Ohio Issues CARES Act Grants for Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Ohio is one state that has suffered economically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 14, Governor DeWine started issuing orders that closed bars, restaurants and other places where people congregate. Over the next weeks and months, the Governor shut down or put a temporary halt to elective surgeries, adult daycare and childcare and other businesses and programs. When places reopened, many had to do so at a reduced capacity. Ohio just received funds from the third distribution of the CARES Act. On Friday, October 23, Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted announced $430 million in grants for nonprofits, small businesses, colleges, universities and hospitals.

Money for Businesses With Fewer Than 25 Employees

Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly negotiated $125 million in grants for small businesses that have 25 or fewer workers. The allocation is for grants of up to $10,000 apiece for each business.

Grants for Businesses With Valid Liquor Licenses for Onsite Consumption

Ohio will distribute a total of $37.5 million in grants for establishments that hold a valid liquor license and are in good standing with the health department. This allotment is for businesses with on-premises consumption. Each business is eligible for up to $2,500 in funds.

Funds for Rural and Critical Care Hospitals

About one-third of Ohioans live in a rural area. The state has allotted $62 million in grants rural and 25-bed critical access hospitals. These hospitals lost a lot of revenue when elective and inpatient procedures were temporarily halted.

Money for State Colleges and Universities

Ohio will distribute $100 million for colleges and universities across the state. The funds are primarily to pay for COVID-19 testing of students, faculty and staff. There are also funds to provide mental health counseling for students, staff and faculty at these educational institutions.

Help for Housing and Utility Assistance

Many restaurant, food service, retail, childcare and other workers got laid off or furloughed when Ohio shut down certain segments of the economy in March and April. The state will now distribute $50 million in funds through Community Action Agencies to help people who are behind on their utility, rent or mortgage payments. There will be income eligibility requirements for this housing and utility assistance.

Grants for Nonprofits

Ohio has issued $25 million in grant support for nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations have provided direct material support to Ohioans in need. Food banks and similar organizations have seen a huge demand for food, diapers, toiletries, cleaning products and more.

Funds for Arts Organizations

Ohio announced that it will provide $20 million for arts organizations. Many local and statewide arts organizations have severely suffered as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns. For example, the Columbus Museum of Art announced on October 22 that it was eliminating 39 positions due to lack of revenue. Most arts organizations and cultural centers have been closed since March. The Executive Director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, Angela Meleca, said that the funding is critical for helping stages and cultural institutions reopen when they are allowed by the state to do so. CAPA's CEO Chad Whittington stated that the funds won't solve the financial crisis in the arts and culture industries, but the money is a big step in the right direction.

How Nonprofits and Small Businesses Can Apply for the CARES Act Grants

Ohio will begin accepting applications for the grant funds on November 2. Small business and nonprofit operators can go to businesshelp.ohio.gov to apply. The state is hoping to spread the money across all of Ohio's 88 counties. To make this happen, they have set aside $44 million until at least 50 nonprofits or small businesses get money in each county. If there are funds remaining after that initial three-week period of distribution, the money will be released to the general pool so that businesses from anywhere in the state can get help.

What Ohio Has Already Done

Lieutenant Governor Husted stated that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some businesses have thrived. Others are barely making it. Some have already permanently closed. These funds are focused on the companies and organizations that are barely making it and at high risk of closing. He added that Ohio won't be able to help every business, but these funds could prevent many of them from permanently closing and causing more job losses.

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