Category

COVID-19 Local Updates

03.04.2021 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates
Good evening.
In Governor DeWine’s address this evening, he laid out a path to Ohio’s complete reopening. Currently, Ohio stands at 179 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. At such time that Ohio’s case count hits 50 cases (or less) per 100,000 for a period of two weeks, all health orders will be rescinded.
The revised orders released by the Ohio Department of Health are linked below.
If you are interested in helping our Fayette County Health Department with their vaccine clinics, please read the statement below provided to us by Melissa Havens, Fayette County EMA. You do not need to be medically trained, as they have many jobs available.
Can your business help at vaccination clinics?
As Johnson & Johnson has just received approval for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, more vaccine will be making their way into Fayette County. With this additional vaccine, more clinics will be held, and the sizes of those clinics will increase. Additional staff will be needed to assist in making these clinics run smoothly. If you think your business could help with additional staff, please let us know. The current need is for staff to work the registration tables as residents and community members come in to sign in. These clinics are being held Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the occasional Thursday, during the day. Days and times are not set in stone. Evening clinics could be scheduled at some point as well. If you have anyone to offer as a volunteer, we could accept them for a whole day, or just ½ day if that is all they are available. This could be for only 1 week, or it could be for the foreseeable future. Whatever works for you, we will take what we can get based on our needs.
Please contact Melissa Havens at the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency for further information at Melissa.havens@fayette-co-oh.com or 740-335-8264.
Enjoy your evening,
Julie

Webinar with Senator Brown

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News No Comments
February 23, 2021
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS / VENUE OPERATORS: Join Senator Brown and the Small Business Administration for a live webinar this Friday at 1:30 PM on federal relief programs that can support your small business.
Learn about PPP, EIDL, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, SBA Debt Relief – with live questions and answers.
A reservation is required for this session and can be made by clicking THIS LINK.

02.01.2021 Budget Reveal, Grant Opportunity & More!

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
February 1, 2021
Welcome, February!
Many of you have reached out regarding the grant opportunity I forwarded on Saturday. Below is the information if you happen to have missed it.
LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grants program. The latest application round is now open. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located.
All potential applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ and grant information before applying. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the relief funding program at this time but may be eligible for later rounds of funding.
Additional information can be located by clicking here:
Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted announced the 2022-2023 Ohio Budget today. Those interested will be able to read the budget in its entirety later this afternoon at www.budget.ohio.gov The text below is the press release just received from their office:
Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted Unveil Plan of More than $1 Billion Targeted to Strengthen and Grow Ohio Communities and Businesses
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today unveiled their Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2022 to 2023, which includes an aggressive plan to spur Ohio’s continued recovery by investing in communities, people, and businesses. Through the Investing In Ohio Initiative, the Executive Budget launches a strategic effort to invest more than $1 billion toward accelerating economic growth and ensuring economic vitality.
“We have a unique opportunity to make significant investments that will spur growth and economic renewal across the state,” said Governor DeWine. “The Investing In Ohio Initiative supports both our people and our economy as we continue to prepare for the future and showcase Ohio as the premier place to live and work.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative within the proposed Executive Budget includes $460 million to support Ohio’s small businesses that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal includes:
  • Investing $200 million in grants for bars and restaurants;
  • Investing $150 million in grants for Small Business Relief Grant applicants, who previously applied and are qualified;
  • Investing $50 million in grants for lodging industry businesses;
  • Investing $40 million in grants for indoor entertainment venues;
  • And investing $20 million in grants for new businesses, many of whom were unqualified to receive previous funding.
“It is a responsible, balanced budget that invests in our health, educational and economic recovery from the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We are championing career training and in-demand industry credentials that will help tens of thousands more Ohioans a year earn the skills that will prepare them for quality, good paying jobs without the high cost of a college education.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative also includes a $70 million investment to upskill Ohio’s workforce. This funding works to ensure that businesses have access to the talent needed to be successful, while upskilling Ohioans who are looking to acquire in-demand, tech-focused credentials. The workforce investments also include targeted funding for economically distressed rural and urban parts of Ohio. The proposal includes:
  • Investing an additional $5 million for 5,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred program in fiscal year 2021;
  • Funding $50 million ($25 million in each fiscal year 2022 and 2023) for 40,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred program;
  • And investing $15 million for workforce efforts in economically distressed rural and urban communities.
Ohio’s communities have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Investing In Ohio Initiative includes a targeted investment of $200 million to support infrastructure projects that will attract new jobs and investment opportunities. Additionally, the budget makes a landmark investment towards broadband expansion by providing $250 million to help bridge the digital divide.
At the onset of the pandemic, Governor DeWine took swift action to control state spending through targeted revenue reductions, which along with increased funding from the federal government, limited the economic impact of the pandemic on the state budget. The Investing In Ohio Initiative targets one-time investments to the most hard-hit industries in the pandemic.
“As we enter the year 2021 and emerge from winter, the path of economic recovery continues to be directly tied to beating this global COVID-19 pandemic. Ohioans, our families, friends and neighbors must remain vigilant,” said OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks. “Through these shared priorities and fiscal prudence, Governor DeWine charts a course of genuine stewardship with a balanced budget and expert and leading eyes on the changing marketplace.”
The Investing In Ohio Initiative also includes a $50 million investment toward elevating Ohio’s standing on a national scale through a marketing campaign to promote the state as a world-class place to live, work, and learn. The initiative aims to showcase all that Ohio, and its people, have to offer, including its wide array of career opportunities, top-tier colleges and universities, premier destinations, and vibrant communities.
“This is our opportunity to tell people what we already know: Ohio is the best place to find your future- a family, a career, an education, and a place to call home,” said Governor DeWine. “We want to position Ohio as the place to be. After the pandemic proved that people could work anywhere, we want to convince them to live and work here.”
Governor DeWine’s proposed Executive Budget also invests in key administration initiatives, such as RecoveryOhio, Children’s Initiative, H2Ohio, workforce development, TechCred, and broadband.
The proposed Executive Budget “blue book,” including Governor DeWine’s full budget recommendations, and budget highlights, can be found on budget.ohio.gov.
Enjoy your afternoon,
Julie

01.30.21 GRANT OPPORTUNITY!

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
January 30, 2021
Good Saturday morning!
While this is short notice, it is worth forwarding! A new grant opportunity has surfaced that is available to small, rural communities only. I have reviewed the application process, and it appears quick and relatively easy. I am available this weekend via email or cell (740) 607-7733 should you have questions about the application process.
LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grants program. The latest application round is now open. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located.
All potential applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ and grant information before applying. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the relief funding program at this time but may be eligible for later rounds of funding.
Additional information can be located by clicking here:
Enjoy your weekend,
Julie

01.26.2021 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

January 26, 2021

Good afternoon.

Recently, Attorney General Dave Yost has asked Congress to protect hundreds of thousands of working Ohioans who may have had fraudulent unemployment claims filed in their names, shielding them from having to pay taxes on benefits that they never received.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is expected to send 1.7 million 1099-G forms this month to those whom ODJFS have a record of receiving unemployment benefits. However, it is anticipated that a significant amount of the 1099-Gs will likely go to Ohioans who did not file for or receive unemployment assistance.

“Construction workers, daycare providers, service industry workers – the backbone of this state – have worked hard throughout the pandemic and now the government is going to ask them to pay taxes on money they didn’t receive – it’s just not right,” Yost said.

Other states are reporting similar problems with fraudulent claims, which is why Yost is turning to Congress.

Yost believes there’s enough evidence of fraud to notify Ohio’s congressional delegation that it should suspend tax collection efforts and pause fees or interest from taxes owed on the claims until they are investigated.

He sent a letter to those members of Congress on Thursday asking for safe harbor provisions on behalf of Ohioans.

Yost is specifically asking Congress to consider:
• Exclude the amount from the income for the taxpayer in the given year until a final determination is made by the state unemployment compensation administrator that the amount is valid.

• Once an amount is determined to be valid, the IRS shall apply the amount to the tax year in which it was determined to be valid without any penalties or interest.

• If an amount certified to the IRS is determined to be invalid, the unemployment compensation administrator shall indicate to the IRS that the 1099-G was issued in error, and assist the taxpayer with any correction the taxpayer is required to make to modify their reported income to the IRS.

Any incidents of identity theft regarding unemployment benefits need to be reported to ODJFS. Ohioans can report those issues online at https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/.

If you or an employee has been the victim of this type of fraud and you need assistance sorting out the ‘to-do’ list, please call the office. Unfortunately, I know first hand what steps must be taken.


2 more days to apply for TechCred!
The seventh TechCred application period opened January 4th and closes on January 29th at 3:00 p.m.
TechCred helps businesses upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused credentials. Businesses can receive up to $2,000 for each tech-focused credential earned, up to $30,000 per employer each application period. Simply put, this is a great way to have your employees upskilled at no cost to you.
Since the program’s start, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.
Businesses can learn more and apply at TechCred.Ohio.gov. Please don’t let this credentialing period get away from you! Call the office, and I will walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Wishing you all a great Tuesday evening,
Julie

Paycheck Protection Program – UPDATE

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
Good Friday afternoon!
Below you will find a comprehensive explanation of the most current round of PPP loans. Please remember that while the portal for application is open, your personal lender may not have the information necessary to assist you at this time. Please be patient as they await direction and appropriate loan documents. This is a great time to gather your finances and read up on what will be expected of you throughout the loan application process.
If you received a PPP Loan during the first application period, the information below pertains to you and your business:
Second-draw PPP loans
One of the biggest changes with the new PPP is that Congress made funding available to businesses that had previously received a PPP loan. Borrowers are eligible for a second-draw PPP loan of up to $2 million, provided they have:
  • 300 or fewer employees.
  • Used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan on or before the expected date for the second PPP loan to be disbursed to the borrower. The IFR also clarifies that the borrower must have spent the full amount of the first PPP loan on eligible expenses.
  • Experienced a revenue reduction of 25% or more in all or part of 2020 compared with all or part of 2019. This is calculated by comparing gross receipts in any 2020 quarter with an applicable quarter in 2019, or, in a provision added in the IFR, a borrower that was in operation for all four quarters of 2019 can submit copies of its annual tax forms that show a reduction in annual receipts of 25% or greater in 2020 compared with 2019.
The Economic Aid Act did not provide a general definition of gross receipts for determining a borrower’s revenue reduction, so the new guidance makes the definition consistent with the definition of receipts in 13 C.F.R. Section 121.104 of SBA’s size regulations. Specifically, the IFR defines gross receipts to include all revenue in whatever form received or accrued (in accordance with the entity’s accounting method) from whatever source, including from the sales of products or services, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, fees, or commissions, reduced by returns and allowances. Forgiven first-draw PPP loans are not included in the 2020 gross receipts.
First-time applicants:
The Economic Aid Act makes first-draw PPP loans available to borrowers that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, and come from one of the following groups:
  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Not-for-profits, including churches.
  • Accommodation and food services operations (those with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes starting with 72) with fewer than 500 employees per physical location.
  • Sec. 501(c)(6) business leagues, such as chambers of commerce, visitors’ bureaus, etc., and “destination marketing organizations” that have 300 or fewer employees and do not receive more than 15% of receipts from lobbying. The lobbying activities must comprise no more than 15% of the organization’s total activities and have cost no more than $1 million during the most recent tax year that ended prior to Feb. 15. 2020. Sports leagues are not eligible.
  • News organizations that are majority-owned or controlled by an NAICS code 511110 or 5151 business or not-for-profit public broadcasting entities with a trade or business under NAICS code 511110 or 5151. The size limit for this category is no more than 500 employees per location.
PPP applicants must submit documentation sufficient to establish eligibility and to demonstrate the qualifying payroll amount, which may include, as applicable, payroll records; payroll tax filings; Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, or Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming; income and expenses from a sole proprietorship; or bank records.
Eligible costs
PPP borrowers can have their first- and second-draw loans forgiven if the funds are used on eligible costs. As with the first round of the PPP, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in the revised PPP include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. In addition, the following costs are now eligible:
  • Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines.
  • Covered property damage costs related to property damage and vandalism or looting due to public disturbances in 2020 that were not covered by insurance or other compensation.
  • Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations.
  • Covered operating expenditures, which refer to payments for any business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations; product or service delivery; the processing, payment, or tracking of payroll expenses; human resources; sales and billing functions; or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records, and expenses.
To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll over a covered period between eight or 24 weeks.
Simplified forgiveness
Borrowers that receive a PPP loan of $150,000 or less shall receive forgiveness if the borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA has yet to create the simplified application form but must do so by Jan. 20. The form may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.
To apply, CLICK HERE then choose the appropriate option – PPP First Draw or PPP Second Draw.
Again, we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Many have called with questions and we are happy to help you navigate. I will do my best to answer your questions or provide you with the necessary resources.
Monday, January 8th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and as such, many of our businesses will be closed in observation. Enjoy your weekend!
Julie

Join us as we help Fayette County ‘Focus Forward’

By COVID-19 Local Updates, News
During troubling times, Fayette County comes together. We support, encourage, and believe in each other. Today is no different.
Many of our small businesses have been left behind during this pandemic as they did not meet the criteria for various federal grants and loans. Through the generosity of Tony’s Welding and Fabrication and Quali-Tee Designs, we have begun a small business grant fund. These grants are available to any Fayette County Chamber member with 10 or fewer employees.
To further fund the grant, we are offering for sale, several different t-shirts, travel mugs, and even a reusable shopping tote! These items are available for purchase by following THIS LINK. 100% of proceeds will be split evenly amongst the participating members.
To participate and receive grant dollars, we ask the following:
  • You are a member in good standing prior to June 3, 2020
  • Your payroll does not exceed ten individuals
  • Your business was adversely affected by the Stay at Home Order
  • You share our webstore link on your business Facebook page.
Your participation and promotion of this event is vital to its success! Please call the chamber office to convey your wish to participate.It is really that easy!
Our store closes on June 21st. Make sure to order your items before time is up! While you will receive a quality item to enjoy yourself or give as a gift, you will also be lending a hand to our small business members. Let’s show them how much we appreciate what they bring to our community!
If you have any questions or if, as a small business owner, you would like to receive a grant, please give the office a call at 740.335.0761.
Thank you for joining us as we focus on moving Fayette County forward!
Julie Bolender