ODJFS Employment and Training Grant: Lt. Governor Husted announced June 11 that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will receive an $8.5 million federal Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker Grant to help reemploy individuals who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help employers rebuild their workforces. ODJFS will work with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation to facilitate the grant program through local OhioMeansJobs centers and will distribute the funding to Ohio’s local workforce areas. ODJFS will also provide outreach to employers and services to individuals who were laid off, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of the pandemic.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Available: The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced May 13 that Ohioans can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers than the traditional unemployment program. Those who believe they may be eligible should visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and click the button that says “Click Here to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.” Individuals who pre-registered for the program received an email earlier this week with instructions for how to complete their applications. To read the release on PUA, click here.
Possible Future Aid: On May 15, the House approved a fifth aid bill dubbed the “HEROES Act” (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) that would authorize additional COVID assistance totaling $3 Trillion. The measure is unlikely to progress, however, as it is not supported by many Republican lawmakers. The bill includes another round of direct cash payments to individuals, extends unemployment benefits to the end of January, adds hazard pay for front-line workers and includes aid to state and local governments. It also expands virus-testing efforts and contact tracing and treatment. The bill also includes some changes to programs that were approved in the CARES Act, including an expansion of the IRS payment program. In addition, the plan sets aside $3.6 billion to protect federal elections, $25 billion to support the U.S. Postal Service, $100 billion for low-income rent support, $75 billion for a homeowner assistance fund and $100 million for the Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs. It also would expand funding for small-business loans, enhance an employee-retention tax credit program and boost worker protections.
State of Ohio COVID-19 Update:
JobsOhio Liquor Rebate: JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control announced May 11 they will offer a one-time rebate to bars and restaurants to defray the cost of restocking high-proof spirituous liquor. Beginning in mid-May, JobsOhio will provide a $500 rebate in high-proof spirituous liquor to eligible permits for purchases made through Ohio Liquor Contract Liquor Agencies. Permit holders must register to be eligible for rebate. To view qualifying permits and to register for the liquor rebate program, visit https://wholesale.ohlq.com/
Reopening Ohio: On May 19, Governor DeWine announced that an urgent health advisory, named Ohioans Protecting Ohioans, will replace the current public health orders. This lifts many of the mandatory restrictions on the general public, but keeps in place the recently published sector-specific requirements for businesses and employers. The order does not change the mass gathering restrictions, which remain at a 10-person limit. The Governor also announced that all travel for healthy persons either within or out of state is now permitted, but discouraged. The 14-day quarantine requirement after travel has also been removed.
Governor DeWine is expected to announce his plans for re-opening the state today, a delay of several days compared to the initial release date of April 23. Ohio’s legislative leaders have released their plans for re-opening the state. The Ohio House of Representatives plan, Open Ohio Responsibly Framework, shows signatures from 23 state legislators on the plan’s release. The Ohio Senate’s Minority Caucus outlined their priorities for re-opening in letter to Gov. DeWine which was signed by that chamber’s Democratic leadership team. In addition, Senator Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican and next in line to be President of the Ohio Senate, has been calling on DeWine to remove business restrictions in rural areas of the state.
Friday afternoon, Governor DeWine announced positive developments addressing the shortage of testing swabs and reagent. Ohio has lagged in testing volume due to these shortages. Governor DeWine along with former Governors Celeste and Taft worked with a company developing a new reagent, Thermo Fisher. The FDA approved the new reagent earlier this week.