COVID-19 Response

Updated May 28, 2020:

The health and safety of the public remain our top priorities at BRITE Energy Innovators. We remain committed to serving entrepreneurs across the State of Ohio remotely, as we have done in the past months. As we realize we cannot remain closed indefinitely for the sake of businesses that rely on the use of our space, we have chosen to reopen in a limited capacity.

In an effort to ensure the safety of all staff, clients, businesses and members of the community, we have enacted new, MANDATORY safety measures and guidelines for the use of our facility, in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations put forth by Governor DeWine and the CDC.

We have also discontinued the planning of in-person events, trainings and space rentals until further notice. We will continue to offer coworking services for those who may experience an increased need for a remote working space, but we encourage those who can stay home to continue to do so.  

We hope everyone continues to follow recommended best practices in an effort to stay safe and healthy. We will continue to update our policies and procedures as the situation warrants.

View the health & safety guidelines for our facility.

We realize that these times have been difficult for all businesses, especially for small businesses and startups. We a list of resources available to assist any small business in light of hardships caused by COVID-19.

If you are an energy tech startup in need of immediate help or assistance, or other entrepreneurial services you can apply to join our portfolio.

If you are a tech startup looking for assistance but aren’t sure where to turn, contact us and we can connect with our network of partners and resources to find someone who can serve your needs.

COVID-19 Resource List

OHIO RESPONSE: 

Ohio Department of Health is coordinating the COVID-19 response in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local offices. The Ohio Department of Health has a call center ready to answer questions about COVID-19, staffed from 9am to 8pm daily: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH

Public Health Orders:
Read the public health and executive orders signed by the governor and health director in response to COVID-19.

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS):
SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows business owners to cut employee pay between 10 percent and 50 percent and provides a portion of the benefit the employee would receive through unemployment to that employee. This program is designed to allow employers to reduce payroll costs during times of business decline, without having to lay off employees.

Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI):
All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments for up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured.

JobsOhio:
JobsOhio is committed to supporting the well-being of Ohio businesses, especially now as they navigate the changing landscape created by the Coronavirus disease 2019. This page provides a list of resources for Ohio businesses, and will be continually updated as more resources are made available.

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC):
The Ohio BWC has announced that employers may defer insurance premium installment payments for March, April and May until June 1, 2020. Frequently asked questions and more information are available here.

Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation proposed giving $1.6 billion in dividends to Ohio employers this spring to ease the economic impact of COVID-19. If approved by the BWC’s board, $1.4 billion will go to private employers, and $200 million will be directed to local governments. See the news release and updated BWC FAQs page for more information.

Ohio Department of Taxation:
Ohio will be following the federal government and IRS in extending the deadline to file and pay the state income tax. The new deadline is July 15. In addition to the extension, Ohio will be waiving penalty on tax due payments made during the extension. Also, thanks to a legislative agreement between Governor Mike DeWine and the General Assembly, there will be no interest charges on payments made during the extension.

Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation:
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. Applicants can search through jobs in their area, region and the entire state through two main links: one for essential businesses and one for job seekers.

Telehealth Executive Order:
Governor Mike DeWine recently signed an executive order that will allow Ohioans to more easily access telehealth services from individual counselors, social workers and marriage and family counselors. In normal circumstances, patients must have had a face-to-face meeting with providers prior to receiving a telehealth appointment, and providers are required to receive special training. This order will enable those requirements to be removed so that patients can more easily access these needed services.

Hotspot Locator:
Lt. Governor Jon Husted recently announced that BroadbandOhio has been working with providers to find public wi-fi hotspot locations for Ohioans who may not otherwise have access to the internet from home. Service providers offering public wi-fi hotspots that are not listed on the website are encouraged to get on the list by emailing[email protected] with contact information.

NATIONAL RESPONSE: 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Most current updated information can be found at the CDC Coronavirus (COVID-19) page. The page offers guidance for the public on how to protect yourself, what you can do if you think you are sick and what you need to know.

The CDC recently issued a recommendation that citizens wear face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.



U.S. Department of Labor:
The Department of Labor is providing ongoing guidance to employers on how this emergency affects both the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will help the U.S. combat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The Department of Labor has released the following information about FFCRA:

The Department of Labor is requiring all employers to make the Employee Rights poster, which provides information about paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA, visible to its employees.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration:
This page offers information for workers and employers on prevention and safety in the workplace.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
The IRS has a page for taxpayers impacted by the Coronavirus.

U.S. Department of Treasury:
The Treasury Department is supporting American workers and businesses who are impacted by the Coronavirus. In February, Secretary Mnuchin was appointed to the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, where he meets daily with the Vice President and our nation’s top health officials. Click here for the latest information from the Task Force.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC):
Scammers are constantly adapting and the recent COVID-19 emergency is no exception. The FCC has learned of a number of ways fraudsters are seeking to take advantage of consumers and has worked to develop a COVID-19 scams page. This page will be continually updated and includes tips to assist consumers with protecting themselves and their loved ones. 

The FCC recently announced a 96-page order with the intent to provide $200 million in pilot telehealth grants.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):
In order to increase cash flow to providers of services and suppliers impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has expanded its current Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a broader group of Medicare Part A and Part B suppliers.

Coronavirus Emergency Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act:
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARE) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. 

The CARES Act resulted in changes to Department of Labor paid leave provisions. The major change is to allow particularly vulnerable people to claim leave without illness. The prepublished draft for the federal register is available here.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program:
Congress specifically added money for the fire department grant program in the CARES Act. This existing program is familiar to most fire departments and is easy to process. Money was added in an effort to help fire departments access additional equipment necessary for dealing with COVID-19. Details should be announced on this page soon. Incidentally, the SAFER grant process opens on April 13.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $186 million through CDC for COVID-19 response in funding to state and local jurisdictions hardest hit by the virus. This website has all of the relevant information.

National Endowment for the Arts:
Grants that range from $50,000 to $250,000 for salary support for the nonprofit arts industry are now available as a result of the CARES Act. Applicants must have been a previous NEA grant recipient. The application deadline is April 22. More information is available here.

National Endowment for the Humanities:
Similarly, the National Endowment for the Humanities received an additional $75 million for COVID-19 response. $30 million is earmarked via formula for the 56 state and territorial humanities councils to support local nonprofits and education programming. The remaining money will be available to at-risk concerns directly via NEH. There is no grant application yet, but details for interested parties are available here.

WARREN LOCAL RESOURCES: 

UTILITY AND SERVICE PROVIDERS: 

Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation:
In an effort to assist those organizations engaged in disaster relief, the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation is currently taking requests through its web portal for projects related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as they have a plan in place to help with food, emergency assistance or other COVID-19 related issues. Please visit the Foundation page to learn more about funding priorities before completing the eligibility quiz. Any non-profit IRS-designated 501(c) organization can apply.

BUSINESS RECOMMENDATIONS: 

INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION RESOURCES: 

SBA RESPONSE & OTHER FINANCIAL RESOURCES: 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing business owners with low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million for businesses that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Additional guidance is available for businesses and employers, as well as access to other SBA information and programs.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center:
Phone: 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339)
Email[email protected]
Local SBA Assistance is available at:
Ohio SBDC at Youngstown State University – Small Business Development CenterOne University Plaza, 100 West Wood Street, Youngstown, OH 44403
330-941-2140

SBA Cleveland District Office
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 211, Cleveland, OH 44115
216-522-4180  //  216-522-2038

The SBA and SBDC also provide a variety of export assistance services and loan programs to companies dealing with trade disruptions caused by COVID-19. For more information, contact Mousa Kassis at 330-941-2145.

Local Banking Resources:
The DeWine-Husted Administration has worked with representatives from Ohio’s banking community. These companies recognize the hardships that many Ohioans are facing, and they have committed to working through creative ways to help. Ohioans can be confident that banks, both big and small, will be there for them as we move through the crisis and are offering a number of measures to help customers.

  • Banks and credit unions across the state are taking steps to offer loan payment deferrals, fee waivers or refunds and extend credit lines to both businesses and individuals. Many banks are also suspending foreclosures where possible. Recent federal guidelines give financial institutions more tools to help Ohioans and the banking industry has welcomed these changes.
  • Banks are also showing customers how to protect themselves from Coronavirus-related scams and are encouraging Ohioans to use digital banking features like mobile apps, online banking or banking by phone. If you need help, please reach out to your bank for assistance.
  • Learn more at ohiobankersleague.com and ohiocreditunion.org.

Export Import Bank of the United States:
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is announcing relief provisions for exporters and financial institutions located throughout the United States that may have been affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). EXIM is offering the relief measures, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing and flexibility, to customers for an initial period of 30 days (with the possibility of a further extension of the period, at EXIM’s discretion) to enable businesses and financial institutions that participate in our programs to return to their business concerns and EXIM-related obligations at an appropriate time without penalty.