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Coronavirus Resources & Updates

During this period of uncertainly brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to share with you our view and let you know some things we are working through on behalf of our members and the green industry. We understand this situation brings on high levels of anxiety due to the rapid change occurring around us. We will do our best to update this page in as timely a manner as possible.


 

Click here for guidelines on continuing to operate as an Essential Business.

 


 

Financial Assistance

Ohio companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The CARES Act includes several provisions business owners will find important. The act expands loan and grant programs, as well as provides debt relief assistance, to assist businesses with liquidity. To spur demand, the act includes stimulus checks to many American taxpayers and expands unemployment insurance benefits. Download more information here.

Programs include:

Paycheck Protection Program 
This new program provides small businesses and other entities with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. The program outlines that up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. principal and interest are deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived. Learn more here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
Grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Apply online here.

Small Business Debt Relief Program
This program will provide a reprieve to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months.

Visit this website for more information or call 1-800-659-2955.



March 18 Update

We are working with key industry collaborators including AmericanHort, NALP, and Nursery and Landscape Association Executives among others, to address issues impacting our businesses and industry.  Here are some of the ways our group is working on your behalf:

  • Effective March 18 the U.S. Consulate in Mexico will cease all visa processing. We know many businesses are awaiting the arrival of workers via seasonal worker visa programs. We are in touch with government partners and business coalitions as we work to ensure these programs are not unnecessarily disrupted. We are pressing the case that H-2 visa processing should be prioritized and should continue.  Read the Agriculture Workforce Coalition letter to Secretary of State.
  • We have been in communication with the office of Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and other USDA staffers requesting that they keep the green industry in mind as “essential agriculture” as any new legislation is brought forward.  We have delivered the same message to the staff team at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the national organization representing all the state Agriculture commissioners, directors, and secretaries.
  • We are monitoring relief legislation taking shape in Congress and weighing in on points of concern for our industry. We are monitoring developments with respect to business “safety net” programs administered by agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Department of Agriculture, and the Government Stimulus Package in the works.
  • As some local communities consider mandating business closures, we and partners serving the garden retail and landscape communities are working on a grassroots campaign to mitigate the possible impact on retail operations and landscape services, as well as develop success strategies for both.
    • We have sent a letter to Governor DeWine stressing that our industry's businesses exercise the option to remain open for business as "essential" services. Read the letter here.
    • We are participating in an NALP program that would help define landscape services as “essential”. Read the NALP letter here.
    • We are participating in an AmericanHort program that would help protect garden retailers as “essential”.  Download a letter that you can customize and send to your local elected officials.

Workforce Concerns

  • Click here for communications guidelines for employees and customers/clients

 

Income Tax Filing and Payment Update

Our Coalition partner K·Coe Isom is closely monitoring the financial and tax implications stemming from the impact of COVID-19. At this time, the IRS has extended the PAYMENT and FILING deadline to July 15, 2020.

There has been no guidance as it relates to 2020 estimated tax payments or the extension of payment for payroll taxes. We will keep you advised of any official announcements, but at this time we are only hearing proposals and speculation.

We are in contact with our partners for expert employment and tax guidance and will share relevant insights as the situation evolves.

 

Finally, as much as this unprecedented situation is rattling communities across America, we can make the best of a tough situation if we as an industry can leverage ways to communicate the positive human health, mental, and physical wellness benefits of plants and of gardening activities.  Consider speaking with your employees, customers, and communities about the many benefits of working with plants during this time working and schooling from home.  There are a number of good articles and related messaging posted in Dr. Charlie Hall’s website. 

It goes without saying that as we face the days ahead the primary importance is the well being of our membership, employees, and the communities in which we live and operate. We will continue to work on your behalf as we navigate uncharted waters. As an industry, we will get through this. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to working together to ensure the future viability of our industry.

 

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