Important for Small Business Owners to See Economy Back on Track

Date: May 12, 2021

Health Orders to be lifted, $300 Supplemental Unemployment Payments to End

On Monday, May 17, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health amended its remaining health order to conform to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, which allows those who have been vaccinated to stop wearing masks. Under the CDC’s new guidance, those who have not been vaccinated should still wear a mask, and socially distance.

Ohio’s order reflects the CDC’s recommendation that everyone wear masks when in a healthcare setting, when traveling on public transportation (including airplanes), and when at a business or employer that chooses to require masks. 

The CDC recommendations make clear that businesses will be able to choose for themselves whether they continue to require masks in their premises. If a business chooses to require masking for employees and customers, that is permitted under the CDC guidance and Ohio’s order.  If a business chooses not to require masks and leave that choice to customers and employees, that is also permitted in the CDC guidance and Ohio’s order.

As advised by the CDC, Ohio’s order also continues to require masking in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and in settings with large numbers of unvaccinated individuals, such as schools and daycare centers. 

NFIB issued the following statement on the announcement by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on health orders being lifted for the state. 

“The last fourteen months have been hard on all Ohioans. The small business community saw the pandemic take away what was a robust economy and by the end of the year, many faced revenue declines of fifty percent or more. Ohio entrepreneurs have been following all of the safety protocols and patiently waiting for the full reopening of Ohio,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“NFIB would like to thank Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for allowing businesses to get back to employing members of their community. With vaccinations underway, Ohio currently has the lowest rate amongst our neighboring states over the past week, and as Ohioans understand what they need to do to be safe, the timing is right to get our economy back to pre-pandemic levels,” he continued.

“We appreciate Governor DeWine’s update so all businesses can prepare for what is best for them individually to continue to operate safely for their employees and customers. Small business owners will continue to do their part to keep the state on the right track as we emerge from the uncertainty of the virus to better days ahead. They look forward to continuing supporting their local communities and employing millions of Ohioans,” Geiger concluded.

Governor DeWine also announced that the administration will inform the U.S. Department of Labor that Ohio intends to stop participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program on June 26, 2021. 

“When the program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was through social distancing, masking, and sanitization,” said Governor DeWine. “This is no longer the case as we now have an abundant supply of vaccines.”

The FPUC program gave states funding to offer enhanced unemployment benefits, including an additional $600, and now an additional $300. 

“As companies around the globe begin to expand and make new investments coming out of the pandemic, the ability to provide a workforce is emerging as the primary factor in their decisions,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “States that can favorably respond are going to win the jobs that will employ people for years to come.”

NFIB reacted to this news as 44% of members have open positions that they cannot fill.

“In the most recent NFIB survey, a record 44% of small business owners report job openings they cannot fill. They are seeing a growth in sales but are those sales stunted by not having enough workers. Finding qualified employees remains the biggest challenge for small businesses and it is slowing economic growth,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.

“The work-search requirement has been reinstated effective beginning the week of May 23. The additional move to eliminate the augmented $300 per week in unemployment benefits by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine will help return individuals to the workforce. Short-term payments do not help a long-term jobs shortage problem, and in the long run, people are far better off with good-paying jobs which helps the whole economy recover,” he continued.

“Ohio’s economy is growing and growing faster than our neighboring states.  We need a robust workforce to maintain our positive trajectory.  The time for additional unemployment payments is over. We appreciate Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for recognizing that now is the time to strongly encourage everyone to get back to work,” Geiger concluded.

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