RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

Recovery

Below is a listing of various resources and government mandated guidelines being made available to businesses in the Greater Akron area as Ohio turns its attention to recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation continues to evolve, we anticipate that further government actions will likely impact this information, and so we will be working to update this page accordingly.

Responsible RestartOhio

Governor DeWine recently announced the Responsible RestartOhio plan which aims to protect the health of employees and customers while supporting community efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, and responsibly getting back to work. This new plan details everything related to reopening Ohio's economy, including best practices, sector specific operating requirements, a timeline of industry specific openings and other general resources that will help Ohioans understand how to best return to work.

*Businesses can now download and print posters and forms that effectively display all reopening rules and regulations clicking here.

*Mandatory, industry-specific guidelines, along with best practices, for employees, customers and guests can be found by clicking here.

The new Responsible RestartOhio plan and its related guidelines do away with the existing Guidelines for Essential Businesses and Operations from the Ohio Department of Health.  All businesses are now to follow the guidelines and information provided by the state through the Responsible RestartOhio plan and website. Summit County Public Health (SCPH) will still play a supporting role in enforcing these guidelines and are a resource to you as you return to work.

 

 

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Guidance for Satisfying the PPE Needs of Non-Healthcare Businesses

FEMA published guidance to address how organizations in non-healthcare settings should consider and manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) needs while ensuring the protection of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes how to preserve limited supplies, how to consider needs during periods of shortages, and how to acquire and request PPE (i.e. in the face of critical shortages and whereas normal supply chain allocation cannot meet operational requirements).

 

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Financial Relief

Below is a listing of Financial Relief Resources that are known to be available or will soon available to businesses in the Greater Akron area as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.  As the situation continues to change rapidly, we anticipate that further legislative and regulatory assistance will likely become available, and we will continually update this page accordingly.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans

The. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has expanded two loan programs meant to assist businesses that have been economically harmed by COVID-19.  Companies may decide to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or a 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.  Below is an overview of both loans to help businesses decide which option best serves the needs of their business.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

PLEASE NOTE: The Biden Administration announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program with a stated goal of better targeting the initiative "to the smallest businesses and those that have been left behind in previous relief efforts." The changes include:

  • Instituting a 14-day period, starting Wednesday, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for loans through the program.
  • Revising the loan calculation formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals so that it offers more relief, and establishing a $1 billion fund for businesses in this category without employees located in low- and moderate-income areas.
  • Eliminating a restriction that prevents small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from participating in the program.
  • Eliminating a restriction that prevents small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from participating in the program.
  • Ensuring non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents can use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to apply for relief.

For more information on these developments, please CLICK HERE.



The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Treasury Department, reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Monday, January 19 for all borrowers, following a tiered reopening which began on January 11. Below is additional information on the application process and the new rules for both First Draw and Second Draw Loans:

Second round of PPP includes key updates such as:

  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

Loan Details

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

  • PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
  • Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for borrowers who apply for loan forgiveness until SBA remits the borrower's loan forgiveness amount to the lender. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, payments are deferred 10 months after the end of the covered period for the borrower’s loan forgiveness (either 8 weeks or 24 weeks).
  • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
  • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

How To Apply

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download the following PPP borrower application forms to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender:

Affiliation Rules

***NOW AVAILABLE Updated PPP Forgiveness (for loans under $150,000)***

Borrowers with a PPP loan less than $150,000 now have the ability to more easily apply for forgiveness through a new streamlined application. Also, the requirement that PPP borrowers must deduct the amount of any EIDL advance they received from their PPP forgiveness amount has been removed. To be eligible, applicants must submit to their a lender a certification including:

  • A description of the number of employees the eligible recipient was able to retain because of the PPP
  • The estimated amount of the covered loan amount spent by the eligible recipient on payroll costs
  • The total loan value

For additional guidance, please visit the SBA's website or contact your PPP lender.

Updated PPP Loan Forgiveness (for loans Under $50,000)

As of October 8th, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, today 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.

Updated PPP Loan Forgiveness (for loans above $50,000)

As of Wednesday, June 17th, the U.S. Small Business Administration posted a revised, borrower-friendly PPP Loan forgiveness application that reflects changes made to the program in respect to the recently passed PPP Flexibility Act of 2020. In addition to releasing a revised forgiveness application, the SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The EIDL program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 EIDL Loans

PURPOSE

To meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred

TERMS

  • 3.75% for businesses (fixed)
  • 2.75% for nonprofits (fixed)
  • 30 years
  • No pre-payment penalty or fees

USE OF PROCEEDS

Working capital & normal operating expenses

Example: continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities, fixed debt payments.

COLLATERAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Required for loans over $25,000
  • SBA uses a general security agreement (UCC) designating business assets as collateral, e.g. machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, etc.

FORGIVABLE

  • NO – EIDL Loan
  • YES – EIDL Advance*

*Advance funds have been fully allocated and are not currently available

MATURITY

30 years

PAYMENTS

Deferred 1 year; interest still accrues
Borrower may make payments if they choose to do so.

Set up online payments through Pay.gov OR mail payments to:

U.S. Small Business Administration
721 19th Street
Denver, CO 80202

Be sure to include EIDL loan number on mailed-in checks.

SBA is currently accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and private nonprofit organizations. If you have already applied via the streamlined application portal, please do not resubmit your application. For new applicants, please CLICK HERE.

Eligibility

Below are the eligibility criteria and details of the Economic Injury Loan & Grant Programs:

  • Eligible entities include small business having under 500 employees; certain non-profits; cooperatives and employee-owned businesses with no more than 500 employees; sole proprietorships (both those with and without employees); independent contractors; and tribal small businesses.  Businesses with over 500 employees may still be eligible if they meet the SBA’s size standards, found here.
  • Agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees are now eligible as a result of new authority granted by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Agricultural businesses include those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
      Businesses must have been operational by 1/31/2020.
  • This program provides a business with funding of up to $2 million, with payment deferment for up to 12 months.
  • Permitted uses include: payment of fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, employee sick leave, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
  • EIDLs have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on borrower's ability to repay.
  • The loan rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.
  • Apply online here.  Also, you can view the application here.  Need help navigating? Call the SBA's Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call 800-877-8339.
  • For additional resources for EIDL application:
    • The Akron Small Business Development Centers (Akron SBDC) has advisors who are readily available to help navigate this process.  They are available via telephone (330-375-2111) to answer or find answers to all questions regarding Small Businesses affected by COVID-19.  While they are working remotely, they ask for your patience and leave a message with your name, business name, email (very important), and a phone number.  One of their advisors will contact you as soon as possible.
      • The Greater Akron Chamber will be hosting multiple webinars on these loan opportunities with small groups of businesses.  During these discussions, we will have key experts from various organizations from within the legal and accounting fields, the Akron SBDC, regional SBA Offices, and designated Chamber staff.  If you are interested in participating in one of these seminars, please email covid19@greaterakronchamber.org.
  • Frequently Asked Questions for Faith-Based Organizations Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
  • Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Agricultural and Farm Loan Collateral Security and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)

 

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Bank Resources

Below are various resources from regional lenders with specific guidance, checklists and other key information on everything you need to know about First and Second Draw PPP Loans.

Chase Bank

Citizens Bank

Fifth Third Bank

First Federal Lakewood

First National Bank

Huntington Bank

Independent Bank

KeyBank

Peoples Bank

PNC

S&T Bank

WesBanco

Westfield Bank

 

Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program

**The application window for this program is currently closed**

We are pleased to announce that Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and Summit County Council have approved a third round of funding for the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.

The application period for the third round of this critical small business support resource will open on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12 noon and will close on Wednesday, October 14th at 9:00 a.m.  Applications that are not fully completed and submitted via the online application tool by 9:00 a.m. on October 14th will not be accepted.

If you were awarded a grant in a prior round of the program and have not received distribution of funds, it is because we are either waiting on information to be provided by you to complete the required documentation or we are actively working on an issue with your application of which you should be aware.  If you have specific questions about prior round awards, please reach out to us at CovidGrant@GreaterAkronChamber.org.

A summary of the grant distribution to date for the first two rounds of the program as of August 10, 2020 is included here. These numbers may change slightly as companies that have filed final data verification or have been unresponsive to our requests will have their grant awards withdrawn.

A list of all grant recipients for Round 2 is included here as well.

We appreciate the leadership and support of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, Summit County Council and Summit County Chief of Staff Brian Nelsen who made this program a possibility by dedicating more than $12 million of CARES Act allocations and County funds to support our county’s small businesses. We also appreciate the municipalities that participated by funding a portion of the program including the cities of Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Green, Norton and Tallmadge, Copley Township, Coventry Township, Bath Township, the Village of Mogadore. More than $300K of funding was provided by federal Community Block Grant Funds from Summit County, the City of Barberton, and the City of Cuyahoga Falls. And, we appreciate the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the JumpStart/Key Bank Boost and Build programs for their additional and significant support.

Program guidelines, eligibility criteria, frequently asked questions and other information can be found at www.gaccovid19.org/grantprogram.  For more information, please contact COVIDgrant@greaterakronchamber.org


On May 11, 2020, Summit County authorized a second round of funding for the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.  The program, to be administered by the Greater Akron Chamber, will provide eligible businesses the opportunity to apply for grant funds from the program in order to assist those businesses with the financial impact of COVID-19.

Generally, the amount of the grant per business will be a maximum of $5,000 for businesses with two to thirty employees, and a maximum of $2,000 for businesses with less than two employees.

Eligibility for the grants will be tied to key criteria linked to supporting businesses that were viable prior to the pandemic, have been impacted by COVID-19, employ Summit County residents, and have the potential to continue to operate following the pandemic.

Applications will be submitted online to the Greater Akron Chamber, which will manage the application review and grant process.  Given limited funds for distribution and our expectation of significant demand for those funds, the next round of applications will commence at 12 pm on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and run until 9 am Friday, May 22, 2020.

All complete applications submitted during that time, that are in compliance with the eligibility criteria set forth below, will be evaluated and scored utilizing criteria approved by the Grant Underwriting Team.  The Grant Underwriting Team will approve awards to businesses based on scoring and available funds based on the fit and relative performance against the eligibility and additional grant criteria with the intention of awarding grants based on the following:

  • the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation and success of the business;
  • the likelihood of the business’s future success;
  • the number of job opportunities preserved for Summit County businesses;
  • the location of the business and the business’s proximity to Summit County Job Hubs;
  • the contribution of the business to equity and the diversity of small businesses and small business owners in Summit County

The Greater Akron Chamber will announce the award of grant funds on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and expects to begin distributing grant funds later that week.

All grants made under the Program are being made with the intention to provide immediate funding to small businesses to meet their business needs to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures, to assist with the payment of costs where the business faces uncertainty as to its ability to pay due to the pandemic, to keep as many small businesses in Summit County as operating, ongoing concerns as possible, and to retain as many jobs for Summit County residents as possible in light of the severe economic hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All contributions of funds to the Program are made for the purpose of furthering economic development, preserving employment opportunities for Summit County residents, and preserving the operations of Summit County’s small businesses during a time of need and emergency. The primary objective of the Program is to minimize long-term economic hardship to Summit County residents that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program guidelines, eligibility criteria, frequently asked questions and other information can be found at www.gaccovid19.org/grantprogram.  For more information, please contact COVIDgrant@greaterakronchamber.org


On March 30, 2020, Summit County created the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program.  The program, to be administered by the Greater Akron Chamber, will provide $5,000 grants to eligible small businesses.  For more information, click here.

The initial application period for the Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program was 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2020, through 9:00 am Monday, April 13, 2020.  However, we welcome you to complete the application even after the initial application period has closed; we will keep your completed application on file in the event that additional funding for this program becomes available.

To be eligible, a small business must be for-profit, have its principal place of business located in Summit County, and employ between three and twenty-five employees (for at least 20 hours per week) – at least half of whom must be Summit County residents.  Additionally, the small business must apply for an SBA loan through a program established to support small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (more information on SBA loans can be found above).  Businesses approved for an SBA loan and that also meet the county’s program guidelines will be automatically approved; businesses denied an SBA loan may still be approved for a grant.

Grant program administrators are conducting the review process on the initial round of applications during the week of April 13, 2020; awardees will be finalized the week of April 20, 2020.  For more information, please contact COVIDgrant@greaterakronchamber.org.  This grant fund is accepting contributions to increase our capacity to help small businesses make it through this difficult time.  If you are interested in contributing to this grant fund, please contact Steve Millard, President & CEO of Greater Akron Chamber, at smillard@greaterakronchamber.org.

 

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On Friday, October 23rd, Governor DeWine and the Ohio Development Services Agency announced two new COVID Relief grant programs for Ohio companies that will provide more than $162 million in grant support.  One program is focused on all small businesses with one to twenty-five employees.  The other is specifically for Bars and Restaurants for Division of Liquor Control permit holders. Go to www.BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov site for all available details.

**Applications for both programs are currently closed.**

Ohio Small Business Relief Grant

**The application period for the program has closed.**

For the Small Business Relief Grant:

  • These will be grants up to $10,000
  • Must be a for profit entity
  • Have to have one to twenty-five W2 employees
  • Have to have been in business continuously since January 1, 2020 with exception of COVID related shutdowns
  • Will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Money has been allocated so that each county will have at least 50 grants and then balance of funds will go to additional applicants.
  • Funds must be used for costs caused by COVID-19. Eligible expense types are listed on the program site.
  • There is a list of questions, required documents and other information necessary to complete your application at the web site for the program at https://businesshelp.ohio.gov/small-business-relief-grant.html

Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund

**The application window for this program has closed**

For the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund:

  • These are $2,500 grants for on-premise liquor permit holders. These can be received in addition to the small business relief grants described above.
  • All such permit holders will be eligible (and presumably have access to one of these grants)
  • Permit must have been active as of close-of-business on October 23, 2020
  • Funds need to be used on COVID-related expenses due to business interruptions caused by the pandemic.
  • More information on this program can be found HERE.

 

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Akron Resiliency Program

Starting on October 14th, the City of Akron is partnering with the Western Reserve Community Fund (WRCF) to launch the Akron Resiliency Fund. The Fund will provide low-cost small business loans to help stabilize Akron’s small businesses. Long term, this fund will continue in perpetuity, supporting growth in the small business community of Akron while encouraging further investment in our local economy. The application is available starting today, October 14th and can be found HERE.

Eligible Businesses:

  • Are located in designated low- to moderate-income areas of the city. To see if your business is in an eligible area, visit the City of Akron’s Akron Resiliency Fund Location Eligibility Page and enter the business address
  • Have fewer than 50 employees, and at least 25% of those employees are Akron residents
  • Have annual gross revenues of less than $3 million
  • Are NOT a not-for-profit organization, or controlled by a not-for-profit organization
  • Are NOT engaged in the following business activities: racetrack, casino, liquor store, massage parlor, hot tub facility, country club, golf course, pawn show, payday loans, rental real estate, tobacco or vaping sales, internet café/skills game parlor
  • Loans cannot be used towards payroll compensation for the months of March through July if the applicant has received a PPP loan

Loans Proceeds can be used for:

  • payroll expenses
  • working capital
  • equipment purchase (including reimbursing purchases within the previous six months)
  • refinancing existing debt that resulted from legitimate business expenses, and where the interest rate is greater than 20%

Loan Terms

  • Interest 2.5% (no interest charged for the first 6 months)
  • Origination fee 3%
  • Payment schedule:
  • Months 1-6: $0
  • Months 7-12: Interest only
  • Months 13-60: Principal and interest payments

Application Process
Small businesses should verify eligibility for the Akron Resiliency Fund by entering the business address at the City of Akron’s Akron Resiliency Fund Location Eligibility Page and reviewing the eligibility criteria above. After confirming eligibility, business owners should complete and submit the Akron Resiliency Fund screening form. WRCF staff will review the screening form and send a loan application and request for additional information to the applicant.

Applicants should be prepared to provide WRCF the following information:

  • Most recent business tax return
  • Business banking statements
  • Payroll Reports
  • Current balance sheet and statement of activities
  • Detailed cash flow projections for the next three years, demonstrating the ability to repay the loan. A template can be provided if needed.
  • Proof of liability insurance and workers compensation insurance
  • Quotes or invoices for equipment to be purchased with the loan funds, if applicable
  • Documentation of debt to be refinanced, if applicable
  • Business Plan

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Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve has established the Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF).

More information on how to apply and eligibility requirements can be found here. Term sheets for each facility and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing more information regarding eligibility and conditions can be found below.

 

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Honeycomb Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loans

Honeycomb Credit is a debt crowdfunding platform that allows small businesses the opportunity to borrow directly from their community, including friends, family and loyal customers. To help deliver the working capital that businesses need, Honeycomb is offering 45-day payment free periods,  6-month interest-only periods and reducing posting, success, and investor fees. They are working to connect businesses with local investors as quickly as possible. Further information on these loans can be found here.

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HFLA of Northeast Ohio Small Business Loans

The HFLA of Northeast Ohio's COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan is for businesses located in Northeast Ohio who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan can be used to cover payroll, rent, and other expenses while business is slow (or paused).

In order to qualify:

  • The business should have been in business for a minimum of 12 months.
  • The business owner is required to meet with an HFLA business loan volunteer* to discuss how COVID-19 has affected their business.
  • The business owner needs to provide a recovery plan.
  • The business owner is required to check in periodically for support.

These interest-free business loans can disburse up to $5,000. Loans will be made to the business; business owner(s) (who own more than 20%), and business owner(s) will guarantee the loans. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, CLICK HERE.

 

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Paid Sick Leave & Family Medical Leave (FMLA)

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  This law requires all public employers and private employers with less than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave in certain circumstances and extended paid caregiver leave to employees who are absent from work for reasons related to the coronavirus.  The law will go into effect on April 2, 2020, and will expire on December 31, 2020.

As of January 1, 2021 mandatory benefits are expired. However, employers may voluntarily provide emergency paid sick leave or emergency paid FMLA leave under the FFCRA and take claim tax credits associated with this leave through March 31, 2021. 

More information can be found HERE.

 

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SharedWork Ohio

SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity. Under a SharedWork Ohio plan, the participating employer reduces affected employees’ hours in a uniform manner. The participating employee works the reduced hours each week, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) provides eligible individuals an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours.  Interested employers provide ODJFS with a list of participating employees and specify their normal weekly hours of work, not to exceed 40 hours and not including overtime. Part-time employees may be eligible, but all employees in an affected unit must have their hours reduced by the same reduction percentage. Reduction percentages must be at least 10 percent but no more than 50 percent of the normal weekly hours of work.  For more information, go to: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio/index.stm

 

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Unemployment Insurance

Find the latest updates and resources on the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services' Employer Resource Hub for coronavirus and unemployment insurance benefits.

**Major changes to unemployment assistance is being implemented following Congress's most recent COVID-19 relief bill, signed on December 27, 2020. Of note, it extends and amends the following pandemic unemployment programs and benefits through March 13, 2021:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Once implemented, will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of up to 50 weeks.
  • Will require a weekly certification specifying a specific “COVID-19 CARES Act reason,” beginning on January 26.
  • Will require individuals to substantiate employment or self-employment in the most recent tax year, beginning on January 31.
  • Will require identity verification at the outset of a claim, beginning on January 26.
  • Will impose new limitations on backdating claims.
  • Will be available until the week ending March 13. Those still eligible on March 13 and who have weeks remaining may file through April 10.
  • Will provide states with new authority to waive PUA and Lost Wages Assistance overpayments, under certain conditions.
  • Requires PUA appeals to be conducted in the same manner and extent as traditional unemployment appeals.

Update: The new law doesn’t simply extend PUA; it adds additional requirements and other changes requiring system programming. We are working to implement these as quickly as possible so that eligible claimants can receive payment. All claimants will receive all benefits for which they are eligible.

  • Claimants who had not exhausted the original 39 weeks provided by the CARES Act may now file weekly claims and receive payment.
  • Individuals who have exhausted their original entitlement do not need to file a new application or appeal prior determinations to be eligible for the additional 11 weeks of benefits. As soon as the additional weeks are programmed and available, a new monetary determination will be issued alerting you to the availability of the additional weeks. Individuals simply will need to file the additional weeks in sequence if they are still unemployed due to one of the stated COVID-19 reasons.
  • Claimants should gather documentation to support their employment or self-employment for the tax year prior to when they filed their original claim for benefits. Individuals who filed their original PUA claim in 2020 should gather documentation to support employment in 2019. New PUA applications filed in 2021 should include supportive documentation of employment in 2020.  Appropriate documents can include paycheck stubs, state or federal employer identification numbers, business licenses, tax documents, business receipts or a signed affidavit.
    Important: Please do not submit this documentation until you receive a notice telling you where to upload it and the timelines for doing so.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Once implemented, will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of up to 24 weeks, for eligible individuals who exhaust their traditional unemployment benefits
  • Will be available until the week ending March 13. Those still eligible on March 13 and who have weeks remaining may file through April 10.
  • Will provide states the option to allow individuals to continue receiving PEUC even if they qualify for traditional unemployment in a subsequent benefit year, if certain other conditions are met. This includes if their traditional unemployment weekly benefit amount would be at least $25 lower than the PEUC amount.

Update: The new law doesn’t simply extend PEUC; it adds additional requirements and other changes requiring system programming. We are working to implement these as quickly as possible so that eligible claimants can receive payment. All claimants will receive all benefits for which they are eligible.

  • New PEUC applications can be filed.
  • Those who previously were approved to receive up to 13 weeks of PEUC benefits through the CARES Act may file claims for those weeks and receive payment.
  • Individuals who have exhausted their original entitlement but remain unemployed should continue to file their weekly claim for unemployment. The weeks will show as “denied” until the system is programmed to process the additional weeks.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants in multiple programs.
  • Will be available for weeks of unemployment between December 27, 2020, and the week ending March 13, 2021.

Update: FPUC is now being paid for all programs except for the additional 11 weeks of PUA and PEUC made possible by the new legislation. We are working as quickly as possible to implement FPUC for the additional 11 weeks of PUA and PEUC. All claimants will receive all benefits for which they are eligible.

Employer Benefits

  • Extends full federal funding for Ohio’s SharedWork program.
  • Extends 50% credits to reimbursing employers for traditional unemployment benefit charges.
  • Extends federal payment of the first week of traditional unemployment benefits, at 50% instead of 100%.
  • Requires claimants to be notified about state return-to-work requirements.
  • Extends the waiver of interest to states whose Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds require federal borrowing.

In addition, the legislation created a new program:

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

  • For individuals eligible for traditional unemployment benefits who also have earned wages in self-employment.
  • Once implemented, will provide an additional $100 a week, on top of the $300 FPUC benefit.

There is no entitlement gap for most programs, and the legislation does not impact traditional unemployment benefits. In addition, ODJFS expects that the programs and benefits that were extended with little to no changes in the new law – such a full federal funding of SharedWork Ohio, continuation of federal funding for the first week of benefits, and continued claims in PEUC and PUA that still have weeks remaining to file – will be up and running shortly.

Because many of the provisions contain complex additional requirements, more detailed guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor must be analyzed before system programming can be conducted and benefits paid. We ask for everyone’s patience as that occurs. Please continue to check this web page for updates.

CONTINUED ASSISTANCE ACT (CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT)
PROGRAM DATE OF ENACTMENT DATE OF DOL GUIDANCE DATE OF PRODUCTION TOTAL TIME FROM FINAL GUIDANCE TO PAYMENTS TOTAL TIME FROM ENACTMENT TO PAYMENTS
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • 13 weeks continuation
12/27/2020 12/31/2020 12/31/2020 0 days 4 days
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • 11 additional weeks
12/27/2020 12/31/2020 01/31/21*
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • 39 weeks continuation
12/27/2020 04/05/2020, 05/15/2020,
07/21/2020, 08/27/2020
1/12/2021
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • 11 additional weeks
12/27/2020 01/08/2021 02/26/2021*
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • New applications
12/27/2020 01/08/2021 02/06/2021*
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • $300 supplement
12/27/2020 01/05/2021 01/12/2021

  • PUA 39 Weeks

01/16/2021

  • Reg UI
  • PEUC 13 Weeks
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) 12/27/2020 01/05/2021 TBD

*Indicates target dates

Last Updated: January 21, 2021

Unemployment Insurance Charges

The State of Ohio has modified eligibility for employees who lose their jobs as a result of a coronavirus-related shut down in order to provide benefits more efficiently to those impacted.  For employers, the State has indicated that the State is allowing allows unemployment benefit charges to be mutualized for contributory employers. In addition, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive penalties for late reporting and payments during Ohio's emergency declaration period.  For more information about unemployment insurance charges, please go to: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Additionally, for employers forced to layoff employees as a result of the epidemic, Ohio has provided a common WARN number to speed the processing of unemployment benefits.  The common WARN number is 2000180. For more information on WARN, click here.

 

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Banking & Insurance Relief Programs

The Ohio Bankers League is compiling a list of payment deferral programs, fee waivers, and other relief measures, for both consumer and business clients.  Details on these relief measures, including contact information for each institution, can be found here.

Many insurance carriers have announced their assistance in modifying premium payment terms, including introducing grace periods, new cancellation terms, waived late fees, and more.  Click here to find a list of such programs offered by various insurance carriers.

 

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Worker's Compensation

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has announced that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020, at which time the matter will be reconsidered. This is for both public and private employers.  Additionally, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will not lapse (cancel) coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the COVID-19 epidemic. For additional information regarding changes to the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation policy due to the COVID-19 epidemic, please click here.  For FAQs from the Bureau of Worker's Compensation, updated 4/8/2020, click here.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has asked the BWC to send up to $1.6 billion to Ohio employers to ease the economic impact of COVID-19.  This dividend amount roughly equals the total amount employers paid in 2018 premiums, and checks are slated to be mailed to employers in April.  For more information, click here.

 

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Other Resources

Below is a listing of Additional Relief Resources that are available to businesses in the Greater Akron area as we navigate the COVID-19 epidemic.  We will continue to update this page as additional resources become available or are imminent.

HR and Other Administration Considerations

These Society for Human Resource Management resources that may be useful during the pandemic, such as templates for memos, work-from-home and travel policies, and protocols for health screening.  Additional such resources may be found through ERC.

 

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Hiring Opportunities

While this is a difficult time for many businesses, we understand that some of our employers are actively hiring at this time.  If you have positions that you are looking to fill, we strongly encourage you to post these opportunities through OhioMeansJobs Summit County at www.summitomj.org, where we are compiling immediate hiring opportunities.  For more information, please contact Nick Kapusinski at nicholas.kapusinski@summitomj.org, or at (330) 630-4604.

 

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Partner Organizations & Industry-Specific Resources

Nonprofits, Self-Employed, and Gig Economy Workers – For more resources geared specifically towards nonprofits, arts and culture organizations, artists and gig economy workers, compiled by ArtsNow, click here.

Downtown Akron – For more resources geared specifically towards Downtown Akron, click here.

Manufacturers The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association has compiled a resource page specifically for manufacturers that can be accessed here.  For additional information, see MAGNET’s resources for manufacturers, guidance on keeping your factory virus-free, and other best practices during this pandemic.

HaulersThe Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is issuing a special blanket permit for haulers carrying oversized loads of food, non-alcoholic beverages, medical supplies, cleaning products, and other household goods.  For more information, click here.

Faith Community – for detail on how churches can apply for SBA loans and other COVID-related resources, click here.

Hotels, Hospitality, and Community Partners – visit www.akronrebound.comfor more information on the new initiative created for Akron/Summit County hospitality industry partners, community stakeholders, and local/regional residents.

Talent/Workforce Strategies – ConxusNEO supports employers to develop innovative strategies that fill open positions and build a talent pipeline.  Industry-specific resources are available for manufacturing, healthcare, and tech talent.  Support to fill other high-demand positions in food supply chain and logistics is also available.  For more information, click here.

 

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Greater Akron Community Updates

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Greater Akron Chamber hosted a virtual meeting with regional health care leaders and elected officials, to share updates and guidance on the ongoing pandemic, to field questions on how manufacturers and other businesses can help, and what we might expect in the days to come.  Watch a recording of the meeting here and see Q&A content here.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the Greater Akron Chamber hosted a virtual meeting with regional health care leaders, state agencies, and elected officials to share updates and guidance on the ongoing pandemic, share new developments, and to field questions on how recent legislation will expand economic resources to businesses and individuals.  Watch a recording of the meeting here, and view the presentation slides here.

 

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Ohio Emergency PPE Makers' Exchange

The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 has launched the Ohio Emergency PPE Makers’ Exchange, an online marketplace where organizations that need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and related equipment can find a selection offered by Ohio manufacturers and makers -- many of which have retooled to produce in-demand products.

On this Makers’ Exchange, search for the organizations that responded to the plea for PPE. And get in touch to see if a match can be made between what you need or offer – to keep the essential products flowing to stem COVID-19.

Go to www.repurposingproject.com for more information about the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19.

Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program

This program will provide awards of up to $500,000 to small and medium-sized manufacturers so they can repurpose existing facilities to make PPE or reshore PPE production to Ohio. These grants will allow small manufacturers and other entities an opportunity to create new business while contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

Grant funds can be used to offset costs incurred to acquire the equipment necessary to manufacture PPE, retool, or construct facilities in Ohio to manufacture PPE (including, but not limited to, building costs, design/engineering costs, facility expansion, complying with FDA requirements) and technological upgrades. Only costs incurred after March 21, 2020, (the date of Governor DeWine’s state of emergency declaration in Ohio due to COVID-19) will be eligible for reimbursement.

The grant program will be funded with $20 million, and eligible manufacturers may be awarded grants of up to $500,000 per facility. Up to 20 percent of available funding may be reserved for manufacturers with fewer than 25 employees and registered nonprofits.

Companies must meet program requirements, including:

  • The applicant must qualify as a small business as defined by the SBA (typically 500 employees or fewer) or be an established nonprofit.
  • The applicant must be able to produce the PPE solely at an Ohio facility owned and operated by the applicant.
  • The applicant must be one of the following:
    • An existing manufacturer that either has retooled or is planning to retool its facility or otherwise modify its manufacturing operation to produce at least one type of PPE.
    • A new manufacturing operation being established for the purpose of manufacturing at least one type of PPE.
    • A nonprofit corporation that has undertaken or will undertake activities necessary to manufacture at least one type of PPE.

The Ohio Development Services Agency will administer the grant program in coordination with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

For more info, please click here.

PPE – Supply Chain

In an effort to help small to mid-size companies comply with newly established health and safety guidelines, the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, Portage Development Board, and Greater Akron Chamber partnered with both MAGNET and Team NEO to identify companies in the Tri-County Region having access to the PPE supply chain.

While not exhaustive, these lists are an initial attempt to provide small to mid-size companies with local options for their PPE needs.  If you are aware of additional companies in Medina, Portage or Summit Counties providing PPE, please feel free to contact Gregg Cramer at gcramer@greaterakronchamber.org.

Summit County Public Health – Request for Donations of Styrofoam Containers

As the COVID-19 situation in Summit County continues to evolve, our community is preparing to ramp up testing capabilities/capacity. In order to ship the testing specimens to the labs, Summit County Public Health is in need of Styrofoam shipping containers at least 12”X12” and no larger than the size of a home cooler. If your company has Styrofoam containers to donate please drop them off between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm (Monday-Friday) at 1867 West Market Street in Akron.  We appreciate the business community’s support in the collection of this greatly needed item as we collectively work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to coordinate the drop off of your donation, please feel free to contact the Summit County Public Health at 330-926-5795.

 

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2020 BWC News from CareWorks Comp

CareWorks Comp is acutely aware that the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is an escalating global health concern. In light of this, clients will need their support more than ever in meeting the needs of their employees. CareWorks Comp also recognizes that a widespread outbreak could place increased demands on their capacity to meet those needs. They are fully committed to maintaining all services critical to the welfare of their clients and their employees.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to provide the most timely and thorough information to all of their clients, they have included both public and private employer updates in one newsletter.  Please note that some of this information will not apply to you if you are a public employer.

 

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Workplace Posters