Athens Area COVID-19 Business Resource Call
March 30, 2020

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Small Business Development Center at OU’s Voinovich School for Leadership, and the Athens County Economic Development Center have partnered to host the Athens Area COVID-19 Business Resource Conference Call. This opportunity is open to all businesses in Athens County.

Join us Thursday, April 2 at 3PM to hear about resources available to your business. We will also be providing an opportunity for questions and feedback.

Space is limited to 100, so please limit one line per business. Register below or e-mail dani@athenschamber.com.

* indicates required fields

Name of Business*:

Representative Name*:

Email*:


Ohio Restaurant Association WebinarOhio Restaurant Association Flyer
March 26, 2020

The Ohio Restaurant Association invites all SE Ohio restaurants, bars, and food service professionals to take part in a webinar on Tuesday, March 31. Special guest OH 6th District Congressman Bill Johnson will be on the call to answer questions as it pertains to what is happening on the federal level. Tod Bowen and John Barker of the ORA will be speaking about what is happening on the state level.

If you can’t make the webinar, but want to gather the information, it will be archived at ohiorestaurant.com/coronavirusupdates.

 


Business Survey
March 25, 2020

How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Business?

Take a short survey to help us identify opportunities for financial relief and prepare advocacy materials to inform state & federal stimulus packages that will help Athens County recover from implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Individual responses will remain confidential.

Take the survey HERE.


#InThisTogetherOhio
March 25, 2020

In partnership with the Athens County Visitor’s Bureau and TourismOhio 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.

To make the video they need some images from Ohio businesses using a sign that says #InThisTogetherOhio like the attached. It should have something with the business name in the photo. TourismOhio will use the best of them in a video that we are looking to support with paid marketing as early as next week.

1. Be unique and creative.
2. Create a sign saying #InThisTogetherOhio
3. Take a picture of yourself or your staff (6-feet apart)
4. Email the image to Matthew MacLaren, matt.maclaren@development.ohio.gov
5. Submit by 2:00pm on March 25th!


Athens County Resource Guide
March 23, 2020

The Athens County Economic Development Council, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and
Athens County Convention & Visitors Bureau created a resource guide to help area businesses
navigate through financial challenges they may be facing as a direct result of the COVID-19 virus
pandemic. We will update as new assistance programs and resources become available at the
local, state and federal levels. This document categorizes assistance into three priority focus
areas:

  1. Resources
  2. Relief
  3. Rebound

Joint Release from Athens County Partners


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
March 19, 2020

Businesses are now able to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Association. EIDL’s are funded through the US Treasury and do not involve banks. We understand this is a crucial time for all of our small businesses. In order to assist the speed and efficiency of applying for these loans, we want to distribute information regarding documents/information that will be required as part of the loan process. If your business intends to apply, please begin pulling together the information below so that you can expedite the online application process. Hard copy applications can be submitted, but this method will slow the process. The SBA is recommending all business apply through the online portal. Find out more HERE. 


Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation Update
March 19, 2020

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

Injured Workers FAQ

Unemployment Update


Ohio receives official disaster declaration
March 29, 2020

Ohio receives official declaration of disaster that will open up the availability of loans for working capital to assist with the impact caused by COVID-19.

Businesses can begin the application process at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela .

We understand that this is an emotional time and nerves are high. When applying, please take your time. Ensure you are providing all the information completely and checking all the boxes. Save the information you have uploaded as you go to ensure work has not been lost. If you do not provide complete information it will slow down your process of applying and ultimately receiving funds. Do not submit the application until you are done uploading all the required information.

When registering, note your username and password. If you aren’t able to complete the application in one sitting, you can return back to the website, click register, and enter your user name and password to continue entering.

As always, Ohio University staff is available. It is best to reach SBDC staff via email as they all are working remotely. Find their contact info HERE.


Anthem Support Guide
March 28, 2020

Our healthcare partners at Anthem provided information about how the benefits available will support businesses. Find out more at www.anthem.com/blog.

Anthem – COVID-19 Support Guide


OHIO JFS – MASS LAYOFFS AND SHUTDOWNS UPDATE
March 18, 2020

Below is a communication that was sent 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.

All Ohio employers planning a mass layoff or shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic should provide the following mass-layoff number – 2000180 – and the information in the second link below for an instructional sheet to their employees in order to speed the processing of unemployment benefits.

COVID-19-affected claimants with otherwise valid applications for unemployment will be awarded benefits. While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be able and available for work, the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived.

COVID-19-affected contributory employers will receive regular monthly charge statements, but these charges will be charged to the mutual account and not the employer’s account.

Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.

For more information, please see the press release at the following link:
Press Release: Ohio JFS Press Release – Mass Layoffs

Instructional Sheet: Mass-Layoff Instruction Sheet


Addendum March 18, 2020, Frequently Asked Questions

1.Is it possible to file for unemployment if the employee has had their hours reduced. Example. 40 hours down to 25 hours?  Can an unemployment claim be filed to make up the lost wages?

Yes the employee can file for unemployment with reduced hours. Also, due to the CV19 the waiting period has been waived.

Ohio Dept of Jobs and Family services has employers and employees go here… http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Employers, please distribute this form to employees laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic to expedite their claim process: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/

2. So does this mean that the specific employers rates will not be impacted? If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, will the employer’s unemployment taxes increase?

For contributory employers, charges during Ohio’s emergency declaration period will be mutualized. Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.


Free Ad for Chamber Members
March 17, 2020

The Post, as well as many businesses in our community are quickly adapting to an ever changing business model and we work through these next several weeks.

Our staff relies on the business community, and knows that our partners are facing some struggles as we move into spring. As a chamber member, and to show our support to the organization that provides so many valuable tools and opportunities for member businesses, we want to be able to support the chamber businesses that we can during this transitional time.

We, at the Post,  are changing how we do business, and how we distribute our editorial content in the upcoming weeks.  The editorial team has plans to print and distribute our weekly tabloid the next two weeks and will continue to evaluate production through the rest of the semester. The Post, which is distributed throughout campus and community locations will continue delivery to campus locations that are open during this time (specific campus buildings that are occupied, grocers, gas stations, pharmacies, and business locations) additionally we will have our paper inserted into subscriber (home delivery) papers in the Athens.

Because the chamber is a valued advertising partner- we will extend a full page ad that will list chamber member businesses who are open, offering amended services (ie delivery/ pick-up services) to keep the community informed. We invite chamber businesses that are retail, and dining establishments to submit your amended hours and any change in services- we will include it to help get the information in front of community members who may not be followers of your social media pages- or have restricted their local travel in the last week.

The ad, in addition to be printed in Thursdays paper,  will also be distributed as a sponsored post on our social media channels, a schedule of the posts will be emailed to participating businesses so they can update their listing as necessary.

This offer is open to Chamber members in good standing, deadline for inclusion is Wednesday March 18th at 2:00 pm

The first social media post will be sent on Thursday March 19th at 9:00 am

Please email postadvertising@ohio.edu. Space is limited, it is our desire to include the greatest number of businesses possible. Please include the following information:

  • business name
  • special business changes (ie delivery only, curbside pickup only, drive though etc.)
  • street address and phone

We will include ALL of the information on the social media ads- but may truncate some information to include everyone who responds in the print version.


Economic Injury Disaster Loans Declaration Process
March 16, 2020

Once Economic Injury Disaster declaration is made and the SBA has confirmed it, the agency will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per small business to assist with economic recovery.

Please feel free to send out the attached handouts as well as the below links to disaster assistance:

The SBA will continue to support small businesses through this difficult time, and we urge them to visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and follow @SBA_Columbus on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter for more updates.


Chamber Staff Telecommuting
March 16, 2020

We are going through an unprecedented disruption together. But we have been tested before in different ways, and always emerge stronger – and I have no doubt this will prove true once again.

Our businesses continue to adjust and adapt to better and safely serve you. Please continue to patronize them via e-commerce, take-out, delivery, or gift card purchase.

Follow us, Visit Athens Ohio and #UptownAthens on social media for opportunities and information from our business community.

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.

In addition, all Chamber-sponsored events are cancelled during the same time-frame.

Love Athens – Be Well – Support Business


Social Distancing introduced
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.

We strongly encourage the public to take easy and safe steps to still support our friends and neighbors during this time. Many businesses are temporarily adjusting their service delivery to accommodate these precautions. Call your favorite restaurants for delivery or take-out. Many retailers have an online store you can shop from. Almost all have gift certificates. Send an e-mail or call your friends and neighbors with a business and ask what you can do to support them.

All of them are taking extra precautions to ensure their customers are safe, healthy, and comfortable while still patronizing their business.

Love Athens – Support Our Businesses


Business Toolkit Released from chamber
March 10, 2020

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is monitoring communication about the developing situation involving the coronavirus (COVID-19.) The Chamber understands this may have an impact on our business community and want you to have the support and resources you need.

We believe that businesses should be reviewing their plans and how they might prepare for the current and possible impacts of COVID-19 virus.

Review Protections for Staff and Customers

Encourage staff to wash hands diligently and ensure there is appropriate cleaning supplies for workstations and public areas. Businesses should consider offering the ability to work remotely, if possible. This is especially important for ill or immune-compromised staff.

Find Resources for Business and Employers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HERE.

Stay Connected

Staying connected to both what is being communicated from public health officials and what you need to say to your customer base is important. While there is a lot of uncertainty about this developing, you are in control of how your business responds.

The Chamber suggests making your response and plans known to your customer base. This can include current precautions you are taking to protect staff and customers, whether you are operating business as usual, or if you plan to impact customer interactions. Adjust your communication plan to reflect the decisions.

Review Business Continuity Plan

While we hope the current measures are due to pro-active response, we understand this may significantly disrupt your operations. Reviewing your business’s current disaster and recovery plan is ideal. Visit Ready.Gov to create your own Business Continuity Plan.