RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

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.  We will continue to update this page as additional resources become available, or are imminent.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans

The. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has created or expanded two loans programs that can assist businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.  Companies may decide to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) or a 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, or both.  Below is an overview of both loan types to help businesses decide which loans they may wish to apply for.  For additional overview and FAQs on various SBA relief programs, click here.

Paycheck Protection Program / SBA 7(a) Loan Program

The CARES Act creates the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through an expansion of the SBA 7(a) loan program.  Congress has designed the program to make funds available to qualifying businesses quickly through approved banks, credit unions and nonbank lenders (Treasury and SBA are able to approve lenders that are not currently SBA-approved).  The SBA has 30 days since enactment of the CARES Act (which occurred on Friday, March 27, 2020) to finalize the rules for this new loan program; please speak to your banker to learn when the application process may begin for PPP loans.

Below are the eligibility criteria and details of the PPP loan program:

  • Employers are eligible if they have under 500 employees and are structured as partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, associations, independent contractors, sole proprietors, gig-economy workers, self-employed, non-profit 501(c)(3), trusts, cooperatives, or joint ventures (for which there is no more than 49 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture).
  • Additional employers are eligible if they have over 500 employees and are in an industry where the business is still considered a small business under the SBA’s size standards, found here.
  • Such entities will be eligible to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020.  To establish harm, the business will need to be able to certify that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan to support ongoing operations.  Furthermore, the applying entities must have been operational by February 15, 2020, had payroll, and paid taxes.
  • This program provides a business with funding of up to 2.5 times the business’s monthly payroll expenses, or $10 million, whichever is less, during the one-year period prior to loan origination.
  • Eligible expenses include payroll, insurance, rent, mortgage and utilities.  The business must certify the loan will be used for eligible expenses.
  • The loan has no collateral or personal guarantee requirements, it also does not require the business to prove it cannot get credit elsewhere.
  • The loan rates are maximum 4% with deferred payments for 6-12 months.
  • The amount spent by the borrower in the first 8 weeks from loan origination may be forgiven if workforce is maintained through June 30, 2020.  Amounts spent on payroll costs (not including costs for compensation above $100,000 annually), interest payments on mortgages, rent payments, and utility payments between February 15 and June 30, 2020.  Loan forgiveness will be reduced if the borrower reduces employment by a ratio similar to their reduction in employment or if borrower reduces salaries and wages by more than 25%.
  • Anything not forgiven or repaid by 12/31/20 will be converted to a max 10-year loan at a max 4% interest rate
  • There is a 100% loan guarantee through 12/31/20. The guarantee will remain on the permanent loan.
  • Applications for 7(a) PPP loans will be conducted through SBA-approved lenders.  Please contact your business banking institution to apply.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are low-interest loans designed to help small businesses harmed by COVID-19, with funding up to $2 million per applicant.  EIDL applicants are further eligible for $10,000 grants that are typically made available within just a few days of applying.

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
  • Any small business or private non-profit harmed by COVID-19 that completes an application for an EIDL can then request an Economic Injury Grant (EIG), which is an emergency advance of up to $10,000.  This advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.
  • Businesses must have been operational by 1/31/2020.
  • This program provides a business with funding of up to $2 million, with principal and interest deferment available for up to 4 years.
  • 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.  Need help?  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.
    • Please be advised that due to heavy online traffic, visitors to these websites may experience significant delays.  If possible, consider visiting the sites during off-peak hours.  Additionally, please ensure that all questions that apply to your business on your application are filled in before submitting, to ensure consideration of our application.
  • 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.
    • Greater Akron Chamber SBA Loan Overview Virtual Meeting Recording:

A small business or non-profit can apply for both an EIDL and a PPP loan.  If you ultimately receive a PPP loan, or refinance an EIDL into a PPP loan, any advance amount received under the Economic Injury Grant (EIG) program will be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the PPP.

Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program

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.

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 finalizing details for the application and review process and are targeting the start of the program for the week of April 6, 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.

Paid Sick Leave & Family Medical Leave (FMLA)

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a requirement of all employers with fewer than 500 employees to distribute to all of their employees an informational notice about paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19, found here.  Employers may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to their employees, or posting it on an internal or external employee information website.  For additional guidance from the DOL on new employer requirements from the FFCRA, click here.

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.  This alert summarizes the major requirements of the law relating to employers.  The law provides employers with a refundable tax credit for benefits paid up to the caps set forth therein.  A tax credit is also available for qualified health plan expenses.

The CARES Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, alters the FFCRA provisions as follows.  Paid family medical leave under FFCRA is capped at $200 per day, and $10,000 in aggregate.  Paid sick leave under FFCRA is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in aggregate; this amount drops to $200 per day and $2,000 in aggregate for sick leave when taken to care for a family member or because of a school disclosure.  Workers who are laid off after March 1, 2020, but then are rehired are eligible for paid FMLA leave.  Employers can keep money they would have deposited for payroll taxes in anticipation of refunds from the Treasury for paid sick and paid FMLA leave provided to employees, including amounts that would have been refunded.

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

Unemployment Insurance

Changes to Unemployment Programs

Under the CARES Act, unemployment insurance benefits are being extended by 13 weeks, and a flat $600 per week increase is added to each recipient’s benefit amount for a four-month period.  Additionally, unemployment insurance benefits have been extended to those typically not eligible for such benefits, including but not limited to self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, workers seeking part-time work, and workers without a long-enough work history to typically qualify.

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.

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.

Worker's Compensation

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation 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.

Liquor Buyback Program

For bars and restaurants looking that have been required to close because of the epidemic, the Ohio Department of Commerce is offering a one-time liquor buyback option. This will especially aid those establishments that stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick's Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons.  Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high-proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.

Extension to Filing Taxes

The deadline to file 2019 federal, state, and municipal income tax returns and pay any applicable 2019 taxes has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

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.

Essential Businesses

We strongly encourage each business owner to be thoughtful about whether they are considered essential or not.  If you are remaining open and operating on-site with employees coming in to work, we suggest it is prudent to document your rationale for being considered essential, make sure your paid sick leave policy is up to date, and weigh the risks of on-site operation fairly.

For guidance from the Ohio Department of Health as to whether your business is part of the essential critical infrastructure, and may continue to operate during the State’s Stay-at-Home Order, please click here and here.  For additional guidance on identification of essential critical infrastructure that is exempted from the Stay-At-Home Order, find CISA’s assessment here.

For businesses with ongoing, essential operations, please review the Guidelines for Essential Businesses and Operations from the Ohio Department of Health.

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.

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.

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.

Health-Related Resources for Businesses

For additional resources for economic support for small businesses and nonprofits throughout the state of Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Public Health's COVID-19 webpage.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 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.

Elevate Greater Akron partners have been working directly with our local hospitals to identify Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is critical, and increasingly in short supply, as our national health care system confronts the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE – Supply Chain

The Elevate Greater Akron partners have been working directly with our local hospitals to identify Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is critical, and increasingly in short supply, as our national health care system confronts the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with ConxusNEO, MAGNET, Ohio Manufacturing Alliance (OMA) and Team NEO/JobsOhio, we are working to identify companies currently producing PPE or that have the capability and capacity to align or retool efforts in support of our statewide goal to increase PPE production.  Items include sanitizers, swabs for test kits, face shields, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, goggles and medical gowns. The items need to be produced to particular specs to ensure effectiveness and appropriate levels of protection for both health care personnel and patients.  The Greater Akron Chamber can connect your company with industry specialists to vet PPE projects and proposals, including business-to-business matchmaking, materials, procurement and specs.

If you or your company can help in this regard or want to learn more about the PPE Supply Chain, please contact us at covid19@greaterakronchamber.org.  For additional information regarding our statewide efforts to support manufacturing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including PPE, please access the Ohio Manufacturing Association website at https://www.ohiomfg.com/covid-19-resources/.

PPE – Donations

In partnership with both Summit County Public Health and the Summit County Emergency Management Agency, Elevate Greater Akron is accepting PPE donations that are in need by our local health care providers and first responders, including police, fire and EMS.  If your company has PPE items such as hand sanitizers or wipes, swabs for test kits, face shields, N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, goggles or medical gowns that you would like to donate, please contact Summit County Public Health at 330-926-5795 to discuss the items in greater detail and coordinate a drop-off.

Workplace Posters