Governor, lawmakers plan aid for small businesses, renters

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins - Associated Press

COLUMBUS (AP) — An aid package is coming soon for small businesses and people struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Ohio’s GOP Senate finance chairman.

Lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine are figuring out the best way to provide the money as quickly as possible, Senator Matt Dolan, a Republican from Chagrin Falls in northeastern Ohio, said Wednesday.

The governor and lawmakers are jointly working on a plan that would also provide assistance for companies experiencing difficulty making mortgage payments.

DeWine first announced the aid package Tuesday while also saying the ban on alcohol sales after 10 p.m. is being reviewed. The ban, which is meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus by limiting late-night socializing, is unpopular with bars and restaurants that are already hurting from reduced business.

The aid comes as unemployment claims have ticked upward in recent days after weeks of declines from their record highs at the start of the pandemic.

“With the unfortunate unemployment numbers still too high, there are people struggling to pay their rent and there are landlords struggling to pay their mortgage,” Dolan said. “So we’re trying to provide some temporary financial assistance until we can get through this crisis.”

Both initial claims for unemployment and continuing claims rose slightly in the last week as the economic impact of the pandemic continues, Ohio’s human services agency reported Sept. 24.

DeWine should make coronavirus relief funds available as soon as possible, said Rep. David Leland, a Columbus Democrat who proposed $270 million in immediate rent relief in August.


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By Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Associated Press