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Editor's Note: This letter was sent out by Jodie Perry to the local business community.

MANSFIELD -- How much keeps changing. We’re working hard to stay on top of the changes for the business community and help you navigate this storm.

Please continue to reach out to our team if we can help. Read on for important updates:

SBA Disaster Loans

As I’m sure you have heard by now, the SBA did issue their disaster declaration for the SBA loans that are available. You may apply now. This has special information regarding our declaration. Special note – these are available for both small businesses and non-profits as well. The SBA is encouraging people to call if you have questions – 800-659-2955. Again, I link to the following documents that are related to this:

Overview slide deck

One-page overview of program

A short overview of information from Barrett Thomas on this topic

Health Insurance Premium Deferments

Today the Governor announced that the Department of Insurance was working with insurers to direct them to allow employers a grace period to pay for health insurance premiums for up to 60 calendar days of the date of your bill. And the insurers must continue to allow the employer to cover employees who may not be qualifying for coverage due to reduced hours. We are waiting on more details on this. I will push that out in my next update.

BWC & Coronavirus

The Bureau of Workers Compensation has provided a good overview sheet with answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Unemployment Questions

The State’s unemployment claims have skyrocketed, as you can imagine. Again, I know that many of you are working with employees through this process. The State has issued a memo that gives a number for this mass layoff. I neglected to link that the other day. Again, to highlight what you should do:

From the team at OhioMeansJobs - First, it’s extremely important to note that people need to file for unemployment either online or via phone. There are no in-person applications. To speed up applications, the State has provided a number for mass layoffs. Please see this memo for more info.

We understand there are long waits however, the only way to register is to use the website or phone number at 1-877-644-6562. The web site is: http://unemployment.Ohio.gov or for Hearing Impaired TTY Service dial toll-free: 1-888-642-8203

Individuals can access this contact information 24 hours/7 days a week.

If people have registered for Unemployment Insurance in the past and have forgotten their PIN number, the number to reset their PIN is 1-866-962-4064, otherwise, they will have to wait on a letter with their new PIN assignment to complete their application.

A Plea for PPE

If you have listened to the State updates, you have heard that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in very short supply. Our local EMA Director, Rick Evans, is sending out a plea to businesses that may have this material to donate to them for first responders on the front lines of this crisis. That would include things like surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, and more. Please call EMA at 419-774-5686 to arrange for pick up or drop off. This is an urgent need to protect our responders. Please help if able.

The Area Agency Needs Your Help

Susan Montgomery from the Area Agency on Aging reports: We’re operating at full capacity and stand ready to serve. However, given the current crisis we are anticipating increased calls with unique needs. We are updating our resource data base and ask for your help to ensure that we have the most current information to provide to individuals reaching out to us. If you know of an individual needing assistance, please have them call us at 800-860-5799.

I need to ask for everyone’s help on this, if you know of any assistance that is available to our 60+ population in your area can you please message me back with details and contact numbers. We have many seniors calling in needing help and we need to know what is out there.

Do you know of a church or agency that has food or delivering meals, transportation, volunteers working to help deliver items to homes, local grocery stores delivering food or Rx, just about any help - we want to know about, please? Please make sure all info is current, so we can share the information with seniors that call in needing help. You can email Susan Montgomery for more.

ATTN MANUFACTURERS – Can you help?

JobsOhio, on behalf of Governor DeWine, has asked local Economic Development organizations to develop a list of Ohio manufacturers that make medical personal protective equipment (PPE) or could convert to making it.

Given the current crisis, we wanted to reach out to you to determine if you might have the capacity to assist in this time of national emergency and contribute directly to the effort to combat COVID-19.

JobsOhio is seeking information on manufacturing capabilities for the products listed here - most importantly, the first 13. Please note we are only in the process of quickly obtaining information at this time - there is no feedback yet as to if/when these processes may be needed, but if you have information, please email Jessica Gribben at jgribben@chooserichland.com with the following:

Company Name

Capabilities

Contacts/Address

Please Remind People

The Governor and team have announced this several times, but it would help for employers to reinforce – the supply chains for food are moving. There is no need for people to buy large quantities. The banks are open and will stay open. Most banks have moved to drive thru only and/or a visit by appointment. Encourage them to call ahead.

Please support our food service

We’re joining with our partners at Destination Mansfield who have compiled a list of restaurants/food service locations who are offering take out/delivery/curbside. The list will continue to be updated (in fact we just sent a giant update that will be added soon, keep checking). If you see something missing, please email Ashley Meyer with the appropriate details. Please continue to support these businesses, while maintaining the proper health protocols.

Business Best Practices

The Lt. Governor today shared some best practices from businesses around the State on how they are dealing with this crisis. I listened and tried to type them up, you can see them here. If they put together a more formal list, I will share that with you. Please take some time to review these to ensure you’re keeping your employees, their families, and the community safe.

Local Health Care COVID-19 Resources

Here is a toolkit provided by OhioHealth about COVID-19 and their health system. It’s packed with good information about the virus and how to protect yourself and respond appropriately.

Avita Health System also has an informational page and a Coronavirus Information Hotline (open 9:00am-6:00pm daily) at 419-468-0800.

And again – the Ohio Department of Health has a great page with useful info. Their hotline is 1-833-4ASKODH.

Final Thoughts…

Once again, the Governor’s press conferences are getting increasingly frank. He is urging the business community to respond appropriately. I’ve taken many calls today from businesses asking if all non-essential businesses would be shut down. I have no advance information, but when you listened to today’s conference, it was clear that is an option.

ODH has been clear, tests are being reserved for the sickest of patients at this point so that medical personnel know what precautions to take. Do not think that because our test numbers are so low that life is normal. The decisions we are making as employers, as citizens, as families will impact many other people.

It’s imperative to heed the calls they are making. We may not be among the most vulnerable population, but we all know and love people who are.

I’ve been leaning on literary wisdom to close these emails. Today I will touch upon another favorite series of mine, Harry Potter (and the Chamber of Secrets):

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

The reality is, the choices you and I are making each day are vastly more important now than they ever have been. I choose kindness. I choose love. I choose safety. I choose forgiveness. I choose handwashing. I choose protecting others. I choose not to panic. I choose to be thankful to the medical professionals on the front lines. I choose to be thankful for this community.

We’re in this together. Let’s support each other by heeding the call.

Onward.

Jodie

Jodie A. Perry, CCE, IOM, CCEO-AP

President & CEO

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