May 15th, 2020

Coronavirus Update – May 15, 2020

Coronavirus Update – May 15, 2020
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COVID-19 Lawsuits on the Horizon

Now that the majority of Ohio’s economy has reopened or is getting ready to reopen, the Council’s attention has turned to another critical concern. While we continue to work with our members on issues relative to the Stay Safe Ohio Order and its enforcement, we cannot ignore what is next on the horizon for Ohio businesses—liability lawsuits alleging exposure to COVID-19.

To date, COVID-19 liability lawsuits have been filed in a number of states and it is only a matter of time before it begins in Ohio. In an effort to get out in front of this, we have been working with key members of the House and Senate on legislation to provide immunity from such actions to Council members who have been abiding by all of the requirements of the Governor’s orders but could still be sued. Substitute Senate Bill 308 (M. Huffman) and Substitute House Bill 606 (Grendell) both attempt to achieve this goal but in somewhat differing ways. At the moment we are of the opinion that the Senate version is more comprehensive, however, we are working closely with both sponsors to provide you with as much protection as possible.

We are very fortunate to be able to rely on the legal expertise of Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Of Counsel at the Vorys law firm, Council board member and former Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Justice Stratton and our Vorys team have provided expert guidance during this process, with Justice Stratton providing testimony on both bills on the Council’s behalf. She is highly regarded by members of the legislature, particularly the bill sponsors, and has been a tremendous asset during negotiations.

Not only are we working with the bill sponsors and our Vorys team, we are collaborating with other business associations on this effort. Our collective efforts to speak with one voice on these bills has been of great benefit to the process.

We will keep you apprised of our progress on moving legislation forward to provide the protection from COVID-19 related lawsuits your business needs. If you have questions regarding these bills, please e-mail us at info@ohioretailmerchants.com or call 614-221-7833.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Guidance

We have been pleased to hear that many of you have fortunately secured funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided through the CARES Act. As you have explained, these funds have enabled you to support your employees and continue operations during this uncertain time. Now that funding has been disbursed and you begin to consider repayment, loan forgiveness options, and audits, we wanted to provide with the recently updated FAQ document issued by the US Treasury Department. For detailed information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and for information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus.

If you have questions regarding SBA loans or PPP please email info@ohioretailmerchants.com or call 614-221-7833.



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