CINCINNATI — Hamilton County is launching a new small business relief program that will provide $10,000 to help certain local businesses struggling to keep up with rent, utilities and employee pay.
“We got a lot of energy behind this and trying to get it out of the door next week,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus.
Business owners can sign up online to apply for the money as long as they didn’t already get federal money through the Paycheck Protection Program.
"A business has to have under 50 employees,” Driehaus said. “They have to have less than a million in gross revenue. They have to, obviously, be in Hamilton County. The $10,000, we think, is enough to help people pay rent, utilities, you know, get inventory in place so when they open up they're ready to go."
Businesses across the Tri-State have cash-saving options available as well, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Some of those benefits include money for publicly funded daycares to pay staff for up to 21 sick days, liquor buy-back programs for bars and restaurants and deferment of health insurance and rent or mortgage payments for at least three months.
Businesses are also facing new mandatory sanitation guidelines they must meet to stay open and keep customers and employees safe. Local health departments are available to help set up best practices.
“There's requirements about wiping down high touch surfaces and frequency of doing so,” said interim Hamilton County health director Greg Kesterman. “Businesses need to have safety measures now for their staff, they need to check temperatures, they need to do social distancing and spacing for guests and employees.”
Meeting these requirements takes a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE), which can be difficult to procure due to high demand.
In order to help each other out, Ohio manufacturers created a website to share, sell and donate protective gear and cleaning supplies.
“Each of us individually have a lot of responsibility here to keep everyone safe so that this works and we keep as many people out of the hospital as possible,” Kesterman said.