Many employees and businesses impacted by Governor Mike DeWine’s decision to close Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons indefinitely are eligible for certain aid geared toward helping them offset resulting financial hardship they may experience as public health officials work to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Such aid is being offered in the form of enhanced unemployment benefits for Ohioans and a one-time liquor buyback program for impacted bars and restaurants. The state also has indicated it is planning to apply for aid through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The information is available on the State of Ohio’s website and also can be found listed below:
JOB SEARCH PORTAL:
The State of Ohio has created a statewide job search portal to help employees left out of work as a result of the COVID-19 situation. That portal is available here: https://jobsearch.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/jobsearch/
ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT AID FOR OHIOANS:
The governor issued an executive order on March 16, granting the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal 1-week waiting period. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services published a list of frequently asked questions to clarify qualifications for expanded unemployment insurance benefits.
This order will also 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.
ONE-TIME LIQUOR BUYBACK:
The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons.
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.
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS:
This program provides low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency.
Non-profit organizations in Ohio will also be eligible for low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
In order to complete the state’s application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.
For updates and information about efforts to contain the virus nationally and at the state and county levels, consult the links below:
A call center set up by the Ohio Department of Health is available where you can find answers to your questions about COVID-19 from licensed nurses and infectious disease experts seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).