Ohio's Controlling Board Approves $419.5 Million in Aid to Help Ohio Businesses Impacted by COVID
The Ohio Controlling Board, which provides legislative oversight over various state fiscal activities, has approved $419.5 million in aid from federal CARES Act funds to support Ohio businesses, hospitals, higher educational institutions, nonprofit and arts organizations, and individuals. Including this amount, the state will have distributed $2.531 billion in federal stimulus dollars.
Among the programs established with the latest distribution are two that specifically target small businesses:
$125 million for the Small Business Relief Program
Under this program, Ohio businesses with no more than 25 employees as of January 1, 2020 are eligible for a $10,000 grant. At least 50 businesses will be funded in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, followed by a first-come first-served approach to awarding the remainder of the funding. For more information see Small Business Relief Grant Fact Sheet.
Eligibility is limited to for-profit businesses in good standing with the Secretary of State, the Department of Taxation, and any other Ohio agencies that regulate the business, and that earn at least 90% of their annual revenue from activities performed in and taxable to Ohio. Certain types of businesses are ineligible for a grant, so the terms and conditions should be viewed prior to applying.
Use of the funds is limited to the following types of expenses:
Personal protective equipment and other measures taken to protect employees, customers, or clients from COVID-19
Mortgage or rent payments and utility payments for business premises
Compensation paid to contractors or employees, including for health insurance
Business supplies or equipment
The on-line application period opens on November 2, 2020. For the application (when available) and more on the eligibility and use of funds restrictions, visit https://businesshelp.ohio.gov/small-business-relief-grant.html.
$37.5 million for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund
Under this program, businesses with an active (as of October 23, 2020) Ohio on-premise liquor consumption permit may receive $2,500 for each unique business location.
The on-line application period opens on November 2, 2020. For more information, including eligible permit types and the application process, see Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund Fact Sheet.
Qualifying businesses may receive grants under both the Small Business Relief Program and the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund.
Funds from the approved CARES Act aid package will also help struggling homeowners, higher education institutions, and nonprofits/arts organizations. These funds have been allocated as follows:
$50 million for Home Relief Grants
Under this program, 47 Community Action Agencies (“CAA”) will receive funding to help Ohioans who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and experiencing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be distributed to assist households in paying outstanding rent, mortgage, water/sewer bills back to April 1, 2020, and other utility bills if needed to prevent shut off. Direct payments will be made by the CAA on the behalf of the applicant to the landlord, bank, or water company.
The applications will be available starting November 2, 2020, and will be made through the applicant’s local CAA. More information and a list of CAAs is available here.
$100 million for higher education institutions
This funding is to be used for critical services including COVID-19 testing and mental health services.
$25 million for nonprofits and $20 million for arts organizations
This funding is to be used for costs incurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
The assistance provided under this newly approved distribution of CARES Act funds should be welcome news for those Ohio businesses, other organizations, and households that have suffered economically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and qualify for funding under one or more of these programs.