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.

Please direct specific questions on the Responsible RestartOhio guidelines and related enforcement to SCPH at https://www.scph.org/responsiblerestart.

 

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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.

**IMPORTANT UPDATES**

Updated PPP Loan Forgiveness (for Loan 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:

EIDL Applications have REOPENED

As of Monday, June 15th and to further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19. For more info, please click here.

Paycheck Protection Program / SBA 7(a) Loan Program

**Current law dictates that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) close at the end of August 8, 2020. As such, SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders. Additional funding and application windows are being considered in Congress.
The CARES Act created 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 SBA lenders.  Click here for FAQs on PPP loans, updated August 4, 2020.

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.
    • For businesses with a PPP loan under $2 million, the SBA will automatically consider your good-faith requirement to be certified.
  • 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. As part of the forgiveness process, the business must certify the loan was 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.
  • All PPP loan funds not used for eligible purposes, as detailed above, enter into a 2-year loan agreement, at 1% interest.  Payments may be deferred for 6 months.  Interest will accrue over this 6-month deferral period.
  • The loan amounts will be forgiven if:
    • The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the next 24-week period after the loan is made; and
    • Employee compensation levels are maintained.
      • Note that payroll costs are capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee.
    • Click here to view the updated application for PPP loan forgiveness.
    • Click here to view the EZ PPP loan forgiveness application. 
    • Click here to view SBA guidelines on the forgiveness process
  • Applications for SBA 7(a) PPP loans will be conducted through SBA-approved lenders. Click here to find an approved lender near you. Click here for a sample PPP application form.
    • Please note that timelines related to individual applications and any resulting funding will vary. We encourage all applicants to actively communicate with their lender, as well as educate themselves on the available resources.

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 three business 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 ($1,000 per employee). 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.  Also, you can view the application here.  Need help navigating?  Watch this video tutorial that walks you through the application.  Or, 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:
      • 3/20/20 - 1:45 PM recording, Access Password: qpd7p8
      • 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.

 

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Summit County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program

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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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

HFLA of Northeast Ohio, with the support of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, is offering loans of up to $5,000 to support small businesses.  These loans can be used for payroll, rent, and other expenses.  To be eligible, business owners should have been in business for a minimum of 12 months and will need to meet with an HFLA business loan volunteer to discuss how COVID-19 has affected them, their plans for recovery, and to check in periodically for support.  Any business owner with more than 20% ownership will guarantee the loan.  Find the application form here.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Changes to Unemployment Programs

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed on March 27, 2020, created three new federal programs for Americans who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance (LWA)

LWA was made possible by an executive memorandum issued on August 8, 2020. The program provides grants to participating states to use Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to provide supplemental assistance to individuals who are partially or totally unemployed, or working reduced hours under a SharedWork Ohio plan, because of COVID-19. Ohio applied for a grant and was approved to provide weekly $300 supplemental payments to eligible individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Trade benefits, SharedWork Ohio benefits and extended unemployment benefits for one or more weeks ending August 1 through September 5, 2020.

For more information on how to apply for expanded unemployment benefits, please click HERE.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who historically have not qualified for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, part-time workers, and those who lack sufficient work history. Individuals who have exhausted all regular unemployment and any federal and state extensions also may be eligible. PUA is available through December 31, 2020. To be eligible, individuals must not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and must meet one of the following circumstances:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual has quit his/her job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • For more information on how to apply for expanded unemployment benefits, please click HERE.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

FPUC provides an additional $600 a week to existing benefit amounts for those in multiple programs, including but not limited to regular unemployment benefits, PUA, Trade benefits, and SharedWork Ohio benefits. The first payment includes any retroactive payments claimants may be eligible for. This payment was available from April 4 through July 25.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

PEUC provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for Ohioans who exhaust their maximum 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. This program also began on March 29; it will end on December 26. Those who are eligible will receive instructions for how to apply.

For those unemployed Ohioans who don't qualify for regular unemployment benefits, Ohioans can begin applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and get information on other COVID-19 related unemployment support HERE.

 

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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