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Posted on: March 27, 2020

Businesses: Our Economic Development Department is here to help

The City of Westlake is committed to helping our local businesses find the resources they need to navigate the difficult circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent directives from state and federal officials, including Governor Mike DeWine’s Stay-at-Home Order and guidance on essential businesses that are advised to remain operational.


Economic Development Manager Michelle Boczek is available to advise business owners of emergency loans available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other resources that could make a significant difference for businesses that have been disrupted during this difficult time.


Contact For Assistance: If you have questions, leave Ms. Boczek a message at 440-617-4313 with information about your business and how she may assist you.


To find useful information for businesses on the Economic Development webpage, CLICK HERE. Also, find the most complete and up-to-date information about resources available for Ohio businesses, individuals, and families here: BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov. See below for some examples:

 

BUSINESSES


Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Payment Deferral

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) system is deferring insurance premium installment payments for March, April and May until June 1, 2020. For more information, visit bwc.ohio.gov.


Health Insurance Premium Grace Period

All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments for up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured.


SharedWork Ohio

SharedWork Ohio allows business owners to cut employee pay between 10 percent and 50 percent and provides a portion of the benefit the employee would receive through unemployment to that employee. This program is designed to allow employers to reduce payroll costs during times of business decline, without having to lay off employees. For more information, visit jfs.ohio.gov.


Transportation of Oversized Loads

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has modified the process for haulers carrying heavy loads of essential goods. Generally, the state requires haulers with loads classified as “oversized” to seek advanced permission from ODOT before they are permitted to travel in and through the state. Haulers carrying essential goods can download and print the permit at Transportation.Ohio.gov. The federal government has also cut red tape around obtaining or renewing Commercial Drivers’ Licenses and other licenses to prevent interruption of essential shipping. The Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Public Utilities Commission have adjusted their enforcement practices to avoid confusion.


Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan 

Ohio small businesses and nonprofits are now eligible to apply for up to a $2 million, low-interest loan through the SBA. Apply online at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance, which is recommended, or call (800) 659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.


INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES


Utility Assistance

The Ohio Development Services Agency has secured approval from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to extend the Winter Crisis Program from March 31, 2020, to May 1, 2020, and to extend the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) from March 31, 2020, to June 1, 2020. The Winter Crisis Program helps income eligible Ohioans that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected, or have less than a 25 percent supply of bulk fuel in their tank maintain their utility service. The HEAP provides eligible Ohioans assistance with their home energy bills through a one-time benefit applied directly to their utility bill or bulk fuel bill.


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio also has also extended its winter reconnect order through May 1, 2020, which helps Ohioans reconnect or maintain electric and natural gas service during the heating season.


For customers enrolling in the Winter Crisis Program or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP) for the first time, you are NOT required to have a face-to-face appointment at this time. Your local Energy Assistance Provider will complete your application during a phone appointment


Visit energyhelp.ohio.gov to apply for assistance or to find contact information for your local Energy Assistance Provider.


Unemployment Compensation

Individuals who are quarantined during the emergency period are considered to be unemployed. This also applies to companies that determine they need to temporarily shut down. To apply for benefits, visit unemployment.ohio.gov anytime day or night, or call 1-877-644-6562 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.