On May 19, 2020, Ohio Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC.
Public and private employers participating in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings. These packages will be shipped in batches beginning May 20.
Governor DeWine announced the plan, called Protecting Ohio’s Workforce — We’ve Got You Covered, during his daily media briefing on the pandemic, saying the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) would fund the initiative and send the non-medical-grade face coverings in batches over several weeks, beginning this week.
“As we reopen many of our businesses, we must remember that the virus is still with us and we need to continue taking safety precautions to keep ourselves and others near us safe,” said Governor DeWine.
The shipments target Ohio employers covered by BWC that are in good standing and report payroll to the agency. Employers will not be billed for the items. The face coverings average less than a dollar a piece and will be funded from BWC’s existing budget with no impact to employer premiums.
“This is our latest response to support our employer community and workforce through this public health emergency, and I’m sure we’re not done yet,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “We are working to secure additional supplies so we can send even more face coverings in the weeks ahead.”
Among other efforts to mitigate COVID-19’s impact, BWC gave Ohio employers nearly $1.6 billion in late April to help their bottom line. Funded by investment returns and other savings, the dividend equaled 100% of the premiums employers paid in policy year 2018. Other efforts under Governor DeWine’s direction can be found on BWC’s COVID-19 Information page at bwc.ohio.gov for more.
“Small business owners across Ohio appreciate the efforts of Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Stephanie McCloud in providing approximately two million face coverings to state-fund employers. The accessibility of face coverings was a concern we raised early on, and this shows they were listening,” said Roger Geiger, Executive Director for NFIB in Ohio.
“A recent survey conducted of the NFIB membership across Ohio, based on their availability, providing face coverings to employees was identified as the most difficult of the five protocols to comply with during the reopening process. Entrepreneurs can be relieved knowing they have a credible source of face coverings at their disposal, as they worried about the reliability and timely arrival for those products often coming from unknown sources overseas,” he continued.