Mar 16


State of Ohio Response

For the latest state updates visit:  www.coronavirus.ohio.gov

  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered fitness centers, gyms, bowling alleys, public rec centers, movie theaters, indoor water parks and indoor trampoline parks to close at the end of the business day on Monday, March 16, 2020.

  • Governor DeWine recommended on Monday, March 16 that in-person voting be pushed back to June 2, and that absentee voting continue until that date. Because an Ohio Governor does not have unilateral power to push back the date on their own, a lawsuit will be filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court by affected individuals seeking the delay.

  • Governor DeWine announced that the Ohio Department of Health has issued a Director’s Order closing all Ohio bars and restaurants to in-house patrons, effective on March 15, 2020. Restaurants with take-out and delivery options will still be able to operate those services. Read the Director’s Order here.

  • Enhanced unemployment aid for Ohioans was also announced, which will grant the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation, suspending the normal 1-week waiting period. This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work. Click here for more information.

  • The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. Businesses wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high-proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.

  • The Ohio Development Services Agency is preparing to submit an application this week to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which provides low-interest loans up to $2M in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency. Businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov.

Federal Response

For the latest federal updates visit:  www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

  • OSHA is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, which aims to ensure that employers provide a safe working environment to their employees. OSHA has provided guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 and it is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards.The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. For OSHA’s guidance, click here.

  • The President announced guidelines that call on Americans to avoid social gatherings involving groups of 10 or more.

  • President Trump declared a national state of emergency, freeing up federal funds and other resources to help coordinate a response to the coronavirus outbreak. To read the proclamation, click here.

  • Several relief packages are being discussed, but the House of Representatives is expected to conduct a second vote on the COVID-19 aid package that the chamber passed this weekend due to agreed-upon technical changes that did not make it into the version that hit the floor. Any package that is ultimately signed into law is very likely to change, but the current legislation would do the following as it relates to businesses and employers:

    • Provide $15 million for the Internal Revenue Service to implement tax credits for paid sick and paid family and medical leave.

    • Provide employees of employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers, who have been on the job for at least 30 days, with the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to be used for self-quarantine, care for at-risk family, or care for a child due to school or place of care closures. After the two weeks of paid leave, employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual pay.

    • Provide $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions.

    • Require employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide employees two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s regular rate, to quarantine or seek a diagnosis or preventative care for coronavirus; or paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate to care for a family member for such purposes or to care for a child whose school has closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to the coronavirus.

    • Require private health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

    • Provide a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified paid sick leave wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter and provide a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified family leave wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter.

The House convened earlier today to vote on the corrected bill and the Senate is still expected to take up the bill this week. To read a title-by-title summary of the bill’s proposals, click here.

Other Updates

During a press conference on Monday, March 16, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada stated that the country is closing its borders to noncitizens due to the outbreak. For the moment that ban does not apply to U.S. citizens.