Ohio Bill Offers COVID Relief for Bars, Restaurants and Venues

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“The backbone of the valley has always been small businesses such as the bar and restaurant industry and providing them some relief during this difficult time is crucial,” said State Representative Al Cutrona.

COLUMBUS – Schools, bars, restaurants and hotels are among Ohio businesses and entities that could share more than $ 2 billion in additional federal COVID-19 relief if a series of bills pass unanimously at the Ohio House also passed through the Senate and was signed by Governor Mike DeWine.

Most of the funding would go to schools, which would be shared $ 857 million divided between public and private institutions, service centers and vocational schools. The funding also includes money for the state county councils for developmental disabilities, COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution and for the National Guard response.

Schools were the key, however.

“Ohio schools have struggled throughout the coronavirus pandemic and House Bill 170 is working to ensure they have the funds they need to get back on their feet and create the best possible environment for our students. Said Rep. Adam Bird of New Richmond, R- 66th.

State public schools would receive $ 683 million, while $ 154.8 million would go to private schools.

A bundle of three other bills passed by the House included additional help for the state’s bar, restaurant and hospitality industries, hit hard by home orders, curfews and restrictions. capacity for more than one year.

State Rep. Al Cutrona of Canfield, R-59th, introduced House Bill 169, offering $ 100 million in grants for bars and restaurants and $ 25 million for the accommodation industry.

“COVID-19 rocked the [Mahoning Valley] and hit the bar and restaurant industry the hardest, ”he said. “The backbone of the valley has always been small businesses such as the bar and restaurant industry and it is crucial to give them some relief during this difficult time.”

Bars and restaurants would receive grants of $ 10,000, $ 20,000 or $ 30,000 depending on lost revenue and number of employees, according to the House majority spokesperson. Accommodation subsidies would be awarded at the same levels, based on lost income and occupancy rates.

House Bill 168, presented by State Rep. Mike Loychik of Bazetta, R-63rd, is offering $ 150 million for the small business assistance program and an additional $ 10 million in grants for new businesses. It also sets up:

  • $ 112 million for child care services;
  • $ 20 million for entertainment venues that canceled events or shows in 2020;
  • $ 4.7 million for county fairs that have canceled or reduced their 2020 seasons, like the Canfield Fair;
  • $ 3 million for the two Ohio veterans homes.

“This is one of the coronavirus relief bills designed to provide lifesaving aid and assistance to many parts of the state and to our constituents,” Loychik said. “It will help a lot of Ohio’s in need.”

Likewise, indoor entertainment venues could be eligible for grants of $ 10,000, $ 20,000 or $ 30,000, depending on the loss of revenue due to canceled events or performances, according to the majority spokesperson. from the room.

Grants to businesses created after January 1, 2020 would amount to $ 10,000. The Small Business Grant Relief Program would also offer grants of $ 10,000 to businesses that applied for funding last year but did not get it.

“Given that businesses were unable to operate for most of 2020 due to a pandemic that included government intervention in their day-to-day operations, it was right that these businesses were given funding to get back on. foot, ”said Rep. Swearing DJ from Huron, R-89th.

Other than schools, the region that will receive the most funding would be rental and utility assistance, with $ 465 million set aside to help homeowners, tenants and others affected by the pandemic.

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Mahoning Matters reporter Justin Dennis contributed to this report.

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