Category

COVID-19 Local Updates

03.25.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 25, 2020

Many of you have reached out regarding the CARES Act and specifically, how the bill supports small business. Please remember, the US Small Business Administration defines a small business as any business employing less than 500 people. The link below will take you to an article written by the National Law Review that speaks directly to how this bill lends support, should it pass. Furthermore, Lt. Governor Husted will keep Ohio updated on the portion of the bill that includes possible for relief for 1099 workers. As any updates become available, I will pass those along.

National Law Review-CARES Act

Lt. Governor Husted continues to receive calls regarding what is and is not essential business.  He asks that all employers read the Stay at Home order and then read item #18 to make sure you are in compliance.  He notes that even when the Stay at Home order is lifted, the safe work environment guideline will last for an indefinite amount of time.  Please reach out if you have any questions regarding the order and I will get answers to your questions.

Yesterday, a joint statement to all employers in Fayette County was sent to our members and published in the Record Herald.  It is imperative that essential employers are compliant with the current regulations.  If you have employees that can complete their job functions remotely, please allow them to do so (Item #18a of the Stay at Home order).  Allow employees time to wash/sanitize hands, declutter breakrooms and areas where employees gather so as to allow a 6′ distance between all (Item #15 of the Stay at Home order).  As our health professionals continue to state, this is real.  This is here and we are responsible for stopping the virus in Fayette County.

REMINDER: For those in the 15th District, Congressman Steve Stivers is hosting a Small Business Conference Call. As you are aware, the call hosted last week by the White House was essentially ‘sold out’ and many of us were unable to log on. The call will take place Friday, March 27th at 2:30 PM. Please follow the link below to get registered. Representative Stivers states “As Congress considers ways to support small businesses through this pandemic, I want to hear what you need and what would be most helpful. We’ll also be discussing some of the options already available, including the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and other options that may benefit your business.” I would suggest registering as soon as possible, should you wish to participate.

REGISTER HERE

Henry Ford said it best – “When everything seems to be going against you, remember the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Enjoy the rest of your day.

Be well – stay well,

Julie Bolender

03.24.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 24, 2020

Good afternoon.

For those in the 15th District, Congressman Steve Stivers is hosting a Small Business Conference Call. As you are aware, the call hosted last week by the White House was essentially ‘sold out’ and many of us were unable to log on. The call will take place Friday, March 27th at 2:30 PM. Please follow THIS LINK to get registered. Representative Stivers states “As Congress considers ways to support small businesses through this pandemic, I want to hear what you need and what would be most helpful. We’ll also be discussing some of the options already available, including the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and other options that may benefit your business.” I would suggest registering as soon as possible, should you wish to participate.

Lt. Governor Husted reminds us to review the definition of ‘essential business’ as defined in the official “Stay at Home” order. He spoke to the excessive amounts of calls the health department and law enforcement are receiving in reference to who is and who isn’t essential. Item 18 of the ‘Stay at Home’ order lists the safety measures you must comply with if you are an essential business still operating. It is counterproductive to act in any other manner. Click here for the complete ‘Stay at Home’ order.

Ken Ford, Ag Extension Educator states, “the state pesticide specialist has sent a link for the EPA’s list of products to use in regards to the coronavirus. This information should provide useful for some businesses and restaurants. To view the list, please click HERE

I will leave you with something I need to remind myself of occasionally. During this time of uncertainty, please choose purpose over panic and kindness over chaos.

Be well – stay well,
Julie Bolender

03.24.2020 Urgent update from the Fayette Co. Department of Health

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 24, 2020

Good afternoon. As we know, we are navigating unchartered waters. At this time, it is more important than ever to listen to and heed the advice of our elected officials as well as our health professionals. The Fayette County Health Department along with our county commissions and city manager ask that as business owners, we do everything in our power to stop the spread.

Currently, the chamber office and the health department are fielding a multitude of calls regarding the current pandemic. Please note, the chamber is not in a position to determine who is and isn’t essential. Many employees are also calling and asking if their employer is acting in accordance with the order.

Deputy Health Commissioner, Leigh Cannon is concerned with the amount of calls she is getting regarding non-compliance. “I want to express the seriousness of this matter to everyone. We understand that everyone is being affected by these orders right now. We want to do everything in our power to keep businesses operating, but for right now we need you to comply to the order so we are not forced to order you to close. We will be enforcing this order, and we would rather places comply so we do not have to make this decision.

We also understand that our office is open to handle violation complaints, but understand when those calls come in you are taking away a health department staff member who otherwise is needed to fight this virus. Please, just everyone do the right thing so we can get back to normal sooner than later. ”

A joint statement from the Fayette County Commissioners reads, “In order to allow our community a good chance at slowing the spread of COVID 19, we need to comply with Governor Dewine’s order to shelter in place. This also includes non-essential businesses to close for the period set by the Governor. While the term “non-essential” is vague, we are asking business owners to use common sense when making their decisions. Please know that Fayette County will work on your behalf to lobby for aide from our federal and state government to assist you during this difficult period.

Lastly, this is Fayette County’s best chance to slow the spread of the virus in our community. Let’s all continue to work together, as Fayette County always has, to fight the disease that is on our doorstep.”

Washington Court House City Manager Joe Denen adds, “All of us know that the health orders are causing a great deal of economic hardship and uncertainty. We have a challenge to human health that as a society and a nation that we need to address.”

Please do your part to stop the spread. If hand sanitizer is not available, allow your employees a moment to wash their hands. If you are unable to check temperatures of each employee, please use the COVID-19 Screening form provided.

COVID-19 Screening Form

We are all in this together and appreciate each and every one of you as we continue to fight this war on the health and well being of Fayette County.

Be well – stay well,
Leigh Cannon, Deputy Health Commissioner
Fayette County Public Health
Julie Bolender, President
Fayette County Chamber of Commerce

03.23.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 23, 2020

Good afternoon. This is a long update, but there is much to discuss

In accordance with the ‘Stay at Home’ order issued, we have closed the office but are working remotely. I will still be available via phone, text, and email. Please use the office phone number of 740.335.0761 and do not hesitate to reach out. We are still available to and working for our members.

Earlier today, Chelsie Baker of City of Washington CH Economic Development sent an email to all manufacturers with important information sent to us from our local OhioMeansJobs office. I am attaching those PDFs to this email in case you did not receive them earlier.

Shared Work Ohio FAQs

Today, we began a Facebook post that lists any changes to your operating hours, operating procedures, etc. You will find this pinned to the top of our page. We are doing our best to keep this up to date and I ask that you email me any changes.From today’s Press Conference with Governor DeWine, Lt. Gov. Husted and Dr. Amy Acton

The Governor has implemented an immediate hiring freeze within the State of Ohio government agencies. One exception to this freeze includes any position necessary for fighting the Covid-19 Pandemic. A freeze on new contract services has also been implemented.

Regarding the ‘Stay at Home’ Order: Please read the order that was emailed yesterday and call our office should you require further information or clarification.

Lt. Governor Husted spoke to the many links, articles and pages that have been shared over the last few days. His office is working to centralize all information for business owners/managers on their website.  Businesses and employees can now access these resources related to COVID-19 in one place at ohio.gov/BusinessHelp. The portal includes information on unemployment benefits, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the Liquor Buyback Program, modified rules for trucking to help ship critical supplies into the state, the delay of BWC Premiums, etc. These individual links can also be found on our website.

I will be sending another email later this evening as I receive the most up to date information from the YMCA regarding their pandemic child care license. Executive Director Doug Saunders has been receiving information over the last few days and will compile a complete statement for us later today. If you have employees that are essential personnel and find themselves without appropriate child care, please forward that information along to them.

Today, I will end on a positive note. I would like to thank one of our members publicly. WCR, Inc. found themselves with face masks that were not necessary for the course of their business.  Today, those have been donated to Fayette County Public Health for the distribution to our front-line men and women.  Thank you, WCR!

Be well – stay well,
Julie Bolender

03.22.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 22, 2020

Good Sunday afternoon.

The following is information relayed during the Governor’s Sunday press conference. At the time of this email, the Coronoavirus website has crashed and I am unable to retrieve the official order from Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine. Below are a few take-aways that will help you to navigate while we await the official order to be published and retrievable.

Dr. Acton signed the “Stay at Home” order for the State of Ohio. This order begins at 11:59PM Monday, March 23, 2020 and continues through April 6, 2020. When the order becomes effective, only essential personnel are to report to work.

What is permitted:

  • You may leave your home for essential supplies and services
  • Outdoor activity (walk the dog/take a hike) – All playgrounds are CLOSED
  • Essential employees reporting for work
  • Caring for the well being of others (Parents, children, neighbors, etc.)
The second part of the order lists essential businesses and again, as soon as this document is available, I will forward a copy to all.  For your reference, the state’s website is https://coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Governor DeWine will be asking the General Assembly this week to forgo state mandated testing for this school year.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy met in emergency session today regarding the rush on the medication utilized for malaria that will be permitted to be prescribed for combating COVID-19.

Daycare changes to begin Thursday, March 26, 2020 include all centers must operate under a Pandemic license. There are to be no more than six children per room with a teacher to student ratio of 1:6. Parent interaction will be limited during drop-off and pick-up. As a reminder, the Fayette County Family YMCA has been approved as a Pandemic Child Care Center. Once child care centers close, (Thursday March 26th) the State of Ohio will pay for child care for essential personnel when these children are cared for at the YMCA. Further, the YMCA is hiring caregivers at this time.

Remember, if you have employees that find themselves out of work, several of our members are hiring and are looking for employees at this time. We will continue to keep our jobs board up to date at www.fayettecountyohio.com and ask you to forward any openings to me at Julie@fayettecountyohio.com.

Again, I will forward a copy of the order as soon as it is available on the website.

Julie

03.21.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 21, 2020

Good Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday, the President held a call with small businesses from around the country. I sent out an email with log-on information but unfortunately, I was unable to get on and I heard the same from many of you. I have spoken to Representative Steve Stivers office and have been assured we will receive a transcript from the call. I will forward that transcript once it is received.

As of March 20, 2020, the Fayette County Family YMCA has been approved to be a Pandemic Child Care Center. This means children of essential personnel will be cared for at no cost while these important individuals fight the fight in front of us. Furthermore, the YMCA is in need of child care staff. Additional information will be forwarded as it becomes available.

GOVERNMENT RELIEF EFFORTS:

REQUEST FOR UNEMPLOYMENT FOR CONTRACT WORKERS – Governor DeWine signed onto a letter that will soon be sent by multiple state Governors requesting President Trump unlock existing federal funding in the disaster unemployment account, which would make funds available to contract workers (those who file a 1099) who are ineligible for unemployment benefits under current rules.

BWC – All premium payments for March, April and May are DEFERRED until June 1, 2020. Should you have any questions or need further clarification, please visit bwc.ohio.gov or call our office.

The Department of Transportation has APPROVED waivers for essential supply carries to carry larger loads without fine or fee. These permits will be approved for medical and life sustaining deliveries only. Additional information can be found at www.transportation.ohio.gov. Again, these are for essential supplies only and there is no fee to apply for a permit.

I relayed yesterday the President and Secretary of Treasury have moved the filing deadline for federal income tax until July 15, 2020. City Manager Joe Denen reminds you that as WCH City Tax requires federal information, the city tax filing deadline has also been postponed until July 15, 2020.

SENIOR CENTERS/ADULT DAY CARE

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also announced 3.20.2020 that he is ordering all of Ohio’s senior centers and adult day care services to stop providing care in congregate care settings. Congregate care settings are single locations where more than 10 people, including staff and providers, are in a confined space.

The closure will be effective at the end of business on Monday, March 23, 2020.

This order does not prohibit providing services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in residential settings, which are not congregate in nature. Rules that require day services and vocational habitation to be provided in community or work settings are being relaxed to recommend those services be provided in a person’s residence.

HIGH RISK SHOPPING HOURS

If you have a senior or high-risk family member in need of groceries and supplies, our member, The Kroger Company is opening their store Monday-Thursday from 7AM-8AM for these individuals. Please utilize this service if necessary and thank them for their kindness.

Be well – Stay well

Julie

03.20.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 20, 2020

Good Friday afternoon.

I have tried not to repeat any information in these emails however, I feel this one is worth repeating. As stated yesterday, Ohio has been approved for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The link to the application is on our webpage under the heading “Disaster Loan Assistance.” Clicking that link will take you directly to the application website. In the 24 hours since I announced this program, I have fielded many calls with questions. Complete instructions can be found HERE. As always, I am available to help you navigate.

Earlier today I sent out an email regarding a last-minute Small Business conference call with the President of the United States. Unfortunately, by the time the call reservation link was distributed, the call lines were full. I have asked for transcripts and have been told they will be emailed to me soon. I will pass along that information as soon as it is received.

Today, we learned employers can defer their health insurance premium payments for up to 60 calendar days. Further details will be disseminated as they become available.

As of close of business Monday, March 23, 2020 the following agencies/businesses in the State of Ohio will be closed:

  • All senior centers. Services will still be provided on a county by county basis.
  • All senior day care centers.

Gov. Husted continues to remind us that the Tech Cred program is still available at this time. Please click THIS LINK for further information. If you find employees with ‘down-time’ during this crisis, this is a great way to upskill them and prepare them for better days ahead. Here is a quick synopsis of the program highlights:

  • TechCred reimburses Ohio employers when they invest in their employees by sponsoring them to earn tech-focused credentials.
  • Employers can apply for the current round of TechCred, which runs through March 31st.
  • TechCred offers employers up to $2,000 in reimbursement for every technology-focused credential earned by an employee, up to $30,000 per employer per round.
  • Credentials can be offered by a provider of the company’s choice and many of these trainings can be completed online.

I know each of you are doing your part, but I want to share a few best practices you may want to review and put in place, if you haven’t already:

  • Dedicating employees to specifically clean all surfaces throughout each shift
  • Taking temperatures of each employee at the beginning of each shift
  • Removing waiting chair/break room seating that is too close together
  • Staggering lunch and breaks to minimize the amount of people congregating in one area at one time.
  • Immediately sending home any employee that shows any signs or symptoms
  • Splitting shifts (if possible) to minimize the amount of people in the plant at one time
  • No community gathering space (coffee cart/break room/etc.)
  • No sharing equipment without disinfection
  • Wash your hands – don’t touch your face

With all that said, employees need to sit, rest and eat. Using the best practice of the 6′ rule will help reduce the spread of the virus.

Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin released a statement this morning stating the deadline to file 2019 income tax has been extended until July 15, 2020. Six-month extensions are still available to those who require. “All taxpayers will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

This weekend, I will be monitoring news and correspondence in regards to the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. I will forward any information as it is received.

May you all have a restful, peaceful weekend with those you love.

Julie

03.19.2020 Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March 19, 2020

Good Thursday afternoon.

I have some updates to pass along – I apologize for the length of this email, but there is some information in here I feel pertinent. Should there be information in my email that you do not understand or that you need further clarification, please call me. I will make sure you have the answers you need. I can be reached at 740.335.0761.

First and foremost – The SBA JUST approved Ohio’s application for Disaster Relief. Please go to THIS WEBSITE to apply. Call or email should you need ANY help or have ANY questions or concerns.

Next, if you have purchased insurance through your chamber plan, please see the flyer below. Additional resources have been made available to you!

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill provides, among other things, provisions to address Paid Sick Leave, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and Unemployment Insurance for workers displaced by the ongoing outbreak. Furthermore, it includes provisions to provide diagnostic testing for coronavirus, and bolsters Medicaid and nutrition programs for at risk populations. Click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s summary.

Congress’s focus will now turn to the Phase Three stimulus package. Click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s letter to Congress and the President with the business community’s recommendations. We expect this process to move very quickly, so please continue to send me anything you are hearing from your members that could be useful as we advocate on your behalf.

Governor Mike DeWine signed a state active duty proclamation yesterday to activate approximately 400 service members from the Ohio National Guard to support humanitarian efforts in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Starting Monday, March 23, Soldiers from the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will support the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and food banks throughout 12 counties. Guardsmen from across the state will be assisting their neighbors by transporting, packaging, and distributing food from retail locations to homes in vulnerable areas, community-based locations, and partner agencies in rural counties.

As always, stay well and take care of each other-

Julie

The following is a 03.19.2020 press release from City Manager, Joe Denen. Please remember to extend kindness to our Fayette County friends and neighbors working hard to care for us.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/19/20

CONTACT: Joe Denen, City Manager
PHONE: 740-636-2340
Date of Release: 3/19/20

Washington Court House

Thank You for Being Kind Calm and Caring

Wednesday, Governor DeWine announced the closure of additional businesses to the public, tattoo parlors, nail salons, beauty and barber shops. I know that the growing number of changes to our daily lives is causing anxiety. However, we need to remember that the actions being taken are intended to protect human life.

I would like to thank the employees of Kroger, Wal Mart, Save-A-Lot and Aldi for working to keep grocery stores open. These fellow citizens are doing the best job that they can do under difficult circumstances. We owe all of them a communal debt.

In similar fashion, the employees of local banks; Merchants National Bank, First State Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington Bank, US Bank, PNC Bank, LCNB National Bank, Woodforest National Bank and other financial institutions serving our community continue to come to work to address our needs. The safest place for your money is in the bank.

Employees of gas stations continue to come to work. I would like to thank every employee of every gas station in Washington Court House for their dedication to their job. Having fuel available for our needs is a reassurance.

The City Building remains open. You are encouraged to make use of all the remote options available to you to make payments or otherwise conduct business. Many of the employees at the City Building are younger people with families. They are worried about their kids and loved ones just like you. I am proud that despite their fears and worries, they join us every morning for a day of work.

The Street, Water, Wastewater and other functions of our community continue. I know a lot of you have purchased bottled water. No threat exists to the quality or deliverability of our water supply. The employees of the Service Department will ensure that the basic need of safe and wholesome tap water remains fulfilled regardless of events.

The Fire and Police Departments are ready to address our needs. If the burden placed on public services grows, how we address calls for service may require change, but your safety is their priority. Please remember that the virus has introduced an additional stress into the already stressful lives of police officers and firefighters. Care about firefighters and police officers like they care about you.

Fayette County Public Health along with the people of the Fayette County Memorial Hospital, local pharmacies and the folks of our emergency medical services are working to protect you. They care about you. Good people, doing a good job that deserve our thanks and more importantly our confidence.

In the coming days, we will hear distressing news. We are fighting a virus, a biological organism. If we are going to limit the spread of the COVID 19 virus, you must follow the direction given by Fayette County Public Health.

Wash your hands. If a sink is not available use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Cover every cough and sneeze. Do not put you hands in your mouth, eyes or nose. Clean surfaces that are frequently touched. Maintain social distance. Comply with public health directives concerning gatherings of people.

You have the power to make a real difference in slowing the progress of the virus. When you do shop to address your needs, please patronize local businesses. Small businesses in our community face many challenges introduced by the restrictions designed to keep us safe. Local businesses are the livelihoods of our families, friends and neighbors. Spending is a lot like voting; we make choices every day with our money.

Use the telephone or the internet to keep in contact with older family, friends and neighbors. Encourage members of at-risk populations to remain at home. Grocery shopping, picking up dine out meals and any number of other tasks can be done for them. I have said this before, we are in the same boat and we will row that boat together.

Thank you for being yourselves; kind, calm and caring,

Joe Denen
City Manager
City of Washington Court House
740-636-2340

03.18.2020 Afternoon Update

By COVID-19 Local Updates

March, 18, 2020

Good afternoon, all. Below is an update from Governor DeWine’s press conference today:

  • Announced the close of 181 BMV Deputy Registrars effective today, March 18, 2020. Five offices will remain open in an effort to handle CDL licensing. All 52 Driver Exam stations will close as well. Violations will not be issued to individuals who are unable to obtain a renewal due to closures.
  • All tattoo parlors, nail salons, beauty and barber shops are to close effective end of day, March 18, 2020.
    Gov. DeWine asks that all employers take the temperature of every employee at the beginning of every shift. While this is not a perfect way to contain the virus and protect the healthy, it is one more preventative measure that must be utilized.

I want to reiterate that Ohio has not yet received their approval for the Economic Injury Disaster loan program. Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have filed the required request and now, we wait. We expect an answer shortly. Once that is approved, I will immediately forward the link so that you may apply, should you have a claim.

As always, reach out should you have any questions.
Julie