Stay up to date on all current news as it relates to COVID-19. We are working to keep it organized in a way that streamlines information. Here you’ll find information in the top three topics of importance; funding, employment, government orders and direction. Our goal is to keep you as informed as possible, while giving you the power to gather the information at your convenience.

You can also find our toolkit with helpful resources HERE.


May 5, 2020

ODJFS Return to Work Guidelines

As employers begin reopening their doors to a “new normal,” in compliance with the Responsible RestartOhio requirements, many employees are expected to return to their previous employment. Ohio law prohibits individuals from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept offers of suitable work, or quit work, without good cause. Read More


Office of Workforce Development and ODJFS Rapid Response Toolkit
April 28, 2020

MLO Instructions COVID19


DOL EBS Job Loss Info


Unemployment A-Z News Release


April 27, 2020

Late Wednesday afternoon, the United States Senate approved another $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

To continue reading about the latest program, click here.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

SBA will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. (ET) from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower


April 27, 2020

Starting Friday, April 24, Ohioans who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin pre-registering for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers many more categories of workers. To pre-register for PUA benefits, Ohioans should visit and click on “Get Started Now.” Read more

  • Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email


COVID-19 Update- Ohio Department of Development
April 21, 2020
  • This week, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’ Compensation (BWC) will begin sending up to $1.6 billion in dividends to Ohio employers to ease the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s business community and economy. The dividend equals approximately 100% of the premiums employers paid in policy year 2018. Approximately $1.4 billion will go to private employers and nearly $200 million will go to local government taxing districts. For a county breakdown of the dividend, visit this link on BWC’s website. Dividends for specific public employers are public record and can be found at this link.
  • Today, JobsOhio, Peoples Bank and First Federal/Home Savings Bank announced a partnership to support existing small business clients with maintaining operations and payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. JobsOhio has committed up to $50 million to assist with this. For information on how to apply for this lending support, businesses should visit, or
  • Governor DeWine announced the creation of a new Testing Strike Force team lead by former Governors Richard Celeste and Bob Taft that will work with leaders from business, academia, and public health to be part of the effort to help Ohio source critical testing items such a reagents. Governor DeWine also announced that the FDA has approved the use of a new reagent for testing developed by Thermo Fisher which will help with the state’s testing capabilities.
  • The FDA has authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19. Specifically, the FDA re-issued the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using LabCorp’s Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test home collection kit. The entire announcement can be found HERE.
  • Governor DeWine announced today that the Ohio Department of Agriculture has waived the required $50,000 local match for the Agricultural Society Facilities Grant Program. Ohio’s operating budget set aside this grant funding to help fairs make necessary facilities and grounds improvements. Fairs could apply for the $50,000 grant with a required $50,000 from local governments and businesses. Fair managers have until May 30th to apply via the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website
  • Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888- 642-8203, Monday through Friday 7AM to 7PM, Saturday 9AM to 5PM, and Sunday 9AM to 1PM. Employers with questions should email

As always, Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov and the Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4-ASK-ODH are great resources for those who have questions.


Small Business Tax
April 20, 2020

OhioSE COVID-19 Business Update
April 19, 2020
  • The SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is expected to receive another $310 billion this week for loans to small businesses. This money will go fast. For small businesses that might struggle with the PPP application process, this video put together by the Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, contains tips on what you should be prepared for. Please share as appropriate. The SBDC staff can provide free counseling to small businesses. The SBDC based out of Ohio University’s Voinovich School does great work across a 12-county area; their COVID resource page can be found here. A map with links to other Ohio SBDCs serving the rest of the region and state can be found here.
  • For those businesses looking to reopen soon, here are two guides that may be of assistance in your planning phase:
  • In our last email we mentioned a possible disincentive for workers to return to work after layoffs due to the extra federal stimulus funds added to unemployment benefits. Several employers have shared concerns. Ohio Job & Family Services sources indicate if an employer calls a laid off employee back to their job, a worker’s refusal to return to work can result in a cancellation of unemployment benefits and possible pay back of undue payments. However, please be aware the unemployment system is currently swamped trying to respond to record-setting claim volumes. For future reference, there is an employer section of the unemployment help website that may be a resource.

As always, please visit our COVID-19 Resource page frequently as it is updated when new programs and information is available, and don’t hesitate to reach out should you have questions.


Funding Resource Call
March 30, 2020

The Chamber is hosting special guests from the Athens County Economic Development Council and the Small Business Development Center. We will be covering information in regards to the new SBA opportunities and answer questions. This opportunity is open to all Athens County businesses. Read More.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans NOW AVAILABLE
March 19, 2020

Businesses are now able to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Association. EIDL’s are funded directly through the US Treasury and do not involve banks and are for working capital. Read More.


Unemployed Ohioans Urged to File Weekly Claims on Designated Days
April 20, 2020

COLUMBUS, OHIO – In an effort to streamline claims processing and expedite payments, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is implementing a new weekly claim filing process for Ohioans who have been approved to receive unemployment benefits. Starting on Sunday, April 26, individuals filing weekly claims should do so on the day of the week specified below, based on the first letter of their last name.


Date First Letter of Last Name
Sunday A through H
Monday I through P
Tuesday Q through Z
Wednesday All
Thursday All
Friday All
Saturday All

To ensure fastest processing, claimants also should set their correspondence preference to “electronic,” as opposed to U.S. mail.

“The new process will help relieve pressure on our system so that claims can be filed more easily and paid more quickly,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “Once a claim is processed, payment can be made by direct deposit within three business days.”

Ohioans can submit initial applications for benefits at any time. ODJFS encourages individuals to apply online at Those without internet access or who need assistance can file by phone at (877) OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. First-time applicants should be prepared to provide their name and Social Security number as listed on their Social Security card and, if they are unemployed as a result of COVID-19, the mass-layoff number 2000180.

For answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19-related unemployment claims, visit

Employment Resource Call
April 1, 2020

The Chamber is hosting special guests from Athens County Job and Family Services and Ohio Means Jobs to answer your employment questions. This opportunity is open to all Athens County businesses. Read More.

Ohio JFS – Mass Layoffs Update
March 18, 2020

Ohio Job and Family Services sent updated communication from the Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations (OUIO) to businesses regarding mass layoffs and shutdowns due to COVID-19. This communication also includes the mass-layoff number to be used for employees seeking claims. Read More.

Careworks, BWC Updates
March 13. 2020

CareWorks Compensation, our BWC partner, has issued information and updates in regards to unemployment and injured workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read More.


Office of Small Business Relief
April 7, 2020

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced the creation of the Office of Small Business Relief within the Ohio Development Services Agency. The Office will coordinate state efforts to identify and provide direct support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses. Read More.

Ohio Receives Disaster Declaration
March 29, 2020

Ohio received official declaration of disaster that will open up the availability of loans for working capital to assist with the impact caused by COVID-19. See more details from out partners at the Small Business Development Center. Read More.

Restaurant Webinar
March 26, 2020

The Ohio Restaurant Association invites all SE Ohio restaurants, bars, and food service professionals to take part in a webinar. ORA will host this important opportunity with Special guest OH 6th District Congressman Bill Johnson. Read More.

March 25, 2020

We are working on an #InThisTogetherOhio video that also encourages Ohioans to order from Ohio restaurants and buy online from Ohio retailers that are doing online sales. Join in the efforts! Read More.

Chamber Staff Telecommuting
March 16, 2020

Beginning March 17, our offices will be closed through the end of the month. Our staff will be telecommuting during this time and remain available for communication, assistance, and requests. Read More.

Chamber Response to Social Distancing
March 13, 2020

The Chamber has been closely monitoring the development of and response to COVID-19 related to our community and businesses. Social distancing, while important to public health, will have a significant impact on our business community. Read More.