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Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program for Small Businesses & Non-Profits in Ohio and Florida

The Ohio Development Services Agency and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity are preparing to qualify businesses in both states for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. This program provides low interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used by Ohio small business owners and non-profits to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

Once Ohio is qualified for the program, the Ohio Development Services Agency (Development) will work with the SBA to notify entities that they can now apply for loans. To keep payments affordable, these loans are long-term, with up to a maximum of 30 years for repayment. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

Small businesses and non-profits impacted by the ongoing health crisis are encouraged to contact Development at BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov for assistance. Additional information about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

Florida has activated an Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), it will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses. The application period runs through May 8, 2020. The Business Damage Assessment survey can be accessed at FloridaDisaster.BIZ. For more information visit www.floridadisasterloan.org or contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.

Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

BMD government affairs attorney Victoria Ferrise is monitoring the changing situation closely and we will be providing updates accordingly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.

FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.

Finding Opportunity in Adversity: Optimism for the Construction Industry

Looking for good news? If so, you are not alone. Aside from the collective mental, physical and emotional human toll imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, entire sectors of the economy have been ravaged, and old, familiar ways of doing business have been disrupted. Although deemed essential, the construction industry has not been immune to interruption and uncertainty during these unprecedented times. Amid new health and safety concerns, coupled with financial uncertainty, progress on projects has slowed, and the start dates for a number of new projects slated to begin in 2020 have been deferred. However, resilience has always been a trademark of contractors, subcontractors and other industry professionals. Reports indicate that while the construction industry lost more than one million jobs February through April, at least 600,000 of those jobs had been gained back by the end of June.

Yard Sign Do’s and Don’ts: How to Avoid Legal Challenges to Municipal Sign Codes this Election Season

As the nation heads into the tail end of the 2020 general election, municipalities will inevitably face challenges as they seek to regulate the seasonal proliferation of yard signs on residential property. While the matter may seem trifling, a seemingly benign yet content-based sign ordinance can result in significant legal exposure for municipalities that have not heeded recent Supreme Court decisions on content neutrality.