COVID-19 State Updates: April 2
Everything you and your business need to know about state coronavirus response efforts for April 2, 2020.
In Ohio there are 2,547 confirmed cases, 222 ICU admissions, 679 hospitalizations, and 65 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims for the week ending Saturday, March 28 reached 272,117, the second weekly record in a row. Claims for the past two weeks totaling more than 468,000 compare to 364,000 filed in all of 2019.
Governor DeWine signed an order to provide small businesses relief from commercial evictions and foreclosures. The order requests landlords suspend rent payments for small businesses and implement a moratorium of evictions for no less than 90 days. Lenders to commercial real estate borrowers with a commercial mortgage loan are asked to provide an opportunity for forbearance for at least 90 days. It is GCP’s recommendation that landlords review the order with their legal counsel.
Governor DeWine is asking manufacturers to increase Ohio’s supply of medical gear – gloves, masks, goggles and surgical gowns. He also announced the establishment of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, a public-private partnership tasked with coordinating efforts to provide health care workers and first responders the personal protective equipment (PPE). If manufacturers have the capability to produce any of the in-demand PPE supplies, the state encourages them to visit RepurposingProject.com.
The Ohio Department of Health ordered coronavirus tests must be sent to major health care systems, including the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, and University Hospitals in northeast Ohio.
The Governor outlined a new program designed to allow people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase food while limiting potential exposure to the coronavirus through a new state “click and connect” program; the state is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and grocery stores to make it available.
Individuals may qualify for SNAP if their household’s gross monthly income is at or under 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. To apply, visit benefits.ohio.gov. Benefits can be used to buy most food products, including prepared food from grocery stores and restaurants.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) said in a news release that the agency has received approval to extend by six months the recertification eligibility periods for March, April and May. ODJFS said it also received federal approval for all SNAP recipients to receive the maximum benefit possible for their families in March and April.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic state emergency legislation has enabled the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) to offer relief for individuals and business entities whose licenses expire during the state of emergency.
An ODI release said provisions cover licenses for major lines agents, limited line agents, title agents, title insurance marketing representatives, managing general agents, public insurance adjusters and agents, reinsurance intermediary brokers and managers, surety bail bond agents, surplus lines brokers, third party administrators and viatical settlement brokers.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order to track where ventilators are and how many are in Ohio. Inventory is to be reported online at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov/VentInventory no later than 5:00 p.m. each Wednesday beginning April 1, 2020 until further notice. The order impacts manufacturers, producers, wholesalers, transporters, distributors, retailers, physicians, clinics, hospitals, medical facilities, and any other entity in the supply chain.
On Tuesday, Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS) spokesperson Bret Crow relayed the following on the $2 trillion stimulus bill that passed Congress and was signed by the President on March 27, saying it creates the following three federal programs for Americans who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19:
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers and some other individuals previously ineligible for unemployment compensation. The benefit amount will be like traditional unemployment benefits, plus an additional $600 per week. The program’s effective date is Jan. 27 through Dec. 31.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program will provide an additional $600 per week to existing benefit amounts for those in both the “regular” unemployment program and the PUA program. The average unemployment benefit in Ohio is currently about $380 a week. The FPUC program began on March 29, and benefits will be retroactive to that date.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program will provide up to 13 weeks of additional benefits for Ohioans who exhaust their maximum 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. This program also began on March 29.
The programs above are new. ODJFS is waiting for further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. Retroactive benefits will be provided. You can learn more in our Unemployment Toolkit for Employers.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is sending postcards to registered voters, outlining the rules for Ohio’s primary election.
Ohioans ought to be receiving a notice in the mail from the United States Census Bureau with a code. You can respond online at 2020Census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020.