Stay Safe Ohio Protocol Released, Curfew Extended Governor Mike DeWine this week unveiled the new Stay Safe Ohio Protocol. The protocol was developed in partnership with medical professionals across the state to inform Ohioans how to safely live with the virus.
Governor DeWine also announced that the Ohio Department of Health will extend the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew until January 2, 2021.
The curfew does not apply to those going to and from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries or going to the pharmacy. Picking up carry-out or a drive-thru meal and ordering for delivery will be permitted, but serving food and drink within an establishment must cease at 10 p.m.
“COVID-19 is the single greatest threat to the physical well-being of all Ohioans, the mental health of our citizens, and our economic security,” Governor DeWine said. “We must do everything we can to slow down the spread of this virus.”
The decision to extend the curfew was made with input from the medical and business communities with consideration to the economic impact and health care system. The extended order can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Funds Available to Bar and Restaurant Liquor Permit Holders
The $38.7 million Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is designed to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders, but less than 60 percent those eligible for the program have applied so far.
As of December 10, 2020, about 9,000 Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund applications have been submitted of the 15,488 permits eligible.
Applications will be accepted through December 30, 2020, and funds cannot be distributed after December 31. The program will help licensees significantly impacted by COVID-19 and limited in the full use of their liquor permit. This applies to roughly 30 permit types, including bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, and private clubs.
These permit holders need to have had an active on-premise permit as of close-of-business October 23, 2020. The business does not have to be currently open but must have an active liquor license. After applying, a licensee will receive $2,500 per unique business location.
Visit BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov for more information and to access the online application. Licensees must present their FEIN or SSN, liquor permit number, and address for each unique location at time of application.
TechCred Funds 15,000 Credentials; New Round Opens in January
Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who serves as Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, this week announced the results of the October round of TechCred, which will provide the opportunity for 246 Ohio companies to upskill their current and incoming workforce with tech-focused skills.
“Despite the obstacles created by COVID-19, we continue to see great results coming out of the TechCred program. It is helping employers and employees adapt and prevail during very difficult economic conditions," Lt. Governor Husted said. “Today marks another milestone in upskilling opportunities that will help Ohioans earn the tech-focused skills needed to succeed in the changing workplace.”
The most recent TechCred application period closed at the end of October. Today, 246 Ohio employers were approved for funding, resulting in Ohio employees earning up to 3,164 technology-focused credentials. This round marks a milestone as funding for the program has been approved for more than 15,000 credentials.
In August, the TechCred program exceeded 10,000 tech-focused credentials, fulfilling a commitment made by Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted to fund 10,000 technology-focused credentials each year.
“Businesses prioritize access to a skilled workforce when determining where to locate their facilities,” said Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “TechCred has funded more than 15,000 credentials in the last year to ensure we have the talent to compete in a tech-driven economy.”
With the approvals announced this week, a total of 966 Ohio employers have been approved for funding, supporting the earning of 15,105 tech-focused credentials by Ohio employees.
The next TechCred application period opens Monday, January 4, and closes at 3 p.m. January 29. Businesses with employees who have completed their TechCred training are reminded to submit proof of credential completion to receive reimbursement at TechCred.Ohio.gov.
Five Ohio Counties Now at Purple Level 4, Two on Watch List
New health data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) showed sustained severe exposure and spread (Purple Level 4) in Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, and Summit counties. Ashland and Guernsey counties were moved to the Watch List.
Noble, Harrison and Washington counties moved to Red Level 3 for the first time since implementation of the Advisory System in April.
Positivity rate is an indicator of how much COVID-19 there is in a community, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is recommending against travel to those states with high positivity. If someone must travel, ODH is recommending 14 days of self-quarantine after leaving those locations. This advisory is intended for both leisure and business travel and should be heeded by both Ohioans and out-of-state travelers. It is intended as guidance and is not a mandate; consider the information here along with other factors (mode of transportation, lodging, activities, ability to social distance when traveling, personal health factors, etc.) when making travel decisions for yourself and your family.
South Dakota 52.0%
Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming are continuing to experience reporting irregularities with the total numbers of tests performed, and we are not able to calculate accurate positivity rates.
*The calculation method used by Johns Hopkins for positivity is dependent on the report date of new cases. Because of the resolution of the antigen backlog that occurred on December 8 in Ohio, this method is showing a temporarily inflated positivity rate. For this week, we are using the positivity rate from our testing dashboard instead of the Johns Hopkins methodology for Ohio.
For more information on the COVID-19 travel advisory and for tips on how to quarantine effectively, click here.
Lt. Governor Unveils DataOhio Portal
Lt. Governor Jon Husted and InnovateOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Information Technology’s InnovateOhio Platform, this week announced the launch of the DataOhio Portal, which offers a first-of-its kind service to Ohioans by delivering unprecedented access through an innovative, data-sharing platform.
The DataOhio Portal is a public-facing portal that provides more than 200 datasets and more than 100 interactive visualizations to inform data-driven decision-making for state agencies and their partners. The DataOhio Portal is an innovative use of state technology, enabling data collaboration and sharing while also featuring enhanced security and privacy.
“We’ve all learned over the past year how critical data is to tackling our biggest challenges,” Lt. Governor Husted said. “The IOP team has built a one-stop-shop for the state’s data, providing a secure approach to data access and displaying datasets that, in some cases, are available now for the first time. This collaboration will help Ohio make better public policy decisions so we can better serve the people of our state."
Over the past year, the InnovateOhio Platform team has worked with state agencies to onboard their data, paving the way for the initial onboarding of datasets from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), the Department of Youth Services (DYS), and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) – with more on the way in the near future
The DataOhio Portal offers significant value drivers for Ohio:
Increases transparency by significantly expanding access to key State of Ohio data.
Empowers the public by putting data into the hands of key partners, local governments, researchers, reporters, and citizens.
Informs policy and state programs to better serve Ohio communities.
Export Interns Help Businesses Increase Sales The State of Ohio wants to help businesses grow, and a program offered by the Ohio Development Services Agency can provide the boost needed to improve international marketing or logistics.
The Ohio Export Internship Program places students who have completed export-focused coursework with businesses seeking to boost exports. College students from across the state can apply to take the export course at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business, the Cleveland State University Monte Ahuja College of Business, the Youngstown State University Williamson College of Business Administration, or the University of Dayton School of Business Administration.
Participating businesses receive a 50 percent reimbursement for intern wages, up to $3,600. Companies can apply now for summer 2021 interns. Students will be matched with companies in April 2021, and the internships run from May to August 2021.
For up-to-date information on sector-specific operating requirements, continued closures, and other business resources, click here.
Celebrate Safe. Celebrate Small.
The Ohio Department of Health has produced a guide to help families celebrate safely during the 2020-2021 holiday season. The guide provides alternatives to large in-person celebrations for a variety of holidays, including Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Orthodox New Year, and others.
"This year’s holidays will look different as we make adjustments to keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy, so we can celebrate together in the future," Governor DeWine said. "Regardless of what holidays you celebrate, please keep the celebration small, and wear a mask and stay socially distanced if you absolutely must celebrate with individuals outside of your household."
To download the holiday gathering guide, click here.
SBA Simplifies Process for PPP Loan Forgiveness
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly.
SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2, 2020. SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.
The SBA also is continuing to accept applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for losses related to the pandemic. For additional information, visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.
Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) across the state are available to help businesses with their loan forgiveness and disaster loan applications. To find a local SBDC, click here.
Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Helps Businesses Find PPE
The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 created the Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange as an online marketplace where organizations that need personal protective equipment (PPE) and related equipment can find a wide selection offered by Ohio manufacturers. This online service is especially well-suited for organizations that may have lower-volume needs.
For more information and to participate in the Exchange, click here.
The Alliance is a public-private partnership led by The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership and its partner organization MAGNET, the Ohio Hospital Association, and JobsOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and the Ohio Department of Health.
A list of Ohio Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) certified companies selling PPE and related products and services is available here (PDF).
In addition to the resources available via the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance Makers’ Exchange, another list of vendors providing various PPE is available here (PDF).
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We’re Here to Help Businesses Get Assistance
The Ohio Development Services Agency has many resources to help business owners make it through the current crisis and prepare for a strong future. Here are some of the resources, and most of them are offered at no cost to businesses.
We’re Pushing News and Information on Social Media
Development also is using its social media channels to raise awareness of programs and assistance available through the state and federal governments. We also are urging small businesses to reach out to Ohio Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers around the state for help in applying for federal assistance and to plan for the future.