DeWine: More than $400M coming for small businesses, low-income residents, restaurants, more

Coronavirus

Ohio Statehouse

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The state has announced more than $400 million in CARES Act funding to help Ohio’s small businesses, restaurants and bars, and low-income Ohioans, among others.

According to a statement from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, the package of more than $419.5 million includes $125 million in grants to small businesses with 25 employees or less. The money will help businesses pay for a variety of expenses, including rents or mortgages, utilities, salaries for employees and contractors, business supplies or equipment, and other costs. Businesses must apply for the funding, with applications available starting Nov. 2 at businesshelp.ohio.gov.

“This is an incredibly trying time for small businesses. Many of them are struggling to keep the doors open and the lights on, and we need to help them get through this difficult time,” Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in the statement. “I know from my discussions with small businesses around the state that the package we are announcing today will absolutely save businesses and jobs.”

Additionally, $50 million will go to 47 community action agencies to provide rent, mortgage, and water or sewer assistance to Ohioans in need. The money can be used to help Ohioans pay outstanding balanced dating back to April 1 of this year.

Residents behind on their bills with an annual household income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines ($52,400 for a household of four) will be eligible for assistance. Starting Nov. 2, Ohioans can apply for assistance through their local community action agency, a list of which is available here.

“We know that Ohioans are hurting, and the needs are great. We must do what we can to help them through this crisis,” DeWine said in the statement. “Providing financial support to small businesses, the arts, and nonprofits will help them keep the doors open and Ohioans employed. For Ohioans in need, this assistance will help them stay in their homes, which can make all the difference.”

The administration will also designate $37.5 million of CARES Act funding for the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund. The money will be available for Ohio restaurants and bars struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and limited in the full use of their liquor permit.

Businesses with an on-premise consumption permit will be eligible to receive $2,500 per location.  Businesses need to have an active on-premise permit as of the close of business on Oct. 23, 2020.  Starting Nov. 2, permit holders will be able to apply for assistance at  businesshelp.ohio.gov.

The package also calls for $62 million for rural and critical access hospitals as the response continues for the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding may be applied to additional costs associated with the ongoing pandemic, including various safety measures, and the purchase of critical PPE for first responders.

“We are seeing a record-breaking number of hospitalizations throughout Ohio,” DeWine said. “This is deeply concerning as we are nearing the winter season. COVID-19 is not slowing down, and continues to hit our rural communities hard.”

It also includes $100 million in CARES Act funding for higher education. This funding will support critical COVID-19-related services provided at Ohio’s universities and colleges, including expanding testing for students, faculty, and staff, and mental health services.   

“Our colleges and universities have done a great job at promoting the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff this fall,” said Governor DeWine. “We know that there is a greater need for mental health services, and this funding may be put towards expanding access to those services on campuses.”

In addition, $25 million CARES Act funding will be designated for nonprofits, and $20 million to support Ohio’s world-class arts organizations. These funds will be used for costs incurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, more than $2.1 billion Coronavirus Relief Funds have been distributed to local governments, childcare, PPE, broadband access, and other critical areas in need of financial assistance. 

The package is be taken to the State Controlling Board for approval Monday.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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