Ohio will be making a series of changes to the unemployment compensation system to assist workers who are displaced as a result of the coronavirus spread, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Sunday.
The changes, to be implemented through an executive order, clarify that those who are quarantined are considered to be unemployed and would not be subject to requirements that they seek work. That will also apply in cases in which companies determine they need to shut down operations. (Additional Details)
The state will also waive a one-week delay in unemployment benefits and expedite payments, Mr. Husted said. The cost will be mutualized and the state will waive penalties for individual businesses.
Mr. Husted said there will be a role for the Ohio legislature to work on the unemployment compensation system, but the changes announced Sunday will not require legislative approval.
To support bar and restaurant owners that were preparing for St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness events, the state will also allow them to return recently purchased, unopened liquor products to the agency where it was purchased, Lt. Gov. Husted said.
“We hope this will help relieve some of the chronic economic strain that the businesses might be experiencing at this time,” he said.
The Development Services Agency is also applying to qualify for economic injury disaster loans from the federal government. Those loans would be available to small businesses and nonprofits.
Many of the items implemented Sunday were developed in consultation with businesses, he said.
Education: Gov. Mike DeWine also clarified school-related comments he made on national television earlier Sunday.
He said that while he has closed schools until at least April 6, he has advised superintendents they should be prepared for in-class instruction to be prohibited for “an extended period of time.”
“The odds are that three weeks is not going to do it,” he said. “The time is likely to be extended.”
The governor said he appreciates the steps that many employers have taken to keep people out of their normal work settings, but asked businesses to again consider whether there are additional employees who can work from home.
“The more we keep people from congregating, the better off we are,” he said. “We’re taking these steps to save lives.”