Note from Senator Steve Wilson

March 17, 2020

​As you know, Governor DeWine recently issued an executive order that may temporarily close small businesses and impact the employment of many hard-working Ohioans. Because you are a local business leader, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the steps Ohio has taken to help small businesses and Ohio workers that will be impacted by this decision.

Per the Governor’s order, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will now accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation without the normal one week waiting period. Any individual who is laid off by their employer due to the loss of production or a temporary shutdown caused by the Coronavirus, or who was requested by a medical professional, local health authority or employer to be isolated or quarantined–even if they are not actually diagnosed with COVID-19–may apply to receive unemployment benefits. Ohioans who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will also be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work, and can apply for benefits online at 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. I also encourage you to visit for up-to-date information regarding Coronavirus and unemployment insurance benefits for your local employees and employers

Additionally, the Ohio Development Services Agency is preparing to submit an application in the coming weeks to qualify Ohio 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. In order to complete the state's application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available here

To provide relief to bar and restaurant owners during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option. Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high-proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877) 812-0013 or email

As each day brings new developments, I encourage you to check each of the links provided for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, all of the Governor’s press conferences and announcements are live-streamed and archived on the Ohio Channel’s website. If you have any questions regarding the impact of Coronavirus on our families, businesses, school and communities, I encourage you to continue to check for continued updates from the Ohio Department of Health. You may also wish to call the ODH hotline at 1-833-427-5634.

Please be assured that I remain committed to helping our small businesses during this unprecedented time. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. You can reach my office at