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COVID-19 Local Updates

05.13.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.13.2020

Earlier this week, Stage Distribution closed their doors permanently. In conjunction with the Fayette County Department of Job and Family Services, we are compiling a list of employers that are currently seeking employees. If you would like to have your business and open positions added to a list that will be given to the displaced workers, please email julie@fayettecountyohio.com or lana.pavey@jfs.ohio.gov.

Additionally, our website receives quite a bit of traffic each month. We offer free ‘Help Wanted’ listings to all members. Take a look, and call the office if you would like to post your available positions.

Wishing you all a great Wednesday afternoon!
Julie

05.12.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.12.2020

Let the OPEN flags fly in front of our retail establishments! Today was opening day for Ohio’s retailers. While driving down Court Street, it was nice to see the familiar flags. Please remember, just because retail was permitted to open, does not mean that each retailer will be open today. Call ahead and be patient as they write their business-specific protocol in an effort to open safely.

Lt. Governor Husted announced that massage and tattoo parlors are permitted to open this Friday, May 15th, along with hair salons, day spas, barbershops, nail salons, etc. To read the state-mandated safe reopening guidelines, click HERE.

Beginning Friday, May 15th, restaurants can open for outdoor dining only. Again, we are asking for patrons to practice patience as these restaurants adjust their standard operations in an effort to bring you an enjoyable dining experience.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced that more than $250 million in SNAP benefits will be distributed to 850,000 students across the state as part of Ohio’s Pandemic EBT Plan.

Families will receive around $300 in the mail and do not need to apply for the funds.

The money is meant to help children who relied on free or reduced-price meal programs while school was in session.

We have received our complete ‘Supply Share’ order and are in the process of getting items distributed. We are grateful to the City of Washington Court House for their assistance with this much-needed program.

All sector-specific guidelines are linked below. As we navigate these uncharted waters, please reach out with any questions you may have.

Until tomorrow-enjoy the sunshine!

Julie

Responsible ReStart Guidelines

05.11.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.11.2020

Good afternoon!

I know many of you are as excited as I am to see those ‘OPEN’ signs hanging in our retail establishment windows tomorrow! I ask that as consumers, we remain vigilant with the actions that have kept us safe this far. While it is tempting to hug another customer or shop owner we haven’t seen in weeks; we must refrain. The most important thing at this very moment is to SHOP LOCAL. These business owners are our friends and neighbors, selling their items to our friends and neighbors and paying local taxes that support our community. My husband asked if I had a list of things I wanted to buy once the shops opened… I replied that I was ready to do my part to stimulate the Fayette County economy!

Last week, we provided a door hanger for business owners that state the precautions the business is taking and what the business expects from its customers. For your convenience, I am attaching the printable PDF again. I can’t wait to see you all – even if it is from an appropriate distance! We wish our retail businesses the best of luck!

Consumer, Retail & Other Services Guidelines

JobsOhio and the Department of Liquor Control announced today they will provide a $500 rebate for eligible bars and restaurants. ODL has provided a FAQ sheet with directions that I am attaching to this email.

One-Time Liquor Rebate Program FAQ

Restaurant and Bar Guidelines

As of tomorrow, 89% of Ohio’s economy will be open for business.  Many protocols are still being discussed and written as our leaders work to get Ohio 100% open. At this point, the governor and his team are not ready to provide guidelines for the reopening of day care centers. We will pass along that protocol once it is received.

Dr. Acton spoke today regarding the reporting of positive cases within your business. It is imperative that, even if the COVID-positive employee resides in another county, you contact the Fayette County Department of Public Health. I am attaching a letter from Deputy Health Commissioner, Leigh Cannon, for your review. If you have any questions, please contact us. Confirmed Case Notification

At this point, we have received the hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and the KN95 masks we ordered as a part of the Supply Share program. Per my phone conversation with the supplier this morning, he expects our delivery of dust masks to be made on Tuesday, May 12th. You will be receiving a phone call from us as soon as the delivery truck arrives!

Have a great Monday evening,

Julie

05.07.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.07.2020

A few weeks ago, I announced the launch of the Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance Sole Proprietor insurance plan. Quoting for this new program began on April 20, 2020 with coverage set to begin on July 1. The following is a message from SOCA.

Anthem and SOCA are very pleased to announce that the Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance (SOCA) Benefit Plan is making room for sole proprietors. They can enroll in the plan starting July 1. The broker community has already received instructions from Anthem regarding new case submission. Quoting starts April 20.

An eligible sole proprietor must:
• Meet underwriting requirements.
• Work more than 30 hours per week (documentation required).
• Submit a cover page for Form 1040 with Schedule C or Form 1040 with Schedules F and SE.

Regulations limit sole proprietor membership to 10 percent of total SOCA Benefit Plan membership. This is limited to sole proprietors. Presently this offer is not intended for non-profit organizations with one employee.

Please call our office for more information. This is a benefit that has been a long time in the making and just another benefit of your membership!


As we prepare to open our economy, I am attaching a few graphics designed to help your specific sector through this process. Looking ahead to the May 12, 2020 opening of RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS, we ask that you review THIS GRAPHIC for further guidance.

Things will look different as RESTAURANTS begin to reopen on May 15th. Patrons will be able to enjoy outdoor dining only from May 15th until May 21st, when indoor dining spaces will open. A complete list of rules and regulations restaurants will need to follow are attached HERE. As a sister to a member of the Governor’s restaurant committee, I was made to understand that each restaurant and bar may look a little different once open. What may work for one establishment will not work for another. Those with large party areas or dance floors will be permitted to utilize that space for dining, as there will be no large banquets, dances, etc. Likewise, tables must be separated to ensure proper distance. With the specified restrictions, the 50% of fire code rule will not always apply to restaurants. If you are a restaurant owner with questions, please call the office, and I will direct you to those that can better explain the rules and how they apply to your specific location.

It is time to get that hair cut! Salons, barbershops, tanning and nail salons along with day spas will be open to the public on May 15th. The rules and regulations for these businesses are also stringent. The complete list can be found by clicking THIS LINK.

I know I speak for many of you when I say I am more than ready for those little life moments that, in the past, I have taken for granted; A haircut, a meal with a friend, and a shopping day with my mom. My family and I look forward to supporting these many businesses in the coming weeks!

Until tomorrow, may we all distance socially and support locally!

Julie

05.05.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.05.2020

It comes as no surprise that our state will have to make serious budget cuts due to the current pandemic. In today’s press conference, Governor DeWine announced a $775 million reduction in the state’s budget in the next two months. At the end of April, Ohio’s fiscal YTD revenue was almost $768 below budget. Listed below are the reductions:

  • $210 million in Medicaid funding
  • $300 million in K-12 Foundation Payment
  • $110 million in higher education
  • $55 million in other educational expenses and line items
  • $100 million shared by other agencies

The governor is not holding a press conference tomorrow. I will have additional information to pass along regarding the budgetary items and additional programs aimed at safe workplace procedures.

Until then,
Julie

05.04.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.04.2020

Today is the like the first day of school for many of us. I was excited last night thinking about being back in the office and getting back to some sense of normalcy! We will truly celebrate when we are ALL back to work.

To help ease the burden on businesses as they begin to reopen, I am attaching a pdf that you can print and hang on your door. It states maximum occupancy as well as the preventive measures you are taking to ensure safety. Click here to view and print the notice.

The SBA is now accepting #COVID19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance applications for agricultural small businesses on a limited basis. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.

For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

To apply for the EIDL for your agricultural small business, click this link.

An important message regarding furloughed employees return to work from Alphrena D Prince, CPM | Chief UI Technical Services

COVID-19 Work Refusals: Information for Employers

During this unprecedented time, many employers have been forced to lay off employees, in response to stay-at-home orders, social distancing restrictions, lack of available work, and concerns about contracting COVID-19. In response, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provided expanded unemployment benefits to impacted individuals. The CARES Act provides additional weekly supplement payments, additional weeks of benefits, and a new program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, for those who traditionally have not qualified for unemployment benefits.

As employers begin reopening their doors to a “new normal,” in compliance with the Responsible RestartOhio requirements, many employees are expected to return to their previous employment.

Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause.

If you have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work, it’s important that you let the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) know so we can make accurate eligibility determinations.

To report these occurrences, please visit unemployment.ohio.gov/employer and click on “Report COVID-19 Work Refusals.” This will take you to a web page to report these employees for investigation by ODJFS. Based on an individual examination of the facts from both parties, our claims examiners will then determine whether good cause exists for the individuals in question to continue receiving unemployment benefits.

Next week, the full policy that ODJFS will use to determine individuals’ continued eligibility for unemployment benefits after refusing to return to work will be posted here: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/UIPolicy/index.stm. This policy will underscore the presumption that if an individual’s job is available for them to work again, they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Thank you!

Alphrena D Prince, CPM | Chief UI Technical Services

Alphrena.prince@jfs.ohio.gov

f you missed this morning’s webinar regarding the return to work, please reach out and I will forward the video.

Wishing you all a great evening!
Julie

05.01.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.01.2020

Governor DeWine stated today that the state is assembling different focus groups for industries that have yet to open. These groups will look at best practices and the proper way to get those industries on the road to reopening. Examples of these groups include but are not limited to childcare, hair salons, restaurants, arts, and gyms. We do expect an answer next week as to when hair salons will be able to open.

As promised, members are invited to attend a webinar Monday, May 4, 2020 at 9 a.m. Deputy Health Commissioner, Leigh Cannon will walk us through the new Stay Safe Ohio order issued early this morning. We are happy to provide this service to our members for free, but you must register. Click the link below, and we hope to see you on Monday. We, like you, are looking forward to additional openings throughout the month.

REGISTER HERE FOR THE STAY SAFE OHIO WEBINAR

Friends of the chamber, Gene and Jo Baumgardner, sent me a kind note today with a great quote. I will leave you with that quote and wish you all a wonderful weekend. ‘It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I know we are all waiting for the storm to pass. I am sure there will be a beautiful rainbow!

Have a great weekend,
Julie

05.01.2020 Stay Safe Ohio Order

By COVID-19 Local Updates

05.01.2020
Members,

Very early this morning, the Director of Health released her new Stay Safe Ohio order. While I had originally planned on sending that order in its entirety to you this afternoon, I felt that you should have that information sooner rather than later.

As promised, once Leigh Cannon, Deputy Director of Public Health has ample opportunity to read the order, we will reschedule our zoom webinar. We hope that this opportunity will provide you the clarification you need moving forward.

05.01.2020 Stay Safe Ohio Order

As always, call with questions. I will do my best to help our members decipher and get clarification when necessary.

Julie

04.30.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.30.2020

We understand that purchasing PPE and sanitizing supplies can be a burden for many of our small businesses. In cooperation with the City of Washington Court House and the Community Improvement Corporation, we are proud to offer the ‘Fayette County Supply Share’ program. We will be placing a large order of sanitizer and masks. You will only be responsible for paying for the items you order and the respective tax and shipping fees. I am attaching the order form. To have these items available as soon as possible, we ask that you place your order by 3:00 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2020. I will get the shipping fees from our supplier and contact you with your total. All check payments must be made payable to the Community Improvement Corporation and dropped off to the City Building by 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 4th. Should we see this program is helpful, we will provide another opportunity to order as the need arises.

We thank the City of Washington Court House and the CIC for their willingness to assist with this project.

Printable version of Supply Share order form.

At the time of this email, we still do not have the official ammended Stay at Home Order from the governor’s office . This order will articulate the changes he announced on Monday. Once that order is made public, we will reschedule our zoom webinar with Deputy Health Commissioner, Leigh Cannon.

As we prepare to reopen, I think of Alexander Graham Bell’s famous quote. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” We are here to help you prepare to succeed!

Until tomorrow,
Julie

04.29.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.29.2020

Today, Governor DeWine announced the availability of over 16 million dollars in grant money that is being made available to law enforcement agencies. This money can be used for items such as PPE, facility cleaning expenses, over time, new technology for virtual court hearings, COVID-19 testing, and monitoring. These funds can also be used for alternative housing for violence survivors. Agencies can apply for up to 12 months of funding, and there is no requirement for matching funds. At this time, there is no request cap or deadline for applications, but you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as funds may deplete early. For further information, visit ocjs.ohio.gov.

Some clarification for high school graduations was given during today’s press conference. Governor DeWine announced a list of three alternatives to the traditional ceremony. These suggestions are listed below in order of the governor’s preference:

  • Virtual graduation
  • Drive-in style ceremony
  • A ceremonial event consisting of less than 10 people

Each school district is to work with their local health department to execute their preferred plan. The guidance, in full, is expected to be posted on coronavirus.ohio.gov.

As I stated last night, we are still awaiting the official amended order from the governor’s office. This order will list the businesses that are permitted to reopen and what regulations they will be required to follow. Unfortunately, we do not expect the order until Friday. Until that time, we do not have legal guidance for which you can write solid policies. Based solely upon the Lt. Governor’s comments today, I have compiled the list below that defines what we expect the new rules to include:

  • Customers are NOT required to wear a face covering while shopping.
  • Individual businesses have the right to mandate customers wear a face covering before entering their place of business.
  • Employers: Face coverings ARE required while employees are working.
    • EXCEPTIONS (including but not limited to):
    • When documented best practices prohibit an employee from covering their face
    • When a face covering is not advisable for the employee’s health conditio
    • When an employee is sitting alone in a private workspace

If you feel your workplace or a specific employee meets any of these exceptions, you will be required to document the specific exception.

OSHA has published their response for workplace safety regarding COVID-19. That publication can be read by CLICKING HERE.

As I stated last night, we will reschedule the zoom webinar once we have received the new order. Until then, stay safe. Take care of yourself and each other.

Julie