This article was updated on March 30, 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 the COVID-19 pandemic. Schneider Downs can assist your organization with any of these programs.
State Programs and Information
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
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.
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
March 27, 2020
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.
Funding Opportunities at The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation has activated its Emergency Response Fund. The fund assists nonprofits who are responding to COVID-19 and experiencing financial challenges as a result of that response. Nonprofits can apply at the following website:
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.
Abbott has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for its molecular test for the identification of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The company is deploying 150,000 laboratory tests immediately. Testings have already been sent to hospital and academic medical center labs in 18 states including Illinois, California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington. Abbott is scaling up production at its U.S. manufacturing location to reach capacity for one million tests per week by end of March. To read more about what Abbott Labs is doing, click here.
AEP & the American Electric Power Foundation
AEP has temporarily suspended all service disconnections for nonpayment. If a customer is having difficulty paying their bill, they should contact AEP by phone, Facebook or Twitter to discuss payment options.
The American Electric Power Foundation is donating $1.5 million in emergency funds, including approximately $500,000 in Ohio, to support basic human needs and help address the hardships faced by customers and communities.
Anheuser Busch (Ambev SA) is using one of its breweries to produce a half a million bottles of hand sanitizer that will be used in public hospitals.
Consistent with FCC Chairman Pai's "Keep American's Connected Pledge," AT&T is supporting customers for the next 60 days by:
Not terminating the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by COVID-19;
Waiving any late payment fees that any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer may incur due to economic hardship related to COVID-19; and
Keeping their public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them.
For the next 60 days, Verizon will not terminate the service and will waive any late payment fees of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bill due to COVID-19
Aunt Flow has switched their manufacturing line over to produce FDA approved masks. Those needing masks can contact the company at [email protected] or 562-320-8250 ext. 102.
Charter Communications/Spectrum plans to offer free internet to students without access as COVID-19 forces some schools to switch to online learning. Beginning March 16, the company commits to offering free internet for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who don't already have a Spectrum subscription.
The company also plans to partner with school districts to ensure communities are aware of the tools to help students learn remotely. It is also opening Wi-Fi hotspots for public use.
To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395, or find information here.
Columbia Gas has announced it will voluntarily suspend all shutoffs due to nonpayment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes all residential, commercial and industrial customers and will remain in effect until further notice. In addition, Columbia Gas will offer its most flexible payment plans to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19, and will suspend late payment charges until May 1. More information is available here.
CVS is hiring thousands of people across the U.S. from retail associates to pharmacy technicians. To find available positions and additional information on hiring, click here.
For customers, CVS has implemented several new programs including waiving the fee to have prescriptions delivered. They're also working with insurers to waive early refill limits. To learn more about what CVS is doing during the pandemic, click here.
Facebook has announced the creation of a $100 million grant program to help 30,000 small businesses around the world. This includes cash grants and ad credits. More information can be found here.
GE Healthcare and Ford Motor Company will work together to scale the production of ventilators, arming clinicians with medical equipment important in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Through this collaboration, Ford will provide its technical and production expertise with the goal of manufacturing a simplified design of GE Healthcare's existing ventilator. This new system would be built specifically to address urgent needs during the pandemic, equipped with the essential functions required to safely treat COVID-19 patients. More information on what GE Healthcare is doing during the pandemic can be found here.
Read about how GE employees and retirees have come together to help produce much-needed ventilators here.
Marathon Petroleum has donated over 100,000 N-95 masks to Ohio hospitals.
The Nationwide Foundation is donating a total of $5 million to help and support charities during the coronavirus pandemic. The foundation said it's giving $1 million each in national response grants to the American Red Cross, Feeding America and the United Way. Grants worth a total of $2 million will be given to communities where Nationwide companies do business.
The foundation also donated medical supplies including masks and surgical gloves to Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio Health in Columbus, and Mercy One and UnityPoint in Des Moines, Iowa.
Red Roof Inn
Red Roof Inn understands the difficulty of this uncertain time especially for university and continuing education students who were suddenly displaced as a result of campuses closing due to CDC protocols in response to COVID-19. College students displaced because of their schools' closure can receive 30% off a hotel stay through May 31, 2020. Those impacted can make reservations at redroof.com and use VP+/ Promo Code 627535 or call 800-733-7663 and ask for the student Support Program Special Discount.
The Columbus-based international fitness manufacturer has added production of medical supplies and equipment to their expansive line of fitness equipment. They are currently sewing masks and surgical gowns and are manufacturing medical equipment. Rogue Fitness is currently hiring 100 people at their Columbus headquarters to keep up with these new products. For job listings, click here.
If you need assistance with any of these programs, please reach out to any of your contacts at Schneider Downs or contact Gene Logan ([email protected]) or Andrea Pfaadt ([email protected]) directly.
Please see the following article for a summary of federal and Pennsylvania specific programs:
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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.