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State and Federal COVID-19 Updates:

For more State of Ohio updates visit: coronavirus.ohio.gov
For more federal updates visit: cdc.gov/coronavirus 

  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that coronavirus cases increased by 476 and deaths increased by 54, reaching respective totals of 33,915 and 2,098. 

    >> For the week ending May 23, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 42,082 initial unemployment claims.

    • "The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last 10 weeks (1,257,838) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years," ODJFS said in a news release. 

    >> State Capital re-appropriations bills, previously approved money, is typically a routine initiative, but this year’s activity could change that.

    • The Ohio Senate introduced their version of a re-appropriations bill, SB 316.
    • The Ohio House also has a version of a capital re-appropriations bill, HB 670.
    • The capital re-appropriations bills each plan to have emergency clauses attached to ensure that there is no lapse in funding for existing capital projects at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
    • However, the House as-introduced version is nearly half the size of the Senate version in terms of funded projects.
    • HB 670 proposes spending almost $700 million on previously approved state capital projects, compared to nearly $1.2 billion in the version before the Ohio Senate.
    • The Senate version reflects the full amount of money state lawmakers previously approved to be spent on projects that either haven not begun or are incomplete.
    • The debate will likely focus on the fact that the Senate version includes, but the House version removes, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) projects.
    • It is expected that a re-appropriations bill will pass by the end of June.

    >> As some businesses continue to fear a wave of coronavirus-related litigation as they emerge from COVID-19, Ohio policymakers are continuing to debate some form of temporary immunity for the pandemic.

    • Under changes proposed by Senator Matt Huffman, SB 308 would extend immunity to businesses, health care workers and their facilities, religious institutions, state and local governments, public colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations through April 1, 2021.
       - It would cover claims of exposure to coronavirus while on the entities' premises unless there was intentional or willful misconduct.
       - SB 308 is still in Committee and there may be more changes to it next week and a new version.
    • A variation is also in the Ohio House, HB 606, and it was passed by the full House on Thursday.
       - A workers’ comp amendment was successfully offered and included in HB 606 by Representative Brigid Kelly; the amendment would make prison staff, grocery-store workers, and first-responders eligible for workers’ compensation should they catch the virus.
    • The key difference between the two versions now appears to be that the health care immunity language in the Senate is a willful standard, while the House changed it to a reckless standard.
    • Also, the dates at which immunity ends is different – the House immunity standard would end December 31, 2020.

    >> The Ohio Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to curb local authority to ban plastic bags and other disposable containers. The bill now heads back to the Ohio House because the Senate changed the House version from a permanent ban to a one-year moratorium.

    >> The next application period of the TechCred program will open June 1 through June 30; TechCred helps Ohioans learn new skills and helps employers build stronger workforces with skills needed in today’s economy and many of the trainings are available online.

    • Employers awarded in October 2019 and January 2020, who had credential programs interrupted by the crisis, may request to extend their 18-month award eligibility timeline.
     Employees can now earn multiple credentials during each application period. 

    >> As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, which ends on June 30.

    • These budget reductions, in addition to identifying areas of savings, are deemed necessary to ensure Ohio fulfills its constitutional requirement of maintaining a balanced state budget each year.
    • The budget reductions for the Ohio Development Services Agency (DAS) will preclude their ability to award funding to any of the applications submitted for the Industry Sector Partnership Program in the current fiscal year. At this time, all applications submitted for funding will be retained. If funding is available for the program next fiscal year, DAS will proceed with scoring the applications currently received and awarding grant funds in accordance with the program guidelines. 

    >> Last week, Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

    • On June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
    • Guidance for these Orders are here: baseballgolfgeneral non-contact sports, and skills training.
    • Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> Governor DeWine announced a plan to lift restrictions on visitation at assisted living homes in Ohio. Beginning June 8, 2020, properly prepared assisted living facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities can begin to allow outdoor visitation. The lifted restriction does not yet apply to nursing homes.

    • Each facility can determine how to best implement outdoor visitations, however, at a minimum, all facilities must develop a policy that includes: screening for temperatures and symptom-reporting for visitors; scheduled hours and time limits for visits; proper social distancing measures; face coverings; Resident, family, and friend education about the risks of the spread of COVID-19. Consideration for visitors during end-of-life situations will also be expanded

    >> The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is deferring Ohio employers' premium installments for the months of June, July, and August.

    • Businesses will have the option to defer the monthly premium payments with no financial penalties.
    • This is the second payment deferral BWC has given to employers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    >> On Tuesday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has at least delayed a lower court ruling ordering Ohio to accept electronically collected signatures for ballot initiatives and delaying the filing deadline, writing that the district court exceeded its authority by rewriting Ohio election law.

    • The order blocked the lower court decision and remains in effect while the appeals court continues its review of the case.
    • Under Ohio law, proposed constitutional amendments aiming for the November ballot must submit valid signatures from 452,958 voters collected from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties before a July 1 deadline and there are two initiatives seeking to secure constitutional amendments on the Ohio ballot.
       - “Ohioans for Secure & Fair Elections”: would allow for same-day voter registration and the ability to cast a ballot during early voting and on Election Day.
       - “Ohioans for Raising the Wage”: want to raise Ohio’s minimum wage incrementally to $13 by 2025.

    >> Reuters: In about three months, more Americans have died from COVID-19 than during the Korean War, Vietnam War and the U.S. conflict in Iraq from 2003-2011 combined.

    • The new respiratory disease has also killed more people than the AIDS epidemic did from 1981 through 1989, and it is far deadlier than the seasonal flu has been in decades.
    • The last time the flu killed as many people in the United States was in the 1957-1958 season, when 116,000 died. 

    >> The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed bi-partisan legislation, H.R. 7010, to provide small businesses with more flexibility while using loans provided through the Paycheck Protection Program.

    • The final legislation that passed the House today is different than the legislative text from earlier this week.
    • Most notably, instead of striking the 75/25 rule, this bill would give small businesses the ability to spend more of the money on non-payroll costs. The current terms of the loans require recipients to use 75 percent of the funds on payroll and up to 25 percent on other costs to qualify for loan forgiveness. But the legislation would change the ratio to at least 60 percent on payroll and up to 40 percent on rent, overhead and other costs.
    • Additionally, the extension of the loan maturity period from two to five years would only be for new PPP loans and would not be retroactive, however current borrowers and their lenders could agree to an extension.
    • The bill would give small businesses up to 24 weeks, up from the current eight weeks, to use the loans and extend the deadline for rehiring workers from June 30 to the end of this year.
    • The bill now heads to the Senate, which also has a version similar to what the House has passed, but it presently only extends the time frame for small businesses to spend the funds to 16 weeks instead of 24 weeks.

    >> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Congress will “probably” have to pass another coronavirus relief package, with talks expected to take place “in the next month or so” on a bill.

    >> On Tuesday, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations clarifying the reporting requirements generally applicable to tax-exempt organizations.

    • The final regulations reflect statutory amendments and certain grants of reporting relief announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS in prior guidance to help many tax-exempt organizations generally find the reporting requirements in one place.
    • Among other provisions, the final regulations incorporate the existing exception from having to file an annual return for certain organizations that normally have gross receipts of $50,000 or less. That exception was previously announced in Revenue Procedure 2011-15. The regulations also provide that the requirement to report contributor names and addresses on annual returns generally applies only to returns filed by Section 501(c)(3) organizations and Section 527 political organizations. All tax-exempt organizations must continue to maintain the names and addresses of their substantial contributors in their books and records. This change will have no effect on transparency, as contributor information that is open to public inspection will be unaffected by this regulation.
    • The final regulations allow tax-exempt organizations to choose to apply the regulations to returns filed after September 6, 2019.

    >> The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing relief for taxpayers developing renewable energy projects and producing electricity from sources such as wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, and hydropower. 

    >> The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing steps employers can follow to implement social distancing in the workplace and to help protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA launched a webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. 

    >> The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today issued a proposed regulation updating the federal income tax withholding rules for periodic retirement and annuity payments made after December 31, 2020.

    >> An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to decrease regulations to boost the economy may lead to court challenges.

    • The order directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” highlighting that regulations could be permanently or temporarily lifted to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus.


  • >> The Ohio Senate introduced their version of a re-appropriations bill, SB 316, on Tuesday.

    • The Senate Finance Committee will meet Wednesday for its first hearing on the legislation.
    • The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks will present and Chairman Matt Dolan will provide sponsor testimony during the hearing.

    >> The Ohio House also has a version of a capital re-appropriations bill, HB 670.

    • The House Finance Committee will also hold its first hearing on HB 670 on Wednesday with sponsor testimony provided by Representative Derek Merrin.

    >> The capital re-appropriations bills will each have emergency clauses attached to ensure that there is not a lapse in funding for existing capital projects at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. However, the House as-introduced version is nearly half the size of the Senate version in terms of funded projects, which is expected to require negotiations over the next several weeks. The debate will focus on the fact that the Senate version includes, but the House version removes, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), and Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) projects. As of now, it is expected that a re-appropriations bill will pass by the end of June.

    >> The Ohio House Civil Justice will have its fifth hearing for possible amendments and a vote on civil immunity legislation, HB 606, on Wednesday; the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its fourth hearing on SB 308 on similar legislation with possible amendments.

    >> The Ohio House Finance Committee will hold its fifth hearing for all testimony on broadband expansion legislation, HB 13.

    >> COVID-19 signage and health screening questions for use with customers/clients as resources for businesses and other organizations are available on the coronavirus website

    >> Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that newly-formed Congregate Care Unified Response Teams, which include medically-trained members of the Ohio National Guard, have been deployed to provide COVID-19 testing to long-term care facilities, which have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. 

    >> As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, which ends on June 30.

    • These budget reductions, in addition to identifying areas of savings, are deemed necessary to ensure Ohio fulfills its constitutional requirement of maintaining a balanced state budget each year.
    • The budget reductions for the Ohio Development Services Agency (DAS) will preclude their ability to award funding to any of the applications submitted for the Industry Sector Partnership Program in the current fiscal year. At this time, all applications submitted for funding will be retained. If funding is available for the program next fiscal year, DAS will proceed with scoring the applications currently received and awarding grant funds in accordance with the program guidelines.

    >> Last week, Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

    • On June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
    • Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> On Tuesday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has at least delayed a lower court ruling ordering Ohio to accept electronically collected signatures for ballot initiatives and delaying the filing deadline, writing that the district court exceeded its authority by rewriting Ohio election law.

    • The order blocked the lower court decision and remains in effect while the appeals court continues its review of the case.
    • Under Ohio law, proposed constitutional amendments aiming for the November ballot must submit valid signatures from 452,958 voters collected from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties before a July 1 deadline and there are two initiatives seeking to secure constitutional amendments on the Ohio ballot.
      -"Ohioans for Secure & Fair Elections”: would allow for same-day voter registration and the ability to cast a ballot during early voting and on Election Day.
      -“Ohioans for Raising the Wage”: want to raise Ohio’s minimum wage incrementally to $13 by 2025.

    >> As of May 25, the Small Business Administration has approved 430,906 Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications resulting in $37.8 billion in disaster loan funds available to assist businesses and their employees.

    • The SBA has also approved over 4.4 million Paycheck Protection Program applications resulting in $511.2 billion available to assist businesses and their employees.

    >> The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to reconvene, with possible votes expected to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and on legislation to change parts of the small business loan program that launched in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    >> Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday Congress will “probably” have to pass another coronavirus relief package, with talks expected to take place “in the next month or so” on a bill.

    >> On Tuesday, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations clarifying the reporting requirements generally applicable to tax-exempt organizations.

    • The final regulations reflect statutory amendments and certain grants of reporting relief announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS in prior guidance to help many tax-exempt organizations generally find the reporting requirements in one place.
    • Among other provisions, the final regulations incorporate the existing exception from having to file an annual return for certain organizations that normally have gross receipts of $50,000 or less. That exception was previously announced in Revenue Procedure 2011-15. The regulations also provide that the requirement to report contributor names and addresses on annual returns generally applies only to returns filed by Section 501(c)(3) organizations and Section 527 political organizations. All tax-exempt organizations must continue to maintain the names and addresses of their substantial contributors in their books and records. This change will have no effect on transparency, as contributor information that is open to public inspection will be unaffected by this regulation.
    • The final regulations allow tax-exempt organizations to choose to apply the regulations to returns filed after September 6, 2019.

    >> The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is seeking public comments on how to improve the exclusion process for tariffs and quotas imposed on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (“Section 232”). 

    >> An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to decrease regulations to boost the economy may lead to court challenges.

    • The order directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” highlighting that regulations could be permanently or temporarily lifted to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

    >> For more information on the President’s phased-in approach, in response to COVID-19, based on the advice of public experts see below:

    • Guidelines for Opening Up America Again
    ▪ Testing Overview (HERE)
    ▪ Testing Blueprint (HERE)
    ▪ Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (HERE)
    ▪ CDC guidance for Camps, Child Care Programs, Schools, Mass Transit, Restaurants And Bars, and Workplaces
    ▪ CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again (HERE)

  • >> The Ohio House introduced its version of a capital re-appropriations bill, HB 670. The House Finance Committee will hold its first hearing on HB 670 on Wednesday with sponsor testimony provided by Representative Derek Merrin.

    • The Ohio Senate is expected to introduce its own version of a re-appropriations bill. The Senate Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday to hold its first hearing on the legislation that has not yet been introduced. The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks will present and Finance Chair Matt Dolan will provide sponsor testimony during the hearing.
    • The capital re-appropriations bills will each have emergency clauses attached to ensure that there is not a lapse in funding for existing capital projects at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

    >> As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020, which ends on June 30.

    • These budget reductions, in addition to identifying areas of savings, are necessary to ensure Ohio fulfills its constitutional requirement of maintaining a balanced state budget each year.
    • The budget reductions for the Ohio Development Services Agency (DAS) will preclude their ability to award funding to any of the applications submitted for the Industry Sector Partnership Program in the current fiscal year. At this time, all applications submitted for funding will be retained. If funding is available for the program next fiscal year, DAS will proceed with scoring the applications currently received and awarding grant funds in accordance with the program guidelines.

    >> Last week, Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

    • On May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.
    • On May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.
    • On June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
    • Guidance for these Orders are here: baseball, golf, general non-contact sports, and skills training.
    • Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> Last week, Governor DeWine announced initial findings from his Minority Health Strike Force:

    • The Minority Health Strike Force’s preliminary report will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov and final recommendations will be issued on June 11.
    • Examples of these recommendations include: establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color; expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations; using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need; developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.
    • A new position will be created within the Ohio Department of Health dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. This person’s work will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio’s response to COVID-19.

    >> The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 1,637,456 coronavirus cases and said that the number of deaths had risen by 620 to 97,669.

    >> On May 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S. Canada borders in order to limit the further spread of the coronavirus.

    • These measures were implemented on March 21 and were originally in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension.
    • On April 20, these measures were extended for an additional 30 days and, on May 19, these measures were once again extended until June 22.

    >> The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is seeking public comments on how to improve the exclusion process for tariffs and quotas imposed on steel and aluminum imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (“Section 232”). 

    >> On Friday, the President identified houses of worship as essential places that provide essential services as communities reopen. Read the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith. 

    >> Reports out of Washington indicate there may be a level of bi-partisan support to extend the eight-week statutory duration of the Paycheck Protection Program to 10 or 12 weeks.

    • Separately, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said there’s “strong likelihood” that additional federal intervention will be needed to help businesses and workers as states start to re-open and the economy struggles to stabilize.
    • The administration and many Republicans in Congress still may want to first gauge the effect of trillions of dollars already appropriated.

    >> The U.S. House of Representatives will convene on Tuesday for a pro forma session.

    >> The U.S. Senate will also meet for a pro forma session on Tuesday and plans to return to Washington on June 1.

                    
  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that cases of coronavirus increased by 731 and deaths increased by 55 from Wednesday, reaching respective totals of 30,167 and 1,836. Cases have resulted in 5,295 hospitalizations and 1,397 intensive care unit admissions. Nursing home deaths account for at least 70 percent of the total coronavirus deaths in Ohio.

    >> As U.S. states and countries around the world look to boost their economies by loosening restrictions, coronavirus infections continue to spread, with more than a million new infections world-wide in less than two weeks.

    • Globally there are more than 5.1 million recorded cases of the coronavirus, up from 3.85 million two weeks ago, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and more than 333,000 deaths.
    • In the U.S., there have been nearly 1.58 million confirmed infections. The death toll reached 94,702, including 1,222 deaths recorded between 8 p.m. Wednesday and the same time Thursday, a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data showed.

    >> Reports out of Washington indicate there may be bi-partisan support to extend the eight-week statutory duration of the Paycheck Protection Program to 10 or 12 weeks.

    • Separately, the U.S. Treasury Secretary said there’s “strong likelihood” that additional federal intervention will be needed to help businesses and workers as states start to reopen and the economy struggles to stabilize.
    • The administration and many Republicans in Congress want to first gauge the effect of trillions of dollars already appropriated.

    >> For the week ending May 16, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 46,062 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    • The number of initial jobless claims filed in Ohio over the last nine weeks (1,215,756) is more than the combined total of those filed during the last three years.
    • Over the last nine weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $2.8 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 619,000 claimants.
    • Of the more than 1 million applications the agency has received, more than 92% have been processed, with less than 8% pending. 

    >> Lt. Governor Husted announced several new sector opening dates in Ohio:

    • On May 26, miniature golf, batting cages, and bowling alleys may resume operations if they can meet required safety protocols.
    • On May 26, skills training for all sports, including contact sports, may resume if required safety protocols can be met. Tournaments, games, and competitions for contact sports are still prohibited.
    • On June 1, catering and banquet centers may reopen if they can meet required safety protocols. Protocols include six feet between tables, no congregating, and a crowd size of no more than 300 people.
    • Guidance for these Orders are here: baseball, golf, general non-contact sports, and skills training.
    • Full guidelines to ensure that these sectors operate in the safest manner possible are/will be available at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> Governor DeWine announced initial findings from his Minority Health Strike Force.

    • The Minority Health Strike Force’s preliminary report will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov and final recommendations will be issued on June 11.
    • Examples of these recommendations include: establishing culturally appropriate and accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services for communities of color; expanding testing capacity and access for minorities and high-risk populations; using data to prioritize resources in the communities that have the highest need; developing and launching a statewide, culturally-sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and communities of color on COVID-19, health disparities, and social determinants of health.
    • A new position will be created within the Ohio Department of Health dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. This person’s work will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio’s response to COVID-19.

    >> The Ohio Expositions Commission cancelled the 2020 Ohio State Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    >> According to Hannah News Service, a collection of budget planning documents Governor DeWine requested from state agencies, boards and commissions as he contemplated how to handle declining state revenues are now available.

    • The details submitted by agency heads in response to DeWine’s order to identify FY20 cuts of 20 percent are not necessarily reflective of the actual course the administration took; they do show, however, where state agencies placed their priorities, information that will continue to be relevant as additional cuts loom in FY21.
    • The Governor and Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks detailed in early May their plans for $776 million in FY20 reductions.
    • OBM recently told agencies to identify 20 percent of spending in certain GRF line items for FY21 that could be placed into a holding account and would be inaccessible.
    • The department plans to release updated FY21 revenue projections in June.

    >> The Ohio Department of Agriculture appears to have issued 195 cultivator licenses under the Ohio Hemp Program.

    • Hemp was legalized in Ohio following Governor DeWine’s signing of SB 57 last year, a bill GCP supported.
    • The first license application period ended on May 1.
          

  • >> Ohio’s COVID-19 case data is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard.  

    >> Please find below the signed Ohio Department of Health Director’s Order that Rescinds and Modifies Portions of the Stay Safe Ohio Order and the Urgent Health Advisory.

    • ODH Order that Rescinds and Modifies Portions of the Stay Safe Ohio Order
    • Urgent Health Advisory: Ohioans Protecting Ohioans

    >> The following order has also been signed by Ohio’s Health Director Amy Acton, M.D., MPH: Camp Safe Ohio Order 

    >> The Ohio House version of a capital re-appropriations bill, HB 670, was released Wednesday.

    • The bill "will allow funding for previously approved construction projects focused on health, safety and jobs to continue uninterrupted into the new fiscal year."
    • Lawmakers have until end of the fiscal year on June 30 to approve any re-appropriations.
    • While an Ohio Senate re-appropriations bill has not been formally introduced yet, Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan estimated it could contain about $1.2 billion.
     

    >> The Senate Local Government, Public Safety, & Veterans Affairs Committee held its second hearing on HB 242, regarding auxiliary containers; GCP has weighed-in on this issue and the legislation.

    • The Committee passed an amended version of HB 242 that included a 12-month sunset amendment.
    • Pending passage on the Ohio Senate floor, the House would either need to concur with the Senate changes or send the legislation to a conference committee to resolve the differences between the bills.

    >> President Trump signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to waive, suspend and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.

    >> The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote next week on legislation to update issues with the SBA Paycheck Protection Program that have served as obstacles to some small businesses seeking relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • The standalone bill will extend the time businesses have to rehire employees and qualify for loan forgiveness under the program beyond the existing June 30 deadline.
    • It would also extend the period for paying back portions of the loans that aren't forgiven beyond two years, as well as eliminate the "75-25 rule" implemented by the White House that says businesses have to spend at least 75 percent of the loan on payroll costs and no more than 25 percent on other expenses like rent and utilities.
    • GCP weighed in on this issue in a recent Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition letter, calling for greater flexibility in the program to better assist small businesses.

    >> Some Senate Republican support for moving the next coronavirus relief bill as soon as next month may be growing after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could last for years.

    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has maintained a “pause” almost a week after the House passed a $3 trillion relief bill containing a Democratic wish list of items.

    >> The government could save tens of billions of dollars by addressing 467 issues, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its annual report released Tuesday.

    • Some economists say that when the downturn ends, the government will need to find a credible plan to reduce deficits and the overall debt.
         

  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Tuesday that cases of coronavirus increased by 498 and deaths increased by 63 from Monday, reaching respective totals of 28,952 and 1,720. Cases have resulted in 5,117 hospitalizations and 1,357 intensive care unit admissions. 

    >> Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 89,564. Tuesday, 90,369. Wednesday, 91,938.

    >> The Ohio House and Senate held numerous committee meetings on Tuesday. The Ohio House and Ohio Senate will meet for session today.

    • Civil immunity legislation in the Ohio House, HB 606, and Ohio Senate, SB 308, will receive continued hearings.
    • HB 606 received its third hearing for all testimony in House Civil Justice Committee yesterday. The bill is scheduled to have a fourth hearing for all testimony and a substitute bill today at 9 a.m.
    • SB 308 will receive its third hearing for all testimony, with amendments and a vote possible, in Senate Judiciary Committee today at 9:15 a.m.
    • GCP advocacy staff remains in close contact with legislative leaders as proceedings progress.

    >> Governor DeWine released details of the new "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans Urgent Health Advisory" which replaces the Stay Safe Ohio order that was issued by the Ohio Department of Health on April 30, 2020.

    • The health order replaces language requiring Ohioans to stay at home with limited exceptions with language that strongly recommends that citizens, especially those who are high-risk, stay at home as much as possible.
    • The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit.
    • The new health advisory also lifts overall travel restrictions and the requirement to quarantine if someone travels to or returns to Ohio.
    • Unnecessary travel within or outside of Ohio is not encouraged.
    • The Administration will share a copy of the order as soon as possible.

    >> Additionally, those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not recovered, those who are presumptively diagnosed with COVID-19, and those who are exhibiting the symptoms identified in the screening guidance available from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health, remain prohibited from entering the state of Ohio unless they are doing so under medical orders for purposes of medical care, are being transported by emergency medical services EMS, are driving or being driven directly to a medical provider for the purposes of initial care, or are a permanent resident of Ohio. 

    >> Governor DeWine also announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC.

    • Public and private employers that participate in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings.
    • These packages will be shipped in batches beginning tomorrow.
    • The masks are funded through BWC’s existing budget and will not impact any premiums.

    >> Responsible RestartOhio documents: day campspools and aquatic centers; golf courses; gyms, dance studios and fitness centers; baseball and softball leagues; and tennis courts.

    >> There are now printable posters and forms for employers/businesses to download and use 

    >> Governor DeWine announced that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

    • The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety's Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.
    • Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order or the Dine Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses.
    • The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart.

    >> Closure of the U.S. Canadian border to non-essential travel, which is set to expire Thursday, will likely be renewed for another month to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, media in Canada report.

    >> The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released recommendations for State and Local officials considering the reopening of nursing homes.

    >> The President will reportedly nominate Justin Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, as the next prosecutor for the District of Columbia.

    >> The U.S. economy will recover from the coronavirus pandemic, but the process could stretch through until the end of next year and depend on the delivery of a vaccine, said Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

       
  • >> By Sunday, Ohio reported 27,923 cases of the coronavirus, and 1,625 deaths.

    >> The DeWine administration is not yet ordering cuts to General Revenue Fund budgets for FY21, as it did for the current fiscal year, but wants agencies to keep a share of their budgeted spending in reserve in anticipation of further revenue shortfalls. 

    >> Governor Mike DeWine will likely have an announcement about health-access measures for African-American Ohioans at his daily briefing this week; it’s been approximately one month since the Governor’s Minority Health Strike Force began meeting to discuss strategies to combat the coronavirus’ impact on black communities. 

    >> See the Director of Health Orders for reopening personal services and restaurants and bars.

    >> On May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols

    >> On May 22, horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols; spectators will not be permitted.

    >> On May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

    >> On May 26, sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols.

    • This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.
    • A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
    • Note that safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development.

    >> On May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas.
    • Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.
    • A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> On May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if they can meet required safety protocols.

    • The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices.
    • To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will seek to use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s childcare providers, including family childcare, childcare centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers.
     

    >> Senator Matt Dolan shared during Senate Finance Committee that the Senate intends to pass a re-appropriations bill before the end of June with an emergency clause.

    • The inclusion of an emergency clause would eliminate the 90-day wait period for the law to go into effect following the Governor's signature.
    • The Ohio House has not announced whether it shares the Senate's interest in passing a re-appropriations bill on this timeline. The Chairman shared that the passage of a re-appropriations bill would be introduced and passed out of Senate Finance Committee over the next several meetings in order to stimulate commerce.

    >> The Ohio House Economic Recovery Task Force, Ohio 2020, will hold their next meeting today. 

    >> State civil immunity legislation in the Ohio House, HB 606, and Ohio Senate, SB 308, will receive their next hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    • HB 606 will receive its third hearing for all testimony in House Civil Justice Committee on May 19 at 3 p.m.
    • SB 308 will receive its third hearing for all testimony, with amendments and a vote possible, in Senate Judiciary Committee on May 20 at 9:15 a.m.

    >> Secretary of State Frank LaRose proposed several changes to November’s election.

    • The plan includes in-person voting options and changes to improve voting by mail and he is working with the legislature on a plan to put forward.
    • Meanwhile, members of the House Democratic Caucus outlined their ideas Friday for reforming voting in Ohio before the November election, including mailing a ballot to all registered voters.

    >> According the to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 11 million Americans were laid off in March. 

    >> The U.S. House on Friday approved a $3 trillion coronavirus package that supporters hoped would open negotiations for more COVID-19 relief; the text of the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800, is here.

    One-pager on the legislation
    Section-by-section summary
    State and local relief provisions
    • The House Small Business Committee circulated factsheets on the small business provisions in The Heroes Act.
    • The White House released a statement yesterday on H.R. 6800, the HEROES Act, indicating the President would be advised to veto the legislation in its current form.

    >> The House also passed a rule change temporarily allowing for remote voting during the COVID-19 crisis.

    • Proxy voting and remote committee business would only be allowed for a 45-day period, but it could be renewed.
    • The authority to enact a period of proxy voting ends at the close of the 116th Congress. 

    >> U.S. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey shared that there is no timetable yet for when the appropriations subcommittees will mark up the fiscal 2021 spending bills.

    • June was the original deadline provided by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, however that may be unlikely as all attention will be focused on a potential fourth stimulus package in June.

    >> On May 11, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced the allocation of $1 billion through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBGR) program to States and insular areas in response to COVID-19.

    • Every state and insular area will receive a portion of the relief funds.
    • To date, HUD has provided over $3 billion in CDBG funding nationwide to help communities acutely combat coronavirus and alleviate economic hardship.

    >> On May 14, FHA announced an extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through June 30, 2020, for homeowners with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, while also supporting new FHA-insured mortgage originations through an extension of temporary policy flexibilities for lenders and appraisers.

    • More from HUD Secretary Ben Carson on actions taken to safeguard the American renter and homeowner against impacts of coronavirus.

    >> On May 14, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced the publication of updated guidance, including FAQs, regarding the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

    >> On May 15, Vice Mike President Pence announced five new individuals joining the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The five new members are: Sonny Perdue (Secretary of Agriculture), Gene Scalia (Secretary of Labor), Dr. Francis Collins (Director of the National Institutes of Health), Dr. Peter Marks (FDDA Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research), and Thomas Engels (Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration).

     
  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that cases of coronavirus increased by 636 and deaths increased by 51 from Wednesday, reaching respective totals of 26,357 and 1,534. In-depth Ohio COVID-19 case data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov. 

    >> On May 31, childcare providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if they can meet required safety protocols.

    • Read the full list of mandatory and recommended best practices.
    • To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will seek to use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio’s childcare providers, including family childcare, childcare centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers.

    >> On May 26, gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov 

    >> On May 26, sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols.

    • This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports.
    • A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
    • Note that safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development.

    >> On May 26, public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols.

    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas.
    • Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.
    • A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> On May 21, campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. 

    >> See the Director of Health Orders for reopening personal services and restaurants and bars.

    >> Sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures.

    >> Tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures.

    >> With the joblessness accompanying the coronavirus pandemic, more Ohioans are turning to Medicaid for health coverage with approximately 3 million people now on Medicaid.

    • “We had an increase in the number of people by about 140,000 from the end of March until the end of April,” said Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran.

    >> Senator Matt Dolan shared during Senate Finance Committee that the Senate intends to pass a re-appropriations bill before the end of June with an emergency clause.

    • The inclusion of an emergency clause would eliminate the 90-day wait period for the law to go into effect following the Governor's signature.
    • The Ohio House has not announced whether it shares the Senate's interest in passing a re-appropriations bill on this timeline. The Chairman shared that the passage of a re-appropriations bill would be introduced and passed out of Senate Finance Committee over the next several meetings in order to stimulate commerce.

    >> On possibly civil immunity legislation:

    • The Ohio House Civil Justice Committee heard testimony on a substitute version of HB 606 and continued the bill for a future committee hearing with no further actions taken.
    • The Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee accepted and heard testimony on a substitute version of SB 308; the committee continued the legislation with no additional actions taken after hearing from a list of witnesses.

    >> The $3 trillion economic rescue bill that the House Democrats unveiled yesterday would make major changes to small business loan programs. Read the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800.

    One-pager on the legislation
    • Section-by-section summary
    • Resource on the state and local relief provisions
    • The House Small Business Committee circulated fact sheets on the small business provisions in The Heroes Act.

    The bill would make several adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers low-interest loans that can be forgiven if borrowers agree to maintain their payrolls. The revisions would expand the universe of organizations able to receive the loans and limit the Trump administration's ability to restrict how the loans are used.

    Among the provisions in the bill is one that would allow nonprofits of any kind to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans. While the idea has bipartisan support, it will likely also create controversy because it would open-up the program to 501(c)(6)s, which include business trade associations.

    Another measure would prevent the Small Business Administration (SBA), which runs the program, from limiting the portion of the loans that can be spent on non-payroll costs if borrowers want the loans forgiven. The SBA and the Treasury Department decided at the outset of the program that businesses could spend no more than 75 percent of the forgivable amount of the loans on expenses outside of payroll. Some businesses are concerned that the cap is too onerous. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to ease the requirement on his own but says he's open to working with Congress on that.

    Addressing another criticism from businesses, the bill would give borrowers 24 weeks to spend loan funds, an increase from the current eight weeks set now.

    The bill would not appropriate new funding for the program, but it includes carve-outs for nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, as well as a set-aside for community financial institutions.

    In addition, the bill includes $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants.

    The House plans to vote on the bill this Friday.

    >> "This is not a time for aspirational legislation, this is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after the House bill was released.

    • Senate Republicans are privately putting together possible priorities of their own for the next COVID-19 relief package, which some believe will set the stage for a bill to be passed this summer.
    • Issues Senate Republicans may want to address include: a litigation shield for businesses that reopen as the pandemic carries on and a reform of beefed-up unemployment benefits that Congress approved in March.


  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Tuesday that cases of coronavirus increased by 473 and deaths increased by 79 from Monday, reaching respective totals of 25,250 and 1,436. A total of 216,290 coronavirus tests have been conducted in Ohio. In-depth Ohio COVID-19 case data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> In case you missed it, Lt. Governor Husted announced that sectors licensed by the State Medical Board of Ohio, including massage therapy, acupuncture, cosmetic therapy will be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. Read the full list of mandatory and recommended best practices.

    >> Tattoo and body piercing services will also be permitted to reopen on May 15 with the implementation of proper safety measures. Read the list of mandatory and recommended best practices for personal services.

    >> The lists of members of the advisory groups who are in charge of developing statewide guidelines for gyms and outdoor recreation are now available.  

    >> From the Governor’s Office here are five protocols for all businesses:

    • Require face coverings for employees and recommend them for clients/customers at all times.
    • Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
    • Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.
    • Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
    • Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines: Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code and use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion.

    >> The Ohio Department of Health plans to screen 1,200 residents in their homes for the virus through a nasal swab test and through an antibody blood test.

    • Screening may start as soon as next week.
    • Selected households will receive a postcard and a letter in the mail.
    • Participation is voluntary and recipients may opt out by phone or email or decline to participate when the state workers arrive.

    >> With the joblessness accompanying the coronavirus pandemic, more Ohioans are turning to Medicaid for health coverage with approximately 3 million people now on Medicaid.

    >> Senate President Larry Obhof announced Tuesday the return of $1 million from the Ohio Senate’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget to the state’s General Revenue Fund, as part of a plan to offset state revenue shortfalls and reduce government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • This figure is more than 20% of the Senate’s remaining appropriation for Fiscal Year 2020.”
    • The reduction is from the Senate’s budget for FY2020 and will be returned to the state’s General Revenue Fund when the fiscal year ends on June 30.

    >> On Wednesday, SB 308, sponsored by Senator Matt Huffman will receive its second hearing; the bill seeks to revise the law governing immunity from civil liability and amendments and a possible vote have been scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee.

    • The Senate could pass the amended version of the bill on the Senate floor this afternoon.

    >> The health care industry, businesses and individuals would receive further protection from civil liability for COVID-19 transmission under similar legislation; the substitute version of HB 606, was accepted by the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday.

    • The bill will receive another hearing on Wednesday, but may not receive a vote during that meeting.

    >> In federal updates, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration's top infectious disease expert, warned the U.S. Senate yesterday that states should not reopen faster than White House guidelines.

    >> The $3 trillion economic rescue bill that the House Democrats unveiled yesterday would make major changes to small business loan programs. Read the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800.

    One-pager on the legislation
    • Section-by-section summary
    • Resource on the state and local relief provisions
    • The House Small Business Committee circulated fact sheets on the small business provisions in The Heroes Act.

    The bill would make several adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers low-interest loans that can be forgiven if borrowers agree to maintain their payrolls. The revisions would expand the universe of organizations able to receive the loans and limit the Trump administration's ability to restrict how the loans are used.

    Among the provisions in the bill is one that would allow nonprofits of any kind to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans. While the idea has bipartisan support, it will likely also create controversy because it would open-up the program to 501(c)(6)s, which include business trade associations.

    Another measure would prevent the Small Business Administration (SBA), which runs the program, from limiting the portion of the loans that can be spent on non-payroll costs if borrowers want the loans forgiven. The SBA and the Treasury Department decided at the outset of the program that businesses could spend no more than 75 percent of the forgivable amount of the loans on expenses outside of payroll. Some businesses are concerned that the cap is too onerous. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to ease the requirement on his own but says he's open to working with Congress on that.

    Addressing another criticism from businesses, the bill would give borrowers 24 weeks to spend loan funds, an increase from the current eight weeks set now.

    The bill would not appropriate new funding for the program, but it includes carve-outs for nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, as well as a set-aside for community financial institutions.

    In addition, the bill includes $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants.

    The House plans to vote on the bill this Friday.

    >> "This is not a time for aspirational legislation, this is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters after the House bill was released.

    • Senate Republicans are privately putting together possible priorities of their own for the next COVID-19 relief package, which some believe will set the stage for a bill to be passed this summer.
    • Issues Senate Republicans may want to address include: a litigation shield for businesses that reopen as the pandemic carries on and a reform of beefed-up unemployment benefits that Congress approved in March.

    >> A group of legislators including Representative Marcy Kaptur and Representative Anthony Gonzalez want upcoming coronavirus relief packages to include help for the auto industry.

    • They sent a letter Tuesday that asked Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure “that American workers in the automotive industry can help drive a robust recovery.”

    >> Representatives Anthony Gonzalez, Dave Joyce, and Brad Wenstrup introduced a bi-partisan bill on Tuesday to help small businesses, those that are unable to fully reopen in the coming weeks.

    • The Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act would provide restaurants, retailers, and other similar businesses with more time to meet the requirements to receive full forgiveness of their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

    >> Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday encouraged states "that have cash flow issues" to take advantage of low interest rates and borrow money to cover revenue lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • >> By Sunday, 24,081 Ohioans had been infected with the coronavirus and 1,341 had died. In-depth Ohio COVID-19 case data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> From the Governor’s Office, here are five protocols for all businesses:

    • Require face coverings for employees and recommend them for clients/customers at all times.
    • Conduct daily health assessments by employers and employees (self-evaluation) to determine if “fit for duty.”
    • Maintain good hygiene at all times – hand washing, sanitizing and social distancing.
    • Clean and sanitize workplaces throughout workday and at the close of business or between shifts.
    • Limit capacity to meet social distancing guidelines: Establish maximum capacity at 50% of fire code and use appointment setting where possible to limit congestion.

    >> Governor Mike DeWine announced at his Thursday briefing that places of business such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15. Read the list of mandatory and recommended best practices for personal services.

    >> In addition, restaurants and bars can open for outside dining on May 15 with indoor dining opening on May 21. See the guidelines and best practices.

    >> On Monday, the Governor said he’ll have an announcement about childcare.

    >> Under previously announced reopening plans, elective surgeries without an overnight hospital stay resumed May 1, manufacturing, distribution, construction and general office businesses reopened May 4 and consumer, retail and services businesses will reopen on May 12.

    >> According to Crain’s Cleveland, the Ohio Department of Health plans to screen 1,200 residents in their homes for the virus through a nasal swab test and through an antibody blood test.

    • Screening may start as soon as next week.
    • Selected households will receive a postcard and a letter in the mail.
    • Participation is voluntary and recipients may opt out by phone or email or decline to participate when the state workers arrive.

    >> The Ohio Department of Health is looking to fill open “contact tracing” jobs, part -time health workers who will help investigate small coronavirus outbreaks to try to prevent them from spreading.

    >> The April jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April.

    • The unemployment rate increased to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March.
    • The one-month rise in the unemployment rate between March and April is the largest ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    >> Last week, the U.S. Treasury and IRS released the latest state-by-state Economic Impact Payment figures and almost 5 million payments had been made to Ohioans, totaling more than $8 billion.

    >> White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow signaled Friday that formal negotiations on the next coronavirus stimulus package would be paused, possibly until early June.

    • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed the unveiling of Congressional Democrats CARES 2.0 package until this week; House Democrats are hoping to release a bill that would follow three pillars: funding for those on the front lines, testing and relief to Americans in some form, including direct payments. The proposal could include at least $800 billion in funding for state and local governments.
    • Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has called for a pause on emergency assistance until the trillions already allocated is delivered and Senate Republicans are said to insist on including language to protect businesses from virus-related lawsuits and liability.

    >> According to the Associated Press, Vice President Mike Pence was self-isolating Sunday after an aide tested positive for the coronavirus last week, but he planned to return to the White House on Monday.

    • An administration official said Pence was voluntarily keeping his distance from other people in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • He has tested negative for COVID-19 since his exposure.

  • >> The Ohio Department of Health reported Thursday that coronavirus cases increased by 555 and deaths increased by 46 from Wednesday, bringing the respective totals to 22,131 and 1,271. Over 175,000 Ohioans have been tested for coronavirus, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said. In-depth Ohio COVID-19 case data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.

    >> The total number of cases world-wide rose to nearly 3.85 million Friday and the U.S. death toll, the highest in the world, stood at more than 75,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    >> More than 1.1 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks which is more people than the prior three years combined.

    >> Gov. Mike DeWine announced at his Thursday briefing that places of business such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons, and tanning facilities may reopen on May 15. See the list of mandatory and recommended best practices for personal services.

    >> In addition, restaurants and bars can open for outside dining on May 15 with indoor dining opening on May 21. See the detailed lists of guidelines and best practices

    >> On Monday, the Governor said he’ll have an announcement about childcare.

    >> Under previously announced reopening plans, elective surgeries without an overnight hospital stay resumed May 1, manufacturing, distribution, construction and general office businesses reopened May 4 and consumer, retail and services businesses will reopen on May 12.

    >> On the state re-openings Governor DeWine said, “Let me just state the obvious. The risk is up. The more contacts we have, the more that we do, the more risk there is.” The business industries discussed Thursday want strict enforcement to identify any bad actors that can damage their collective reputations, Lt. Governor Husted added.

    >> The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) released preliminary April 2020 revenue data.

    • Total General Revenue Fund tax receipts finished the month $866.5 million (-35.3%) below estimates.

    • Details on the specific impacts on K-12 schools and higher education institutions can be found at the following links: Higher Education, K-12 Education, K-12 Summary Tables.

    • The Governor’s 3.8% cut in funding for each of Ohio’s public colleges and universities adds up to $76.7 million overall, according to information released by the state’s budget office. More details from Cleveland.com.

    • School district-level details for the planned $300.4 million in cuts to the state’s public K-12 schools through the end of the fiscal year on June 30 showed the largest cuts by percentage were in the suburban counties of Geauga (13.5%) and Delaware (13.2%).

    • The Cleveland school system is slated to lose $5.6 million, or about 1%.

    >> The Ohio Senate sent a bill to the Ohio House on Wednesday that would provide $350 million to local governments to pay for expenses racked up to combat the coronavirus.

    • The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed last month.

    • It can only be used on expenses related to the pandemic -- such as disinfectant, personal protective equipment and emergency personnel expenses.

    • The state has more money to send to local governments, but because federal guidelines are very strict, some state legislators are hopeful the federal rules will ease soon and they’ll release the rest of it.

    >> Ohio House Republicans amended and passed a bill that would limit Ohio Department of Health orders to 14 days, unless a legislative panel agrees to extend them.

    • "We are in the middle of an emergency now,” Governor DeWine said. “....I don’t understand why anyone would think this is a great time to be changing the law, to be taking away the power of the executive branch to protect people.”.

    • Another bill the House passed Wednesday would decriminalize violations of the health orders, making them a minor misdemeanor.

    • The Ohio Senate has not acted on either piece of legislation.

    >> The Ohio House economic recovery task force Ohio 2020 will meet Friday at 10 a.m. Read past testimony and agendas.

    >> The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments on May 13 in a challenge by local communities to the state’s legislature’s decision to centralize municipal tax collection.

    • Two separate appeals will be heard, with one being an Elyria group of plaintiffs representing 28 Northeast Ohio communities.

    >> Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are planning to unveil a CARES 2 package in the coming days, with a possible (not yet confirmed) House floor vote as early as next week.

    • The bill’s release is “imminent,” and is expected to include at least $800 billion in funding directed to state and local governments, along with money for COVID-19 testing and food stamp funding, unemployment support and other direct payouts for the needy and unemployed.

    • "This is not plowing any new territory,” Pelosi said. “It is digging deeper with more money.”

    • House passage would set up a clash with Republicans in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling for a “pause” in emergency aid, to allow the trillions of dollars already allocated to get out the door.

    • Having put negotiations on pause, Senate Republicans continue to insist on including language to protect businesses from virus-related lawsuits and liability.

    • On Thursday, President Trump said that employers. including sports stadiums and team owners, need protection from lawsuits that may stem from infections with COVID-19 as national activities resume. 

    >> U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy named Ohio Congressman Anthony Gonzalez to a new GOP task force that will examine Chinese threats to the United States.

    >> President Trump said on Wednesday - day after he and Vice President Pence said the task force would soon be wound down - that the coronavirus task force will continue on “indefinitely” as the country struggles with the balancing act of reopening the economy and stemming the spread of the virus, with more dire economic numbers set to be released on Friday.

    >> The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) announced the launch of its “Strengthening American Competitiveness” initiative.