Category

COVID-19 Local Updates

04.28.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.28.2020

Since the beginning of the crisis, it has been my goal to provide timely and accurate information pertaining to your business. As we begin to reopen, we must sort through the guidelines for a safe restart of Fayette County. While Governor DeWine has not yet issued the official order surrounding the safe reopen, we invite you to attend a Zoom town hall meeting. This meeting will take place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Leigh Cannon, Deputy Health Commissioner, the Fayette County Commissioners, City Manager Joe Denen, and I will guide you through the expected requirements for the ‘Responsible RestartOhio’ initiative. Reservations are required, but this event is free to our members.
To register, please click the link below.

RSVP for the 'Responsible RestartOhio' webinar

In today’s press conference, Governor DeWine announced that he understands a mandatory mask requirement is, in his words, offensive for many Ohioans. He will not be mandating these masks for retail customers. It remains a strong recommendation and what he considers a best practice. Again, we will wait until the official order is released to assess the remainder of the requirements as well as the suggestions for our new daily life.

I hope you will plan to join us tomorrow. It is an excellent opportunity to hear first hand what tools we will need in our toolbox moving forward.

Enjoy your afternoon-
Julie

04.27.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates No Comments

04.27.2020

As we discuss Ohio’s plans for a strategic plan to reopen, I’d like to take a moment to thank Fayette County for all you have done to slow the spread of the virus, protect your employees, and for the patience and grace you have shown during this unprecedented time. It has not been easy, it is not going to be easy to open, but we will continue to get through this together.

Today, Governor DeWine relayed the following orders. I have listed the effective date and some highlights of the new rules and regulations. The graphics the governor used in today’s press conference are also included below and contain each mandate and each recommendation.

May 1, 2020 – Health Care

  • All health care procedures that DO NOT require an overnight stay in a hospital, can be performed.
  • Dentists can open offices at full capacity.
  • Veterinarians can open offices at full capacity.

May 4, 2020 – Manufacturing, Distribution and Construction and General Office Environments

  • All employees, customers and visitors to wear masks.
  • Whether these businesses have been open or not, effective May 4, 2020, all manufacturing, distribution and construction operations can operate at full capacity.
  • General Office Environments can open at full capacity. IF you are an office-type employer and are able to operate from home in an efficient manner, you are asked to continue this practice for the time being.

May 12, 2020 – Consumer Retail and Services

  • All employees and customers will wear masks.
  • Occupancy shall not exceed 50% of fire code.

For the general population, the 10 people maximum gathering continues.

Should you wish to review the State of Ohio’s website for further guidance, follow THIS LINK.Each industry is specifically listed with graphics and guidelines.

As always, call our office with your questions. We are working closely with Fayette County Public Health to provide guidance, support and assistance.

There are brighter, better days ahead!
Julie

04.24.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.24.2020

Good afternoon, and happy Arbor Day!

Today, Governor DeWine announced that former governors Taft and Celeste experienced a significant breakthrough with Thermo Fisher that will expand our ability to test for COVID-19 in Ohio. Additionally, a Roe Dental Lab located in Cleveland will be manufacturing up to 1,000,000 swabs that are vital to testing. This additional testing will allow for a more robust contact tracing protocol.

As you are aware, the first round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. Earlier in the week, the Senate and House approved an additional $310 billion to fund the program, and President Trump signed the bill today.

Now is the time to act if you require funds. If you applied during round one but did not receive a loan application number, it is recommended that you contact your lender as soon as possible to begin the application process for this program. We expect these monies to be exhausted as well. While the SBA has an application online, your lender may have an additional/different application for you to submit. Further information regarding all the funding programs can be found by visiting the SBA’s website.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is currently accepting unemployment pre-registration for 1099, self-employed, and part-time workers. While payments will not be made for a few weeks, the opening of this portal allows these individuals to register for benefits now. Additional information regarding this plan and how to apply can be found by reading this press release.

Unfortunately for many students, parents, families, and friends, Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education announced that graduation programs for high school seniors should be handled virtually.  Currently, our Main Street Fayette organization is working to honor all Fayette County high school seniors by posting their pictures in storefront windows.  Any questions regarding this program should be directed to MSF. We look forward to helping MSF celebrate the great high school seniors that call Fayette County home.

We are expecting a reopening plan to be delivered on Monday. As always, we will relay any information we receive at that time. Should any information vital to your ability to do business be made available over the weekend, I will keep you informed.

Have a great weekend,
Julie

FROM THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

A Letter To All Ohio Farmers’ Market Managers,

It has come to the attention of the Ohio Department of Agriculture that there is confusion concerning farmers’ markets being allowed to operate with the restrictions on mass gatherings. The Amended Director’s Stay at Home Order signed on April 2, 2020, identified farmers’ markets along with farm and produce stands as essential businesses. As essential businesses, they must adhere to the provisions in the Order concerning social distancing. At a minimum, essential businesses must comply with the required measures of the Order. They are:

  • Designate six-foot distances between people
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products are to be readily available for employees and customers
  • Separate operating hours for vulnerable populations
  • Online and remote access; post online whether a facility is open and how best to reach the facility and continue services by phone or remotely

The recommendations created by the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network appear to be good compliance guidelines for farmers’ markets. Following these recommendations should result in a farmers’ market complying with the required measures contained in the Order. The second attachment contains the most current recommendations from the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network.

OHIO SAFETY CONGRESS BUYERS GUIDE

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of last month’s Ohio Safety Congress & Expo (OSC 2020). We were disappointed we had to take this step, but it was the right and safest thing to do.

One of the highlights of being at safety congress, the largest free work-safety event in the U.S., is the Expo Marketplace that features hundreds of vendors offering the latest and greatest workplace safety gear and services.

Although, you could not visit these vendors in person, we have put together this OSC 2020 Buyer’s Guide that lists the more than 300 vendors that had planned to be at the event. This guide provides information for each exhibitor, including contacts and links to their website, to help you find products and services to keep your workforce safe.

04.23.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.23.2020

Good afternoon.

As you are aware, the first round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has been exhausted. Earlier in the week, the Senate approved an additional $310 billion to fund the program. Today, we are hopeful the House will approve this bill and then pass to the President for his signature.

If you applied during round one but did not receive a loan application number, it is recommended that you contact your lender as soon as possible to begin the application process for this program. We expect these monies to be exhausted as well, and as the old saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. While the SBA has an application online, your lender may have an additional/different application four you to submit.

We will announce via email and social media when the bill has been signed to give you the most up to date information available. Until then, should you have questions, please reach out or visit the SBA’s website.

The governor announced today that he would be discussing more details surrounding the strategic reopening of Ohio during Monday’s press conference. We are also working on a plan to help you through the process as well. We will unveil the plan in the coming days.

I was reminded of a quote that seems very appropriate for what we are all experiencing. “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” -Socrates.

Have a great evening,
Julie

04.22.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.22.2020

Today, we were scheduled to celebrate our Administrative Professionals with a luncheon many have come to look forward to and enjoy! I am sad we are not all together today, but I am still very appreciative of those individuals who keep us all organized and keep the wheels greased. I want to thank Kara Bruney for her work with the chamber personally. Since coming on board almost a year ago, she has been my right arm and a great help. Happy Administrative Professionals Day, Kara. I hope we can celebrate soon!

Unfortunately, the first rounds of funds earmarked for the EIDL and PPP are depleted. As we know, the federal government is working to refund those loan programs as I type. I am including a link to The U.S. Department of the Treasury for your reference. Any updates to these programs can be found at that link as well as at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Website. Any information I receive will also be immediately forwarded.

As I stated yesterday, I am compiling a list of best practices for a safe work environment. When official requirements from our government are published, I will insert those into our already growing document and forward to our membership. We are committed to the continuation of dialogue among businesses, health professionals, and our elected leaders to ensure we get Fayette County back to work in a safe manner. For your reference, OSHA’s most recent workplace infection prevention poster is available by clicking the link below. This document lists the top ten items you, as an employer, can do to keep your employees safe. Please download, print, and post as you deem necessary.

OSHA Safe Workplace Poster

The Governor announced today the creation of the COVID-CareLine. This mental health resource is available to all Ohioans and is confidential. If you or your employees are feeling overwhelmed, the number to call is 800-720-9616. Phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week. Check on your friends and neighbors. I know personally, it is hard being away from my friends and family. I might be a little grumpier than usual!

Enjoy this 50th annual Earth Day! “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” Leo Tolstoy.

Hit a bike trail, or take the dog for a walk-but, get out and enjoy the blessing of sunshine today!

Julie

04.21.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.21.2020

Governor DeWine announced today the FDA approval of a new reagent, which will help ramp up testing for the state of Ohio. He expects to see a significant increase in the amount of testing available by mid-May.

Testing is a vital part of helping Ohioans get back to work, DeWine said.

He also announced the formation of a testing strike team, which will be led by former governors Richard Celeste and Bob Taft. The task force will aim to source critical testing materials, including reagents.

According to the Ohio BWC, first round of rebate checks were mailed yesterday to Ohio’s employers and will continue over the next 5 days. The check that you will receive equals almost 100% of the premium you paid in 2018.

Earlier this morning, I sent an email regarding an energy savings program available to members of our chamber. I know that our participating members are see sizable savings. If you are interested in seeing how this program can help you, gather your gas and electric bill and give me a call. I am available to walk you through the process and see how enrollment can save you money now.

I want to take a moment and let you know; I am working with community partners to develop a restart program for our county. The chamber board of directors will be meeting tomorrow to discuss this in further detail. These waters are uncharted, but we are working to develop a plan that provides you with the maximum amount of support. If you have a specific need, I ask that you call me. I would love to talk to you personally about how the chamber can work for you.

Have a great evening,
Julie

04.20.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.20.2020

Today, Governor DeWine announced the remainder of this school year would be held in a remote learning environment.  I am beyond proud of the way our local school systems have supported not only the students but also their families and school staff.

As a reminder, the Save Small Business Fund application process opened TODAY AT 3:00PM. I am including that information again today. This is GRANT money. No need to repay – but a great opportunity to fortify your business.

To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund. This fund is a key pillar of the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative.

The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States, including chambers of commerce. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community. Our community is eligible.

The grant application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 3:00 PM ET. To apply for a grant, visit savesmallbusiness.com.

 

A message from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

We thank you for your patience as we’ve determined how to proceed with the FY20 Safety Council Rebate Program in the midst of COVID-19.

As you know, we directed safety council sponsors to cancel March, April, and May safety council meetings in light of public health concerns. And today’s announcement will eliminate the need for sponsors to host a June meeting. As a result of these cancellations, we realize it is impossible for many of you to complete the program’s FY20 rebate eligibility requirements.

Therefore, we will provide the FY20 rebate to safety council members who, as of Feb. 29, 2020,had attended at least FOUR safety council meetings. This determination was based on crediting each member with one meeting credit for each cancelled meeting, the maximum of two external training credits and waiving the CEO attendance and calendar year 2019 semi-annual report requirements.

Although we realize a small number of safety councils host more than one meeting a month late in the program year, we are granting relief for only one safety council meeting credit per month in March, April, May, and June. This resolution reinforces the program’s goal of active participation for the purpose of education, networking and resource sharing and, unfortunately, members who condense participation to the latter part of the program year will not appreciate relief from this solution.

Ultimately, employers we determine have earned the rebate under the revised guidelines will receive the maximum percentage rebate allowed per their BWC group-rating status:

  • 2% for employers enrolled in BWC’s Group-Retrospective-Rating Program and eligible for the participation rebate.
  • 2% for employers enrolled in BWC’s Group-Experience-Rating Program and eligible for the performance bonus – there will be no claims data measurement calculation.
  • 4% for employers not enrolled in a BWC Group-Rating Program.

Your safety council sponsor will submit July 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 attendance records to us when normal business operations resume. The timeline for the processing of these rebates is yet to be determined but we will continue to update safety council sponsors when you should expect FY20 safety council program rebate checks.

As many of you may have seen on Facebook, the 6th annual Fayette County’s Toast to Summer and Hot Air Balloon Glow has been cancelled for this year. Our focus and reason for this decision is the health and well-being of our vendors, visitors, organizers and county. We ask that you mark your calendars for June 26, 2021 – we will see you then!

It is a beautiful day. I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy a bit of the beauty Fayette County has to offer.

Stay well-
Julie

04.17.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.17.2020

Good afternoon. As we begin the move from sheltering in place to cautious and strategic openings, our focus is forward. We are working diligently on a plan to help you grow through your new normal. This plan is solely focused on you, our members. Supporting, promoting and providing educational opportunities that will help you prosper. There is a fine line between saving lives and livelihoods – we want to help you do both.

The governor spoke today about the ‘Path Forward to Restart.’ The three components to this path are public health measures and compliance, protecting the vulnerable, and businesses operating safely with safeguards.

For those currently shuttered, you must begin to look at ways to implement the following safety measures. If your company is thinking outside the box and have implemented a great safety idea, please email me! I would love to include it in our email. At this time, we can all learn from each other. Note-this list is not the official list mandated by the governor, but these are the measures he discussed today. As soon as a final list is published, I will include it in my emails.

  • Barriers: Employee to employee and employee to customer
  • 6-10′ distance between employees and customers
  • Constant attention to cleaning of high contact surfaces
  • Allowing ample time and a suitable place for handwashing (This pertains to employees and customers)
  • Staggered start times and break times
  • Temperature checks prior to entrance of the workplace
  • Continued telework, where available

As a reminder, the Save Small Business Fund application process opens Monday. I am including that information again today. This is GRANT money. No need to repay – but a great opportunity to fortify your business.

To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund. This fund is a key pillar of the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative.

The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States, including chambers of commerce. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community. Our community is eligible.

The grant application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 3:00 PM ET. To apply for a grant, visit savesmallbusiness.com.

I am extremely happy to report we have now have guidance for our independent contractor’s and self employed individuals. A link to the full guide provided to us by our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can be found by following THIS LINK.


The governor announced today that he would not be hosting any press conferences this weekend. Should I receive any pertinent updates from our other partners, I will forward those as I receive them. Until then, fill out the census form, remember to request your absentee ballot or fill it out if it is sitting on the kitchen table. I hope you can enjoy your weekend!

Stay well-=
Julie

04.16.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.16.2020

Today, I sat in on an informative conference call regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act is separate and apart from the CARES Act. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1, and they expire on December 31, 2020. Both programs are in addition to any leave you already offer. I am attaching the power point presentation and a simplified infographic to give you tangible reference material. If, after reviewing the materials, you still need clarification, please reach out.

Families First Infographic

Families First Coronavirus Response Act-PowerPoint

Today at noon, along with the OSU South Centers, we hosted a ‘COVID-19 Resources for Businesses’ video conference. We hope those in attendance found this useful. For those unable to attend, I am attaching the slides from Melissa Carter’s presentation as well as her contact information. If you find yourself still needing answers, please reach out to Melissa or myself.

COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses Power Point Presentation

Governor DeWine announced the establishment of the Governor’s Board of Economic Advisors. This board is comprised of CEOs from Ohio’s brightest companies and was developed to author safe workplace protocol. This protocol will be in effect as we start to open back up for business.

Recently, the Federal Reserve Board took steps to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. Read their press release here.

JobsOhio published its Economic Impact Report today. A full copy of the report can be read HERE.

Hot off the press is the ‘Save Small Business Fund’ announcement. The application portal for this grant opens Monday, April 20th. This is a great opportunity I hope you will find helpful. All information can be found below with links to apply on Monday.

Set a reminder for April 20, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. and apply for this grant.

To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund. This fund is a key pillar of the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative.

The Fund is providing $5,000 in short-term relief to employers across the United States, including chambers of commerce. These one-time supplemental cash grants are for businesses that have between three and 20 employees and operate in an economically vulnerable community. Our community is eligible.

The grant application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 3:00 PM ET. To apply for a grant, visit savesmallbusiness.com.

I will leave you with a reason to celebrate! Fayette County Memorial Hospital will be celebrating their 70th birthday in May! I was born at FCMH and remember visiting the hospital as a very small child with my grandma, a former Director of Nursing. We had plans to celebrate this milestone with a Business After Hours event, but as my children say, “Corona happened.” FCMH invites you to send a birthday card to:

Marketing Department
Fayette County Memorial Hospital
1430 Columbus Avenue
Washington Court House, OH 43160

These cards will line the halls of the hospital so the staff will see the gratitude and well wishes of their community. I hope you will join us in wishing them a very happy birthday!

Wishing you all a happy Thursday evening-
Julie

04.15.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

04.15.2020

Good afternoon.

Ohio has extended its partnership with Battelle to benefit ALL of Ohio’s first responders. Effective Monday, first responders can deliver their used masks to any State Highway Patrol post. They will deliver the used masks to Battelle for decontamination and then return them to the post where they can be picked up by the local law enforcement offices. The OSHP will send guidelines to all local law enforcement today – be on the lookout!

Lt. Governor Husted announced today that an on-line early application process for 1099 and self-employed individuals would be available next week. These insurance payments will not be made until mid-May, but getting your application in early will at least hold your place in line. As always, I will let you know as soon as this feature is live.

I know the last several weeks have been a continuous rush of information. One item I have not addressed is the paid leave portion of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This legislation provides paid leave (in the form of a refundable federal tax credit) for employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis in addition to what you, as an employer, provide for medical leave. I am attaching the employer guide, should you have an employee that needs to use leave. If you have additional questions, give our office a call or visit their website.

USDA and its Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses and communities through:

• technical, training, and management assistance;
• financial assistance; and
• state and local assistance.

This resource matrix organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type.

For additional information, read the Federal Rural Resource Guide here.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow for a great opportunity to learn more about the EIDL and PPP. No pre-registration required – just hop on and join us at noon!

Enjoy your evening,

Julie

If you would like to attend this free call,

CLICK THIS LINK

a few minutes prior to noon on Thursday, April 16th.

No pre-registration is required.