COVID-19 UPDATES & RESOURCES

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Ohio Public Health Advisory System

 

The Public Health Advisory Alert System is a color-coded system designed to supplement existing statewide orders through a data-driven framework to assess the degree of the virus’ spread and to engage and empower individuals, businesses, communities, local governments, and others in their response and actions. The system consists of four levels that provide Ohioans with guidance as to the severity of the problem in the counties in which they live.  The levels are determined by seven data indicators that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.

The statewide mask mandate continues to be in effect for citizens living in all 88 Ohio counties. All individuals in Ohio must wear facial coverings in public at all times when: at an indoor location that is not a residence; outdoors, but unable to maintain six-foot social distance from people who are not household members; waiting for, riding, driving, or operating public transportation, such as a taxi, a car service, or a private car used for ride-sharing. The order only requires those 10 years old or older to wear a mask. Additional exclusions include: those with a medical condition or a disability or those communicating with someone with a disability; those who are actively exercising or playing sports, at religious services, involved in public safety, or actively eating or drinking. Schools should follow the guidance previously issued pertaining to masks.

Governor DeWine released this week's new Ohio Public Health Advisory System map on July 31.

Remaining at Level 3 (Red): Allen, Cuyahoga, Erie, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lucas, Henry, Lawrence, Marion, Medina, and Montgomery

Downgraded from Level 3 to Level 2 (Orange): Clark, Defiance, Hardin, Athens, Clermont, Delaware, Pickaway, Scioto, and Union

Downgraded from Level 3 to Level 1 (Yellow): Richland

 

CALL TO ACTION: Thank you to the organizations, associations, and individuals who are being leaders in the effort to encourage the use of facial coverings in public. We appreciate those who publicly issued statements of support which you can see attached. Please also consider helping to share this important message with your networks on social media using #MasksOnOhio and #InThisTogetherOhio.

 

Governor DeWine urged citizens to use extreme caution when considering attending or hosting an informal gathering. The Governor said that we are seeing serious exposures to the virus that are arising from every day events like church services, small house parties, neighborhood get-togethers, weddings, etc.

 

 

After seeing outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio, Governor DeWine announced that he has asked the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption. The rule would prevent the sale of alcohol at these liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night. On-premises consumption must end by 11:00 p.m. Businesses may stay open, and establishments that sell food can continue serving meals until closing.  

 

Separately, Governor DeWine is also asking the commission to raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks permitted to be purchased for carryout with a meal from two drinks to three drinks.

 

Governor DeWine announced that Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner. Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people. The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings.

Governor DeWine announced last week that the ICU indicator will be enhanced to address concerns in the event ICU levels increase due to reasons other than COVID-19. The indicator will trigger if ICU capacity for a county’s hospital region exceeds 80 percent of normal capacity and if 20 percent of the normal ICU capacity is being used for COVID-19 positive patients. The Ohio Public Health Advisory System will also be updated in the coming weeks to include more localized testing data and an indicator related to known contacts spreading the virus when such local data is widely available.

 

The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will sponsor two new public service announcements created in partnership with the Ohio Restaurant Association, OhioHealth, JobsOhio, and the Ohio Business Roundtable. The first PSA features real Ohioans explaining why all Ohioans should all wear a mask. The second PSA features Dr. Steve Markovich, a former Air National Guardsman and fighter pilot, who is CEO of OhioHealth. He encourages younger adults to wear masks to protect family, friends, and coworkers. 
 

Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.

 

Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov and the Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4-ASK-ODH are great resources for those who have questions.


 

Employee/nonprofit/small business resources

A comprehensive list of state and local grants, loans, and government/non-profit resources for small businesses.

Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley: Emergency Impact Fund

Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, and Tyler, WV; and Belmont and Jefferson, OH  
The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley’s Emergency Impact Fund is accepting applications from organizations that have been directly impacted by the coronavirus in an unexpected loss of revenue or unexpected increase in expenses. Priority will be extended to organizations providing basic human needs.

Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio: COVID-19 Community Impact Funds

Trumbull County, OH, and Lawrence and Mercer counties, PA
The COVID-19 Community Impact Funds support organizations that serve either Lawrence or Mercer counties, PA or Trumbull County, OH. Funding priorities include hunger, shelter/housing, mental health, access to health services, and assistance to programs that do not have access to government funding.

Foundation for Appalachian Ohio: Appalachian Ohio Emergency Response Fund
The Appalachian Ohio Emergency Response Fund makes grant awards to help nonprofit organizations in Appalachian Ohio whose resources are, and will continue to be, strained because of the COVID-19 crisis and need to expand and modify how they deliver services. Interests include, but are not limited to, health, social services, seniors, and children. Nonprofit organizations may share their needs by sending an email to the Foundation at listening@ffao.org.

Greater Toledo Community Foundation: COVID-19 Response Fund
The COVID-19 Response Fund supports area nonprofits in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan delivering critical services during this unprecedented time. Priority areas include immediate economic needs of economically vulnerable populations, the elderly and other high-risk populations, residents who are food insecure, and residents who have no medical insurance or who are underinsured.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati: COVID-19 Regional Response Fund

For the greater Cincinnati Region, which includes the following counties: Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Clermont and Brown counties in Ohio; Kenton, Campbell, Boone, and Grant counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana


The COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, a joint effort by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati, is designed to be responsive and flexible to address community needs of the most vulnerable during this pandemic. Current priorities include requests involving basic necessities and safety of families most impacted by COVID-19, such as food insecurity, housing/shelter, childcare, care of the elderly, and support for medical response.

U.S. Chamber small business grant: A grant up to $5,000 for businesses 3-20 employees in vulnerable zip codes. The grant program can help meet short-term business needs. The qualifications and application can be found here: savesmallbusiness.com.

Facebook small business grants: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

 

Hello Alice small business grants through Verizon

Duke University created a coronavirus-related funding tracker.

GrantWatch.com tracks grants available to nonprofits and small businesses

President Donald Trump said he will direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to postpone all debt collections and extend deadlines for benefits applications where possible in an effort to lessen the financial impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on veterans and their families. Trump said he has instructed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to use “any authority at his disposal” to deal with the benefits and collections issues. VA officials did not provide any immediate comment on the White House decision.

VA deploys Mobile Vet Centers to increase outreach during COVID-19 outbreak- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began deploying Mobile Vet Center units, the week of March 16, to expand direct counseling, outreach and care coordination to Veterans in communities affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic impact payments: What you need to know:  Stimulus checks will be coming in the mail soon. Military Benefits Info has a good article detailing who will get the checks: https://militarybenefits.info/stimulus-checks/ Also the IRS has a page dedicated to the program: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know,  Turbotax tool for those who do not normally file taxes with the IRS

U.S PIRG consumer guide - As the beginning of a new month comes around, many Americans are wondering how they’re going to pay their monthly bills. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in job losses, reduction in hours or pay across the board. This guide has tips for how consumers can negotiate with their banks to lower interest rates, waive overdraft fees, and agree on payment plans to provide more financial peace of mind in the months to come.

The Ohio Honor Project and The Honor Ride is available to help during this time. Please feel free to reach out to us at theohiohonorproject@gmail.com. We have medical groups whom have volunteered to assist during this time and that would love to help in anyway that we can. Again, if any help is needed please reach out to us.

American Income Life Insurance: If any AMVETS member purchased insurance from American Income Life and have been laid off, AIL will waive their premiums for up to three months. Once they return to work they DO NOT have to pay it back. Downloadable Layoff Waiver.

Student Veteran Housing Bill Enacted - President Trump signed into law (P.L.116-128) legislation (S.3503), sponsored by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (Kan.). This bill will make sure student veterans impacted by the COVID-19-related school closings would not get their monthly housing stipends reduced. Since many classes are switching to online instruction, the VA determined those students should receive the "online only" housing rate, which is significantly less money each month. SVAC Chairman Sen. Moran quickly stepped in to make sure students using distance learning due to the outbreak would not be affected. The bipartisan, bicameral bill quickly passed the House and Senate before being signed into law by the President.  

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero on 3/15/2020 in response to COVID-19. This move is in an effort to encourage support of businesses who will suffer financial injury during quarantine times. Find details here.

Access Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance Centers - Resources for starting or maintaining a small business in Ohio: https://development.ohio.gov/bs/bs_entrepreneurship.htm

Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Program - The Columbus Foundation’s Emergency Response Program has been activated to help Franklin County nonprofit organizations that are responding to the spread of COVID-19 and experiencing financial challenges by doing so. Please follow the links below to learn about eligibility guidelines and to apply for help as a Franklin County nonprofit organization. https://columbusfoundation.org/emergency-assistance-program-emergency-response-fund

RestaurantStrong Employee Grants for restaurant employees: www.restaurantstrong.org.

 

Another list of grants for Non Profits, Individuals, Artists and Small Businesses.

Bartender Emergency Relief Fund  - To assist bartenders out of work due to COVID-19.  https://www.usbgfoundation.org/beap

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation - Crisis Relief Fund to assist restaurants/bars/kitchens with low interest loans and  to assist restaurant or kitchen workers out of work due to COVID-19. https://bit.ly/2WJRvxU

Southern Smoke Foundation - Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation is accepting applications for funds from restaurants/bars and restaurant employees. https://southernsmoke.org/fund/

One Fair Wage - The OFW  has launched the OFW Emergency Fund. It will provide immediate cash assistance to restaurant employees, delivery workers, and other tipped workers in the food industry. https://ofwemergencyfund.org/

Unite Here Education and Support Fund - Unite Here, a labor union representing groups in the U.S. and Canada, has funds to help its 300,000 members with things like rent, groceries, health insurance, and lost wages. https://unitehere.org/

ROC Disaster Relief Fund - The nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United has set a target of $500,000 for its emergency relief fund, which seeks to help documented and undocumented restaurant workers who lose their jobs during the pandemic. https://rocunited.org/relief/

KIVA - Provides funding opportunities for entrepreneurs where conventional lenders won’t.  https://www.kiva.org/borrow

Dayton Power & Light Company -  Will suspend disconnections for nonpayment until further notice or at least 30 days for nonpayment by business and residential customers. 800-433-8500.

Duke Energy  -Has immediately suspended disconnections for non-payment. This applies to all home and business accounts in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana as well as other states.

Unemployment claims - Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is instructing Ohio employers planning layoffs or shutdowns as a result the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to share the following mass lay-off number with their employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits: 2000180.
 

United Way’s 211 hotline. Open 24/7. Or online at http://www.referweb.net/uwgc/

Grace Period for Health Insurance Premiums - All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured. https://iop-odi-content.s3.amazonaws.com/static/Legal/Bulletins/Documents/2020-03.pdf

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) - To help businesses facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio BWC is announcing the deferment of insurance premium installment payments for March, April and May until June 1, 2020. For more information, visit bwc.ohio.gov.

Banks across the state -  Are taking steps to offer loan payment deferrals, fee waivers or refunds and extend credit lines to both businesses and individuals. Many banks are also suspending foreclosures where possible. Recent federal guidelines give financial institutions more tools to help Ohioans and the banking industry has welcomed these changes. Banks are also showing customers how to protect themselves from coronavirus-related scams and encouraging Ohioans to use digital banking features like mobile apps, online banking or banking by phone. If you need help, please reach out to your bank for assistance. Learn more at ohiobankersleague.com/customers

Resources for individuals and families

 

The American Red Cross has an app called HeroCare which allows access to vital emergency and non-emergency resources for military members, veterans and military families. Visit here for more information.

 

Modest Needs seeks to provide short-term financial assistance to individuals and families in temporary crisis. Information about applying for a grant can be found here.

 

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes has a program for emergency funds. The application can be found here.

 

Salute, Inc. has a program for financial assistance. The application can be found here.

 

Semper Fi & America’s Fund has established a special COVID-19 response team to assist in a variety of ways, including gas cards, gift cards and more. Information may be found here.

 

USA Cares has several programs for veterans, including financial assistance. Information can be found here.

 

H.E.R.O.E.S. Care offers financial assistance. Information on their program can be found here.

 

Operation Home front offers a critical financial assistance program and information can be found here.

 

The Code of Support Foundation has a search engine for identifying a spectrum of resources available to veterans and can be found here.

 

Operation Once In A Lifetime has a Coronavirus Emergency Fund and information can be found here.

 

Over 100 internet companies have pledged not to terminate services to any residential or small business customers who cannot pay their bills, waive any late fees and open its WiFi hotspots to any American who needs them. In a promise to “keep American connected,” the Federal Communications Commission’s site offers a full list of companies and associations that are participating.

 

COVID-19 and mental health: Here at AMVETS Department of Ohio, we have seen firsthand the impact the COVID-19 crisis has on those affected by substance use/misuse. Not only does this crisis complicate access to addiction treatment, including counseling and medication, it also limits personal relationships and access to loved ones. RALI Ohio is spreading the word about the ways you can help. Click the link below to learn more and join us as we continue to practice safe social distancing. RALI Ohio: https://www.ralioh.org/

American Income Life  - Will not charge premiums for members that have been laid for the next 3 months. Once they start back to work they will not have to repay the premiums.

Banks - The DeWine-Husted Administration has worked with representatives from Ohio’s banking community. These companies recognize the hardships that many Ohioans are facing, and they have committed to working through creative ways to help. Ohioans can be confident that banks, both big and small, will be there for them as we move through the crisis and are offering a number of measures to help customers.

Banks across the state are taking steps to offer loan payment deferrals, fee waivers or refunds and extend credit lines to both businesses and individuals. Many banks are also suspending foreclosures where possible. Recent federal guidelines give financial institutions more tools to help Ohioans and the banking industry has welcomed these changesBanks are also showing customers how to protect themselves from coronavirus-related scams and encouraging Ohioans to use digital banking features like mobile apps, online banking or banking by phone. If you need help, please reach out to your bank for assistance. Learn more at ohiobankersleague.com/customers and ohiocreditunions.org.

Unemployment - Questions and answers regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on unemployment benefits can be found here: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm
 

Pay benefits for reduced work hours - SharedWork Ohio allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides eligible individuals an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours. To learn more: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/SharedWorkOhio/
 

Food, cash and medical assistance - The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides food, cash and medical assistance to individuals and families in need. To review eligibility requirements and apply for assistance, please visit: https://benefits.ohio.gov/
 

School meals - Decisions on how free breakfast and lunches are distributed to students is being made by each district. Contact your local district. You may find additional information here: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/Coronavirus
 

Keep Ohio Connected (internet service availability) - Learn what Internet Service providers are doing to keep Ohioans connected, including keeping service turned on during the pandemic and waiving late fees:
https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/dewine-husted-praise-internet-providers-for-commitment-to-keep-americans-connected-pledge

 

Learn new tech skills - TechCred helps Ohioans learn new skills and helps employers build a stronger workforce with the skills needed in a tech-infused economy. Many of these trainings can be completed online. For more information: https://techcred.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/techcred/about
 

Existing DSA Programs - Access existing programs to find local non-profit resources available for those in need, to help maintain your small business, and reduce energy costs to your home.
https://development.ohio.gov/indvservices.htm

Find a Community Action Agency - Locally controlled private nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to reduce poverty and to help low-income people become self-sufficient: https://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_caa.htm
 

Learn about Energy Assistance Programs - Learn how to manage your home energy costs: https://development.ohio.gov/is/is_energyassist.htm
 

Injured worker temporary telehealth policy - Learn how the BWC is initiating temporary policy changes that will allow flexibility in the provision of care to injured workers: https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/downloads/blankpdf/PolicyAlert-TempTeleHealthCOVID-19.pdf
 

Medicaid provisions for uninsured - Learn about how to qualify for Medicaid coverage: https://medicaid.ohio.gov/FOR-OHIOANS/Who-Qualifies

Maintaining Healthcare Coverage for Your Family - Health insurers must allow employers to continue covering employees, even if the employee would otherwise become ineligible because of a decrease in hours worked per week. We know employees may be working a significantly reduced schedule right now, through no fault of their own, and we want to make sure they continue to have access to their health insurance if it’s feasible for the employer at this time. https://iop-odi-content.s3.amazonaws.com/static/Legal/Bulletins/Documents/2020-03.pdf

 

Assistance for Lost Insurance Coverage - Those who do lose insurance coverage, are eligible for a special enrollment period to gain new coverage. Premium subsidies may be available for those who qualify by purchasing plans on the federal exchange.
https://iop-odi-content.s3.amazonaws.com/static/Legal/Bulletins/Documents/2020-03.pdf

In demand jobs during the pandemic - Find available jobs now: Ohio Means Veteran Jobs or Monster.com/companies hiring.

USDA Nutrition Relief: https://www.fns.usda.gov/news-item/usda-020520

Grace Period for Health Insurance Premiums - All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured. https://iop-odi-content.s3.amazonaws.com/static/Legal/Bulletins/Documents/2020-03.pdf

US COVID-19 2nd Stimulus Bill: Heroes Act

Verbage of 2nd stimulus bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6800

 

  • Give a second one-time direct payment of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child, based on 2019 tax returns for those who filed them and 2018 information if they have not. The benefit would start to phase out above $40,000 in income for individuals and $80,000 for couples, going away completely at the $100,000  thresholds, respectively.

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