Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Weekly Chamber COVID-19 Update

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July 9, 2020
HEALTH DASHBOARD UPDATES
For the most recent information on COVID-19 case numbers by jurisdiction, please visit the following dashboards:
Ohio  
Kentucky
Indiana
Hamilton County
City of Cincinnati

CRITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
•    Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine mandated that all counties at Red Level 3 in the state’s new alert system will be required to wear masks in public. In our region, based on updated statistics released Thursday, that includes Hamilton, Butler and Clermont Counties. Both Hamilton and Butler Counties are also on the state’s watch list to possibly reach Purple Level 4, the highest alert level.
•    On Thursday, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky would be adopting a statewide mask mandate beginning at 5:00pm on Friday, July 10. The mandate includes public places and has exemptions for people with medical conditions that prohibit masks, outdoor activities like exercising and more. The order will be posted online soon.
•    To help businesses maintain healthy work environments and serve more customers, the Cincinnati Chamber is still offering RESTART Kits containing hand sanitizer, surface disinfectant, and face coverings. Claim your FREE kit here.

FEDERAL AND NATIONAL NEWS
•    President Trump signed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8. The Small Business Administration said they still had $130 billion of PPP funds remaining at the end of June.
•    State and local governments have cut 1.5 million jobs across the country due to budget concerns. This has primarily affected education, a topic Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said may be addressed in the next stimulus bill. Senator McConnell also said healthcare, jobs and liability protections are at the top of his priority list and that he expected a final product before the end of July.
•    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also indicated the White House would be pushing for a new package before July ends. Administration priorities include a second round of economic stimulus checks to households, unemployment benefits for furloughed workers and a targeted small business relief program that would be more specific than the Paycheck Protection Program.
•    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in May, hires across the nation were up 2.4 million compared to April, and separations (combination of quits, layoffs and discharges) dropped 5.8 million to pre-pandemic levels. 
•    President Trump is pushing for states to resume in-person classroom instruction for K-12 education this fall. The White House is expected to provide guidance to states and local school districts in the coming weeks, but Vice President Mike Pence said it will not be meant to replace local decisions.
•    Initial unemployment claims have continued to drop slightly. Another 1.3 million Americans submitted unemployment insurance claims this past week. This is the 14th consecutive week initial unemployment claims have dropped since the end of March.

STATE NEWS
OHIO
•    Ohio has passed a threshold on its unemployment rate, triggering an extension of unemployment benefits to individuals for another 20 weeks. The state’s current unemployment benefits period is 26 weeks, and Congress already authorized an additional 13 weeks. With the new extension, an unemployed Ohio worker may receive unemployment benefits for a total of 59 weeks. More information is available from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
•    The state’s tax receipts for June were short of estimates by 2.2%, or about $50 million. The state ended the fiscal year $1.1 billion short of estimated tax receipts, but did not need to use funds from the Rainy Day Fund to cover the gap. Governor DeWine expected fiscal year 2021 would require the state to tap into the Rainy Day Fund.
•    New guidance for reopening institutions of higher education has been developed between the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Department of Higher Education and colleges and universities throughout the state. Information is posted online.
•    With guidance for both K-12 and higher education now available, the state is looking to distribute $300M in CARES Act funding, with $100M going to K-12 school districts and all institutions of higher education. Funds are to be allocated for purposes related to COVID expenses.
•    Governor DeWine announced a $15M grant would be made available to prevent families from experiencing homelessness due to circumstances caused by the pandemic.
•    The state announced a $2.5M grant program called the Individual Micro-credential Program (IMAP). This program will provide funding for training providers to enroll low income and partially or totally unemployed individuals to receive a micro-credential.
•    Gov. DeWine signed an executive order making Ohio eligible for more federal funding through the CARES Act for the state’s layoff aversion program, SharedWork Ohio. Employers can agree to reduce the affected employees’ hours by a uniform percentage, between 10% and 50%, for up to 52 weeks. In return, those employees receive a prorated unemployment benefit.

KENTUCKY
•    Governor Beshear announced that the Department for Local Government would be distributing $7 million in federal aid through the CARES Act to local governments in Northern Kentucky. These are: Fort Mitchell, Villa Hills, Williamstown, Wilde, Mason County, Florence, Erlanger, Alexandria, Grant County, Fort Wright, Highland Heights, Elsmere, Southgate, Pendleton County, Edgewood and Covington.
•    Gov. Beshear has extended his executive order prohibiting price gouging for goods and services, protecting consumers from being unfairly overcharged during the pandemic. Consumers can contact the Attorney General to file a price gouging complaint. 
•    Gov. Beshear announced that the Kentucky Road Fund budget shortfall is about $100M less than expected, and cuts already made may be enough to cover the deficit.
•    Another 200 EY employees are processing state unemployment insurance claims. The state is also holding in-person sessions at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Monday-Wednesday of next week.
•    An additional $36.2M of CARES Act funding will be distributed to 61 local and regional health departments throughout the commonwealth.

INDIANA
•    The state will continue to support mask-wearing requirements in places they are instituted, though Gov. Holcomb has not confirmed if masks will be mandated statewide. Four Indiana counties, including Marion, Elkhart, LaGrange and St. Joseph counties, have created mask requirements.

LOCAL NEWS
•    Mask mandates are being enforced by the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Health Departments.  Complaints or questions about enforcement should be directed to them rather than law enforcement.
•    Hamilton County’s reproductive number was 1.07, down from 1.12 last week.
•    In compliance with state and local orders, all Metro riders will be required to wear a facial covering on the bus, with the exception of children under the age of six.

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