This article was updated on April 10, 2020. Updates to this article will be made as new information becomes available.
Schneider Downs continues to track the evolving landscape of financial programs offered to small businesses disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic (“COVID-19”). The following are some of the many resources available for impacted small businesses in Ohio due to COVID-19. Schneider Downs can assist your organization with any of these programs.
The following are some of the many COVID-19 resources available for impacted small businesses in the Central Ohio area.
State of Ohio Programs and Information
The Ohio Development Services Agency has created an Office of Small Business Relief
The Ohio Development Services Agency has created an Office of Small Business Relief to help coordinate and find new support to help employers survive the impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This department can help navigate applying for disaster loans or stimulus funds, understanding regulations and accessing Small Business Development Centers and other forms of assistance. The website can be found here:
Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis.
Both essential businesses and current job seekers can visit Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch to post and search. The site features a highly-streamlined interface with only two main links – one for essential businesses, and one for job seekers. Applicants can search through jobs in their area, their region, or the entire state. The website can be found here:
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will defer business premiums for March, April and May 2020. While payments are deferred until June 1, 2020, the state could reassess before then. FAQs from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation can be found here:
The Superintendent of Insurance has issued the following requirement of insurers:
Employee Eligibility – Insurers must permit employers to continue covering employees under group policies even if the employee would become ineligible due to a decrease in hours worked per week.
Grace Period for Premiums – All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring payments without interest for up to 60 days from each original premium due date.
Continuation Coverage – For employers with 20 or more employees, as long as one person is actively employed, eligible employees can continue coverage under COBRA. For employers with less than 20 employees and at least one active employee, eligible employees may elect to continue coverage for up to 12 months.
Special Enrollment – Employees who lose coverage are eligible for a special enrollment period and premium subsidies may be available.
The Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule which allows restaurants with liquor licenses, that are still offering carry-out meals, to also be permitted to sell and deliver alcohol, including high-proof liquor in limited quantity, for off-premises consumption. Under the rule, patrons can purchase no more than two drinks per meal. All drinks must be closed and remain closed during transport as per the open container law cited in ORC 4301.01(B)(6). Drinks cannot contain more than two ounces of spirituous liquor per container.
Breweries can also now sell beer and wine that are not their own without a food purchase, but food purchase is required for the sale of high-proof liquor.
This rule will remain in effect for up to 120 days unless rescinded by the Liquor Control Commission, whichever occurs first.
Ohio Department of Commerce – One-Time Liquor Buyback
Bars and restaurants can return unopened, high-proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This is also available to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. Instructions can be found here:
The Ohio Department of Transportation is modifying the permitting process for haulers carrying heavy loads of essential goods to waive a requirement for advanced permission. This will allow more haulers to exceed certain weight and size restrictions for loads of items such as food, non- alcoholic beverages, medical supplies and cleaning products. For information, and to download the permit, visit transportation.ohio.gov.
Tolling of Deadlines for Mechanics' Liens Included in Ohio Coronavirus Relief Bill
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Ohio General Assembly passed Am. Sub. H.B. 197 (“H.B. 197”), which provides measures for emergency relief to families, schools, businesses and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in that relief is a mandatory tolling of various criminal, civil and administrative deadlines that will impact both active litigants, as well as essential businesses that are continuing to operate during these uncertain times. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the bill into law on March 27, 2020.
Of particular importance for the construction industry, H.B. 197 will toll the time period for recording and serving mechanics’ liens pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 1311. Notably, Section 22 of H.B. 197 includes a catchall provision that tolls any other criminal, civil, or administrative time limitation or deadline under the Revised Code.” Since the time periods for filing of mechanics’ liens are strict requirements set forth in the Ohio Revised Code (e.g., R.C. 1311, et seq.), this enactment will directly impact the deadlines for both recording and serving the affidavits for mechanics’ liens and other related documents, such as notices of commencement, notices of furnishing and notices to commence suit. Accordingly, it is important for anyone involved in the construction industry to be mindful of these issues, including, but not limited to, owners, developers, contractors, vendors, suppliers and laborers.
TOLLING APPLIES ONLY DURING THE “EMERGENCY PERIOD”
Importantly, the tolling of these statutory deadlines applies only to deadlines that fall between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020. This time period corresponds to the date of Governor DeWine’s declaration of a state of emergency in Ohio due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tolling will expire on the date that Governor DeWine rescinds the emergency order or July 30, 2020, whichever is sooner. Unless further legislative action is taken to extend this protection, the tolling period will end on July 30, 2020 at the latest – sooner if Governor DeWine lifts his state of emergency order before July 30, 2020.
The Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program provides unsecured cash loans up to $100,000 to U.S. Citizens nationwide. To review the program and start the pre-approval process, please visit the link below.
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The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].
Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.