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New office created to help small businesses in Ohio during COVID-19 outbreak

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 17:26:40-04

On Tuesday, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the creation of a new office within the Ohio Development Services Agency designed to help small businesses navigate and survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The Office of Small Business Relief is intended to better coordinate the state's efforts to identify and support small businesses in the state.

According to Husted, the office will:

  • Serve as the state's main agency for administering federal recovery funds awarded to Ohio for small business support and recovery.
  • Work with federal, state and local agencies to determine regulations designed to encourage employment and job creation in Ohio.
  • Coordinate the efforts of Ohio's Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Assistance Centers.

Husted said this office was born as a result of feedback he and DeWine recieved about the needs of small business owners throughout the state. He said business should also be planning for the long-term, because although cases will begin to eventually go down following a predicted peak, it won't all immediately just get better.

"It won't happen like flipping a switch," said Husted. "So businesses, think about how you're going to prepare...We don't want this to spread again when you open back up, it will decimate your workforce and it's the opposite of what we're trying to do."

He said even after confirmed cases begin to decrease in Ohio, small business owners need to be prepared to continue rigid hygiene rules, social distancing and disinfecting routines, including providing masks for employees and hand sanitizer available for workers and customers.

Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for small business owners:

How do I apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program?

You can apply for the loan online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, which is recommended, or by calling 1-800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.

I had to stop in the middle of my EIDL application. Will my information save?

Unfortunately, if you stop in the middle of the application, it will not save information, and you will have to start over.

Where can I find more information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak?

Please visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Does my business qualify as essential?

To help determine if your business is essential, please review Ohio's "Stay at Home" order PDF. Please note, it is up to each business owner to read the complete order and make that determination for their business.

Where can I find more information on the Federal Economic Stimulus Package?

The Federal Economic Stimulus (CARES Act) was recently signed into law. The U.S. Small Business Administration is reviewing the new law and will soon be issuing rules and guidelines for small businesses. In the meantime, additional guidance and loan information is available here: Cares Act Small Business Guide PDF.

Where can I find more information on the unemployment compensation system?

Please visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Coronavirus and unemployment information page. If you have any other questions regarding unemployment, you are encouraged to reach out to Job and Family Services at 1-877-644-6562, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

I have already submitted the "Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet." Do I still need to submit an application on the U.S. Small Business Administration site?

The Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet was required for the state to receive its emergency declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Now that Ohio has qualified for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, you will need to submit an application with the SBA. You can do so at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Are there any other resources available to my business and/or employees?

If you have already sent an email to BusinessHelp@development.Ohio.Gov, you have been added to our contact list and will receive updated information as it becomes available. To be added to our contact list, please send an email to BusinessHelp@Development.ohio.gov from your preferred email address.

How do I determine which federal financing program is best for me?

America's Small Business Development Center Network has put together a helpful comparison document PDF that highlights the differences between the currently available financing programs.