March 15, 2020
At the Greater Akron Chamber, we continue to monitor the development and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our goal is to continue to keep the business community up to date on these developments without overwhelming you with too much superfluous information.

Governor DeWine Order: Bars and Restaurants Must Close Dine-In Service
Today, Governor DeWine ordered all Bars and Restaurants to close for dine-in business after 9:00 p.m. tonight, Sunday March 15 th . Pick-up and delivery operations will be allowed to continue at this point. Please consider continuing to patronize our small bars and restaurants by using their pick-up and delivery options—they will need your help and your patronage.

These closures, on top of school closures taking effect on Monday, March 16 th , and the likelihood of the closure of daycare operations sometime this week (indicated by the Governor as “coming”), will add to the disruption of many business and community operations.

We know that these closures will cause economic hardship for many businesses and employees.

The following supports are being put in place:

Ability for Bars and Restaurants to Return Unopened Liquor
For bar and restaurant owners that have stocked up on alcohol in expectation of St. Patrick’s Day, NCAA or other events that drive bar and restaurant traffic, bar and restaurant owners have an opportunity to return unopened, high proof liquor products purchased in the last 30 days back to the agency of purchase. For information on this program, please contact 877-812-0013 or .

Unemployment Benefit Eligibility Changes to Support COVID-19 Related Employment Impacts
At the state level, the Governor will be issuing an executive order to allow workers without paid-leave benefits will be able to access unemployment benefits through the State. Individuals who are quarantined will be considered unemployed and be able to apply for support. Companies who determine it is necessary to shut down operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak will also be able to apply for unemployment benefits. Additionally, the one-week delay for eligible workers to receive assistance will be waived. Please take a look at  for some FAQs or you may contact the state at 877-644-6562 with questions or to apply.

Availability of Economic Injury Loans from SBA for Small Businesses and Non Profit Organizations
The state is applying this week to the federal government for certification of economic injury in order to make assistance loans up to $2 million at low interest with long-term repayments available to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations whose operations and finances are affected by COVID-19. We will provide more information on these resources as they become available.  This certification has not yet happened, but it is in progress.  Information about the difficulty you are encountering will help with this certification. Small business owners that have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus can provide information about the impact to . This information will be helpful for Ohio’s application for support. In the interim, general information about the economic injury assistance loans can be found here . We will continue to update you as this resource becomes available. 

Consider Work From Home Where Possible
Many businesses have begun to initiate work from home where possible. We know that doesn’t work for everyone. Hand washing, maintaining physical distance (arms length+) and covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing are three of the biggest practices to continue to remind your employees to continue. There are links for information about policy modifications you can make provided by the Society for Human Resource Managers here .

We will continue to update you
We will continue to coordinate with members of the business community, local, state and federal government and other support resources. And, we will post information and resources at . You may also reach out to our team on specific COVID-19 issues by contacting Brian Anderson via email at .

While, like others, we have cancelled or postponed a number of events and programs, our staff will continue to be available through a combination of in-office and remote-work staff. Please feel free to contact me or any of the members of our staff directly .

Steve Millard
President and CEO
Greater Akron Chamber
(330) 237-1212
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