Today, the Ohio House unanimously passed House Bill 168 and House Bill 169; bills that would bring about much-needed assistance to adversely impacted industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These bills are very similar to Senate Bill 108 and Senate Bill 109, which recently passed the Ohio Senate. House Bill 168 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.
House Bill 169 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 affected 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.
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.
It is our hope that these relief programs proceed quickly through the legislative process and ultimately into law to provide direct assistance to businesses adversely-impacted by COVID-19.