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Dear Neighbor,

We have faced unique circumstances in the past month as we worked to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and Ohio has succeeded in flattening the curve. We still have challenges to face, but the resiliency and strength of every Ohioan will allow us to overcome any obstacle. I am impressed with the dedication of our citizens and communities to find solutions to these obstacles and to serve each other in these trying times.

Now that we have flattened the curve, it is time to begin reopening Ohio. This week Governor DeWine announced Responsible Restart Ohio, his plan to safely reopen our state. These efforts continue to help protect the health of employees, customers, and their families while also controlling the spread of the virus. To learn more about the sector specific guidelines and continued business closures, click here

As we begin to reopen, my sincere hope is that we continue to overcome our current challenges while following proper guidelines to keep our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to all those who have gone above and beyond during this crisis, including our healthcare workers, first responders, and countless others on the front lines.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any thoughts or suggestions to improve our community. I’m available at Gavarone@OhioSenate.gov or 614-466-8060 or through my social media pages.

Sincerely,
State Senator Theresa Gavarone
2nd Senate District
www.OhioSenate.gov/Gavarone

 
Last month, I shared with you efforts put forth by the legislature to provide much needed relief to Ohioans impacted by closures due to coronavirus. I am proud to share some of the action that is being taken combining Ohio's efforts alongside federal assistance: 
 
  • $25 million in federal school lunch and breakfast dollars used for the Summer Food Service Program to ensure students can continue to receive meals at home
  • An additional $20 million in federal reimbursements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • An additional $9.5 million over the next two fiscal years for the federal Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
  • $500k for counties to upgrade technologies to meet the demands of the emergency
  • $87.8 million for the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to purchase 2,000 ventilators and 22 million N95 masks
  • $102.45 million for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to purchase PPE for distribution to county EMAs, hospitals, and other medical facilities, and to cover costs at the State Emergency Operations Center
  • $50.9 million for the Department of Health for statewide specimen collection, specimen collection kit manufacture, medications, external testing services, laboratory personnel costs and supplies, develop technologies to alert users of localized outbreaks, and data analysis
  • $11.35 million for the Adjutant General to establish temporary medical facilities, PPE purchases and pay for active duty pay for 750 National Guard and State Defense Forces
  • $35 million for the Office of Budget and Management to reimburse agencies without standalone Coronavirus Relief lines

This work will continue. I pledge to remain diligent in listening to feedback from our communities in order to adapt relief efforts to those in need. Please contact me if you have advice or are seeking assistance.
 
Over the past month, I have been working diligently to tackle the effects of COVID-19. Most of my time has been dedicated to working with constituents directly on their concerns and with local officials on how we can best serve our communities. County commissioners, mayors, and others have given me great insights through public meetings and by sharing the stories of those who are struggling.

We have also talked about economic recovery. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Erie County Economic Development Corporation have provided me with opportunities to learn from small business owners and leaders from a variety of industries about how we can help them rebound from the virus.   

As we move forward, I want to hear from you about how we can help you and your family recover from this crisis. I am here to listen and to serve you during this difficult time.
 
Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for our healthcare workers, first responders, and frontline workers. PPE and its availability will be increasingly important as we begin to reopen our state and more people go back to work.

On Wednesday, I introduced legislation to temporarily exempt personal protective equipment from sales and use taxes. Senate Bill 307 will make it easier and more affordable for individual Ohioans and businesses to access this vitally important and potentially even life-saving equipment.

 
 
Lt. Governor Husted recently announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis. Over 50,000 jobs have been posted coming from 866 unique companies. Both essential businesses and current job seekers can post and search.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has also implemented recent unemployment expansion changes under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides an option for individuals who typically do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, but had their jobs affected by COVID-19. Visit www.unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov to learn more about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program's expanded eligibility. Pre-registration is now open.
 
Our small businesses have felt the immediate effects of COVID-19. Earlier this month, Lt. Gov. Husted announced the creation of the Office of Small Business Relief within the Ohio Development Services Agency. This newly created office has been established to provide resources for small businesses to guide them through the pandemic and towards a prosperous recovery.  

If you have questions about how this new office can assist your small business, please visit businesshelp.ohio.gov and, if you have further concerns, email office staff at BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov.

JobsOhio has also developed a
resource page for businesses. Information on the guidelines for reopening, loan programs, and where to find critical personal protective equipment are just some of the helpful resources the site has available. Visit www.jobsohio.com/ohio-safe-ohio-working/ to learn more. 

Northwest Ohio's business leaders and institutions are also finding ways to help our region and its economy. In a collaborative effort, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Regional Growth Partnership, and countless other organizations are working to launch the Business Reboot Program to help small businesses in Northwest Ohio recover from COVID-19 and its effects. You can learn more about the initiative's goals
here and also find resources for your business at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce's business resource page.
 
Many Ohioans are struggling with increased anxiety and depression during these challenging times. Ohio's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services created Ohio's COVID-19 Careline. This line is serving as a place to go for those looking for guidance on behavioral health resources that are available during this time. 

If someone is in need of emotional support, please direct them to the following: 
 
 






 
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