your contact information to the following email address: BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov and they will follow up with you.
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 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.
These points were taken from the Governor’s Twitter page, but as soon as more detail is available, I will share it with you.
Unemployment & Businesses
The Governor also announced some relief for businesses regarding unemployment:
· Because they do not want to penalize individual employers for the impact of this outbreak by increasing future taxes, the costs of these additional benefits will be mutualized.
· ODJFS will also waive employer penalties for late reporting and payments for the next quarter to assist employers impacted by a lack of staff availability.
*We will also share more information on these, when available.
Bar/Restaurant Owner Support
The Lt. Governor announced a temporary buy-back of high proof liquor products purchased within the last 30 days. The goal of this is to ease cash flow for bar/restaurant owners. Here is a release by the Department of Commerce that shares more. It should be returned to the Agency where it was purchased. If you have questions you may call 1-877-812-0013 or email email@example.com
Additionally, Congress acted late last week to pass legislation to support businesses and families affected by the disruption. Here is a great overview by the US Chamber which breaks down what is included.
How do you respond?
The Governor strongly urged business leaders today to consider your response to this urgent situation. Can your employees work remotely? How many? They issued the strongest call yet to have businesses encourage that. I understand that many businesses cannot do that. If that is your case, what steps can you take to ensure the maximum protection of your teams and customers, and ultimately our community? There are no easy answers here.
If you are in the service industry please send us your altered carry out/take out operations so we can assist in publicizing them to the community.
Effective March 17, 2020, the Center for Business Services building will not be open to the public. the LIMA/ALLEN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, ALLEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP, GREATER LIMA REGION, INC, DOWNTOWN LIMA, INC., ACTIVATE ALLEN COUNTY AND ALLEN LIMA LEADERSHIP has limited the chamber building to only essential meetings of 10 or less people. most of our meetings will be held by conference calls.
Please note all chamber events have been canceled until we feel it is safe to hold them again. We have rescheduled the Awards Gala event for June of 2020 unless it will still be unsafe to hold the event.
As always, our team is working behind the scenes to figure out how we can pivot and better serve you during this time. We are interested in hearing from you, how you’re being affected, and especially any ideas that you may have to help!
Let’s rally, keep families safe and continue to support each other!
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions at cell-419-234-2600 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jed E. Metzger