Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 108 and Senate Bill 109. Both bills would authorize emergency grants to be utilized by adversely impacted industries by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SB 108 provides much-needed grants to help try to alleviate some of the loss that businesses in the hospitality industry have experienced over the course of the last year. The bill appropriates $125 million to provide grants to bars, restaurants and lodging businesses. Grants for the businesses effected would be awarded in amounts of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 and would be awarded based on factors such as demonstrated loss of revenue and the number of employees eligible bars and restaurants employ.
SB 109 provides for emergency grant funding to local fairs, indoor entertainment venues, new businesses and small businesses. All the groups above have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and this bill brings targeted assistance to help them through these difficult, unprecedented times. This bill appropriates nearly $300 million in assistance to these industries. Half of this funding is going towards the continuation of the Small Business Relief Grant Program that was created late last year.
Businesses would be eligible to apply for grants of $10,000. These funds can be used for any of the following:
- Personal protective equipment to protect employees, customers or clients from COVID-19.
- Measures taken to protect employees, customers or clients from COVID-19.
- Mortgage or rent payments for business premises (personal residences explicitly excluded).
- Utility payments (excludes utilities for personal residences and cellular phones not used primarily for business purposes).
- Salaries, wages or compensation paid to contractors or employees, including an employer’s share of health insurance costs.
- Business supplies or equipment.
Additionally, the Ohio Chamber lent their support to the companion versions of these bills in the Ohio House Economic and Workforce Development Committee today. House Bill 168 and House Bill 169 will accomplish the same goal as SB 108 and SB 109 and we look forward to these measures proceeding quickly through the legislative process and into law in order to provide a much-needed lifeline to Ohio businesses.