Day At The Track

USTA creates COVID-19 Resource Center

08:30 AM 31 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Corona Virus
Corona Virus

Columbus, OH - To assist harness racing horsemen during the current circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Trotting Association has created a resource center of valuable information for industry participants.

Contents

  • COVID-19 Information and Facts
    • President’s COVID-19 Guidelines
    • Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page
    • United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page
  • Federal Government Information
    • Internal Revenue Service
    • Small Business Administration (SBA) – Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loans)
    • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Service
  • State Government Information (alphabetical by state)
  • Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state)

 

COVID-19 Information and Facts

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) –   https://www.cdc.gov/

President’s COVID-19 Guidelines – www.coronavirus.gov

Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) published a Coronavirus resource page on its website featuring items to help horse owners navigate this disease pandemic.  http://equinediseasecc.org/coronavirus-resources

United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page

The UHC website has a dedicated tab for COVID-19 information including: COVID-19 Info for Humans and Horses; Safety Net Programs for Owners; Biosecurity and Disinfecting Protocols; Financial Relief Options; and Planning for Horse Care.

In addition, there is a State Specific Resources Page that includes: 1) Unemployment Information and 2) State Specific COVID-19 Information for each individual state.

https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#toggle-id-56

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package

 

Federal Government Information

National Public Radio’s (NPR) summary of federal legislation (media) – https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package

Text of Senate Bill – S3548 – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text
(hundreds of pages)

 

Summary of the 3 Phases of COVID-19 Legislation (Prepared by USTA Lobbyists – The Ingram Group)

Congressional leaders reached a deal to pass a nearly $2 trillion “stimulus” package. This legislation represents “Phase 3” of the legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, is an outline all three pieces of legislation starting with the most recent, being Phase 3. Many of these provisions may be of interest to you or your individual affiliate members which are small businesses.

There is already talk of a “Phase 4” bill but it is likely several weeks away.

It is highly recommended that you should check with your accounting professional for tax provisions.

The “Phase 3”- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”)
Phase 3, the CARES Act, will inject approximately $2T into the economy, providing tax rebates, expanded unemployment benefits, and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at providing direct relief for individuals, families, and businesses.

Title 1: Small business interruption loans
Provides 8 weeks of 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payrolls, the portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

To qualify businesses must employee 500 people or fewer or meet the applicable Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard for the industry. Also, most self-employed individuals and nonprofits qualify. The loan is capped at the lower of 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll or $10 million. The link is https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.

Authorizes $25 million for SBA to provide grants to associations representing resource partners to establish an online platform that consolidates resources across multiple Federal agencies and a training program to educate small business counselors on those resources to ensure counselors are directing small businesses appropriately.

Expands eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. The bill would allow businesses that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant—an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.

Title 2: Unemployment Insurance Provisions:
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Fact Sheet for employers as well as a model notice employers may use to notify employees about these laws. The DOL is expected to issue regulations in April 2020.

Individual Provisions:

   Recovery Checks: $1,200 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 annually, and $2,400 for eligible married couples making less than $150,000 combined, with an additional $500 for every child. The amount would be reduced by $5 for every $100 that a person earns over $75,000, so Americans earning more than $99,000 will get nothing. Income levels, marital status, and number of children would be based on 2019 tax returns, if filed, or their 2018 return as an alternative.
 
   Special rules for use of retirement funds: Allows the withdrawal of $100,000 from retirement accounts to pay for coronavirus-related purposes without the 10% early withdrawal penalty.

   Tax Filing Deadline Delay/ Extension: The April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns and making payments is extended to July 15, 2020.

   Charitable contributions: Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income for charitable contributions in 2020, and there is no cap on individuals.

   Student Loans: President Trump has suspended federally-held student loan payments for 60 days with no penalty. Employers can provide student loan repayment benefits to employees on a tax-free basis, up to $5,250.

Business Provisions:

Employee retention credit for employers: Employers subject to closure or partially suspended operations can qualify for a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid   to employees from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020. To qualify, a business must have been partially or fully suspended due to a local COVID-19 shut-down order or have had gross receipts decline by more than 50% from the same quarter last year. The credit is capped at $10,000 per employee, including health benefits. For employers with fewer than 100 employees, all employees count toward the credit, but for employers with more than 100 employees, only those not working because of the COVID-19 crisis count.

Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes: Payroll taxes may be deferred with half due by December 31, 2021 and the other half due by December 31, 2022.

Modifications for net operating losses (NOLs): NOLs for the last three years can be carried back five years on amended prior years’ tax returns. Pass-through entities may also take advantage of this provision.

Modification of limitation on business interest: Changes the amount businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020.

Qualified improvement property: Allows businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, to immediately write off the cost of improving a facility instead of having to depreciate it over the 39-year life of the building.

“Phase 2”- H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Among its many provisions, this $104 billion bill guarantees free coronavirus testing, provides emergency paid leave, and strengthens food security initiatives across a broad range of additional investments, including ensuring that children who depend on free and reduced-priced meals have access to food during school and childcare closures. H.R. 6201 also provides businesses with tax credits for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees.
 
Paid Sick Leave
Emergency paid leave requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to give 14 days off (two weeks) at the employee’s regular pay if employee gets COVID-19, is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine to due COVID-19 concerns. The amount of paid sick leave per employee is limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total. The Act also requires employers to provide employees with 14 days off at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay to care for someone in quarantine or care for a child whose school is closed because of coronavirus precautions.

Paid Family Leave
Employees qualify for paid family leave if they are unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed because of a “public health emergency.” The first ten days of family leave may be unpaid, but after the first ten days, employers must provide employees with no less than two-thirds of an individual’s average monthly earnings for at least 30 days with 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Exemptions and Tax Credits
There are exemptions for employers of 50 or fewer. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified sick leave wages paid each calendar quarter to cover the costs. H.R. 6201 also provides for refundable tax credits against the self-employment tax.

“Phase 1”- H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Supplemental
This first bill provided the initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.  H.R. 6074 was signed by POTUS and became law on March 6, 2020. A title-by-title summary is available here, and bill text here.

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Internal Revenue Service –

Treasury, IRS and Labor announced a plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave .

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/2826044?reqfrom=share

U.S. Small Business Administration – Economic Injury Disaster Loans – https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loan) available for qualifying businesses that have suffered economic injury as a result of the epidemic.  Funds from an EID loan may be used by small businesses to pay fixed debts , payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The terms of an EID loan are determined by the SBA on a case-by-case basis.

FCC – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Services

Keep Americans Connected Pledge – https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity. So far, more than 550 companies and associations have signed the pledge to Keep Americans Connected.  See the list on their website.

The pledge:

  1. Not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic’
  2. Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances pandemic;
  3. Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

 

State Government Information (alphabetical by state)

State – Small Business Information and Websites:

Delaware – https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/

Indiana – https://www.nfib.com/indiana/

Florida – https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-offers-loans-to-small-business-to-offset-coronavirus-impacts/2210126/ (media).  www.FloridaDisaster.BIZ – Application period ends May 8.

Maryland – https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-small-business-financial-help-latest/ (media) with link to federal SBA website.

Minnesota – https://www.twincities.com/2020/03/23/coronavirus-immediate-relief-available-for-small-businesses-in-minnesota/

New Jersey – https://www.njeda.com/about/Public-Information/Coronavirus-Information

New York – https://esd.ny.gov/small-business-loan-resources

Ohio – https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/resources-for-economic-support

Pennsylvania – https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/

 

Rent Eviction and Utility Shutoff Information by State and Municipalities

A detailed list of state and municipal, as well as federal, information on moratoriums on rent evictions and utility shutoffs.

https://evictionlab.org/covid-eviction-policies/

 

Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state)

California – California Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

Delaware – Delaware SOA – www.dsoaonline.com

The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, who serves Delaware horsemen and women, will utilize their website (link above), Facebook page (Delaware Standardbred Owners Association) and weekly television/internet show “Post Time” with host Heather Vitale to communicate with members.  Post Time airs on WBOC-TV on Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m. EST.  Show archives can be found on PostTimeShow YouTube channel.

 

Florida – Florida SBOA

Iowa – Iowa Harness Horse Association

 

Illinois – Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

Indiana – Indiana Standardbred Association

 

Kentucky – Kentucky Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

Maine – Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

Massachusetts – SOA of Massachusetts

 

Michigan – Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

New Jersey – SBOA of New Jersey

SBOA of NJ – Employee Acquisition Assistance

If you are in a position where you are shorthanded and need help during this critical time, the SBOANJ would like to help you.

Please contact us at info@sboanj.com or call 732-462-2357 to let us know what type of employees you are in search of. We will gladly post positions needed on our website with any contact information you would like to give and help you get the word out.

 

New York –

       HHA of Central New York

 

       Saratoga Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

SOA of New York

 

Western New York HHA

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Ohio – Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association

OHHA Update – 3/27/20

OHHA Specific Relief:

O.H.H.H.I.T. Health Plan Credits: The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance  (O.H.H.H.I.T.) Trustees as administrators of the Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Trust would like to announce financial relief for all Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Plan Participants. As-of the date of the first Order cancelling racing (March 20, 2020), each Self-Pay Plan Participant will automatically receive a credit for two months of health insurance plan premiums at their existing coverage level.  For example, if a horseman has paid their April premium costs for family coverage, they will receive a credit for their May and June family coverage premiums.  If the April family coverage premium has not been paid, the credit will apply to family coverage for their April and May premium costs.  There is no need to do anything to receive the credit.  It will automatically be applied to all self-pay coverage classes.  Note that if there are changes in coverage to a higher level of coverage (i.e., single to family coverage) during the credit time-period, the credit for the lower level of coverage will apply and the difference between the higher and lower premium cost will have to be paid. In addition, during this time, existing Breeding Farm Employees and Racetrack Grooms that are employed and active in the Plan, will continue to receive their premium costs covered.  Separation for or from any covered employer will be handled as-per the Plan’s rules.  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association will provide updates regarding financial relief initiatives as they take place via www.ohha.com and social media outlets.  For immediate updates, please subscribe to the OHHA Emergency and Informational Text Blast system by texting “OHHA” to 1-888-808-1507.

Government Updates:
Ohio General Assembly Update

• The next Senate session is scheduled for March 25 at 1:30 PM
• The House has scheduled sessions for March 24, 25, 26, 31 and April 1 and 2 all at 1:00 PM
• Legislation is not expected to go through the usual committee process, but rather it will be handled procedurally through the Rules committee.
• UPDATE 3.25.20 the Ohio Senate and House voted to pass HB 197 with an emergency amendment to address coronavirus concerns. The summary of the amendment can be found at, https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA133-HB-197

As Passed Ohio H.B. 197 Overview COVID-19 Relief:

1. K-12 Education
· Testing & Accountability – The bill eliminates state-mandated K-12 student
assessments for the 2019-20 school year. It eliminates Ohio’s school district and school building report cards for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from assigning letter grades to buildings or districts, prohibits rankings based on report card data and creates “safe harbor” for schools and districts to ensure data from the 2019-20 school year will have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties. The proposal directs ODE to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements.

· Jon Peterson Special Needs/Autism Scholarships – Allows for services to be provided to students by electronic delivery method or telehealth. This change is necessary for services to continue while schools are closed.

· EdChoice Scholarship – The bill freezes the 2019-20 performance-based EdChoice building eligibility list at 517 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. The language allows siblings of current voucher students to participate. Under continuing law, the EdChoice application portal will open for 60 days beginning April 1, 2020, to process income-based EdChoice vouchers, renewals of existing performance-based vouchers, and new students attending the 517 buildings already on the list. The bill expressly prohibits expansion of the building list to 1,227 buildings.

· Student Meals – For school districts that are providing meals to students who are home while schools are closed, this language gives the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture the authority to provide an exemption from “food processing” requirements so those entities can focus on providing food to children that depend on these services.

· Distance Learning – For the 2019-20 school year, permits districts and schools to make up through distance learning any number of days or hours necessary due to COVID-19-related closures. They may amend an existing plan or adopt one to make up those days or hours. Current law limits make up through distance learning to not more than three days.

· Teacher Evaluations and Licenses – For current teachers, the bill provides flexibility for teacher evaluations that were due to be completed during the 2019- 20 school year and removes the value-added component from the evaluation. For new teachers unable to take the final licensure test due to testing center closures, the bill provides them with a provisional teaching license for the 2020-21 school year if they have graduated from college, and have successfully completed student teaching and a background check.

2.  2020 Primary Election – The primary election in-person voting was cancelled due to the public health crisis. Ohioans that were eligible to vote on March 17, 2020, will be able to cast their ballot by mail on or before April 28, 2020. Those Ohioans that cast their ballot early will have their vote count. The Ohio Secretary of State will mail all voters a postcard informing them on how they will be able to request their ballot by mail from their local county Board of Elections. The board will send them their ballot and a postage paid return envelope.

3. Tax Year 2019 & 2020 Changes

· Ohio’s tax filing deadline will be the same as the federal filing deadline, July 15

· The legislation incorporates into Ohio law recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code or other federal law taking effect after March 30, 2018. The language also assures continued compliance with the streamlined sales tax compact in respect to sales of prescription incontinence products for Medicaid recipients.

· Other changes include Work From Home-related issues. As more of the workforce begins to Work from Home, questions have arisen regarding which municipal corporations may tax an employee’s income. This addresses concerns of businesses regarding the “20-day rule” in municipal income tax by not requiring employers to withhold for employees’ home municipalities for the duration of an employee working remotely, but rather to continue to withhold for the employee’s traditional workplace. Also, without this change, once an employee has worked in a municipality for more than 20 days, that municipality may start taxing part of the employer’s own income.

4. Rainy Day Fund – Permits the DeWine administration, prior to the end of the fiscal year (June
30), to seek State Controlling Board approval to transfer funds from the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund to the state’s General Revenue Fund, if necessary, in order to end the fiscal
year with a balanced budget. Approval for this transfer would be needed from at least two Controlling Board members from the House and two from the Senate in order for the request to be approved. Currently, there is $2.7 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.

5. Local Governments

· Open Meetings – Grants members of a public body permissive authority to hold, attend and take public actions in public meetings by video conference, teleconference and any other available electronic means, provided certain requirements are met. The public body would be required to provide public access to a meeting held in this manner and ensure the public can observe and hear the discussions and deliberations. The public body would still have to provide proper meeting notice and have a quorum. Under the proposal, a “public body” has the same meaning as defined in ORC 121.22 and includes counties, townships, municipalities at the local level, as well as boards, commissions and other state- level entities.

· Clean Water – Access to clean water in homes is critical when dealing with the
COVID-19 emergency. This language would provide the Director of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency authority to direct public water systems to not disconnect, and to restore service to homes that have had their water shut off for nonpayment. Many of the utilities have voluntarily taken this step, and the PUCO has ordered public utilities to do so.

· Auditor of State – Requested by the Auditor of State, this language allows the Auditor of State to waive certain criteria on a case-by-case basis to conduct an agreed-upon procedure audit of eligible subdivisions.

· Access to County Offices – The bill generally requires the offices of a county recorder, county auditor and the title office of a clerk of court of common pleas, and a county map office, to remain open to land professionals and automobile, watercraft, all-terrain and mobile home dealers for property searches and title processing.

· Local Vacancies – Provides a county central committee of political party additional forty-five days to fill vacancy from the date the vacancy was required to be filled during the period of the emergency declared by Executive Order 2020- 01D, issued March 9, 2020.

Federal Information

• Final CARES Act $2 Trillion Relief Coronavirus package  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819239-FINAL-FINAL-CARES-ACT.html on3-25-20 by a 96-0 vote.  House vote

Hospitals and Healthcare
• $150 billion for the healthcare system
• Includes funding for hospitals, treatment, and the Strategic National Stockpile to raise supplies of ventilators, masks, and other needed equipment
• $100 billion will go to hospitals and the health system
• $1 billion will go to the Indian Health Service

Stimulus Checks
• $250 billion for one direct payment to individuals and families
• Payments are expected to go out within 3 weeks
• Those earning $75,000 or less will receive a $1,200 check
• Married couples earning $150,000 or less will receive a check for $2,400
• Additional $500 check per child aged 16 or under
• Payment scales down for individuals earning above $75,000
• No payment for individuals making over $99,000 and couples with no children earning $198,000

Business Loans
• Existing Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: Provides $17 billion for the SBA to cover the next six months of loan payments due on existing SBA 7(a) loans, Certified Development Company loans, and microloans.

• SBA Disaster Loans: Provides $10 billion for the SBA to provide economic injury disaster loans to small businesses until December 31, 2020. While casinos and any gaming or racing business that derives more than a third of their annual gross income from gambling and racing are not normally eligible for such loans, the OHHA is working to clarify the applicability of the CARES Act to horsemen.

• SBA Interruption Loans: Provides $349 billion for the SBA to provide “interruption loans” to small businesses, self-employed individuals, 501(c)(3) organizations, and veterans organizations, provided they have less than 500 employees or they meet SBA small business size standards (whichever is greater), with broadened eligibility for some franchises and businesses that provide food and accommodation services.

• SBA Express Loans: Temporarily increases the maximum loan amount for an SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1 million.
• $150 billion for state and local governments to respond to coronavirus.  Stops President Trump, top government officials, and members of Congress and their families from getting loans or investments from the Treasury stimulus programs.
• Treasury stimulus programs include a special loan facility to enable banks and other lenders to extend low interest loans to eligible mid-sized US Businesses, states, tribes, and local governments suffering from the impact.  Interest expenses on the loans is tax deductible.
• Businesses that eliminate more than 10% of their workforce are not eligible for aid under the Bill until September 2020. Employers must retain or rehire at least 90% of workers and restore compensation and benefits.
• $454 billion to provide loans to distressed companies, loan guarantees, and other Federal Reserve Lending programs to support businesses.  Gaming businesses are eligible or relief under this program as long as they are not receiving other economic relief
• $50 billion of that will go to passenger airlines
• Trump administration agreed to an oversight board and inspector general position to review how the money is spent
• Republicans failed in attempt to cap unemployment at 100% of a workers wages that they received while previously employed

Tourism Grants for Economic Revitalization

•  Community Development Block Grants: Provides $5 billion in grants to states and local governments to mitigate economic disruptions in impacted industries, including making direct grants to tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19.

•  Economic Development Agency Grants: Provides $1.5 billion to state and local governments for economic injuries to impacted industries, including grants to support economic revitalization of tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19.

• Student Loans
• All student loans, borrowed within the last 10 years and held by the federal government, will undergo an automatic payment suspension until September 30, 2020
• Individuals can choose to keep paying
• Interest will not accrue during this period
• Wage garnishment due to lack of payment will be suspended
• Payment count will still continue to go up by one each month

Tax Provisions / IRS  Temporary Universal charitable tax deduction. A temporary universal charitable tax deduction for donations of up to $300 to both itemizers and nonitemizers. (Lankford language to increase the cap was not agreed to.

• Temporary suspension of charitable contribution limits. The charitable tax deduction claimed by a taxpayer each tax year is generally limited to no more than 50% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI), unless a taxpayer gives only cash, in which case the limit increases to 60% of AGI. The bill will temporarily suspend these limitations on the charitable tax deduction per taxpayer in 2020.

• Carryback of net operating losses.  Carryback losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 to offset 100 percent of taxable income in the last five years, generating funds for gaming businesses.

• Deferral of Social Security Taxes: Gaming employers may defer their share of Social Security tax payments on employee wages otherwise due for the remainder of 2020. This allows half to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022.

• Increase on Business Interest Deduction: For 2019 and 2020 tax years, gaming businesses can deduct interest expense up to 50 percent of their adjusted taxable income (EBITDA: earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), up from 30 percent of such income previously.

• Qualified Improvement Property Fix: Gaming businesses will be able to immediately write-off building improvement

• Refundable Credits for Prior Year Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Accelerates the ability for corporations to recover AMT credits, allowing a refund claim now to obtain additional cash flow.

Extending Benefits: Provides enhancements to existing state unemployment insurance programs,
including:

• Allowing furloughed workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits
• Waiving the seven-day waiting period for regular unemployment insurance
• Extending the duration of unemployment insurance benefits
• Promoting short-time compensation benefits for workers forced to cut hours
• The U.S. and Canada have decided to suspend all non-essential travel during the two countries during the pandemic, while ensuring that trade between the countries is not disrupted.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/canada-us-plan-to-close-border-to-non-essential-travel-135373

Columbus Information
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the City of Columbus is suspending all in person bill payment and permitting services for the Department of Public Utilities, Building and Zoning Services, Recreation and Parks, and Department of Public Service at the 111 Front Street Coleman Government Center and Jerry Hammond Building at 1111 East Broad Street until further notice.

Department of Public Utilities payment options:

• Use drop boxes at 111 Front Street or in front of the Public Utilities Complex along Twin Rivers Drive (910 Dublin Road)
• On line portal:   https://schedulepayment.com/Columbus
• Payment by phone or billing questions can be directed to the Customer Service Center 7 am – 3 pm:  614-645-8276
• Western Union locations in Kroger stores:  https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/pay-bills.html

Additional information can be found via the resources below:

• Daily press conferences at 2:00 PM: http://www.ohiochannel.org/live/governor-mike-dewine
• Dept. of Health coronavirus updates: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/
• Secretary of State’s updates on voting/press releases: https://www.ohiosos.gov/coronafacts/
• Request Absentee Ballots:  https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/#gref
• Mental Health coronavirus-related resources: https://mha.ohio.gov/Health-Professionals/About-Mental-Health-and-Addiction-Treatment/Emergency-Preparedness/Coronavirus
• Ohio Department of Education Information for School and Districts: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/Coronavirus
• Workforce Development: https://workforce.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/workforce/
• Child Care Information for Providers: http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcare/
• Ohio Department of Insurance Bulletins: https://insurance.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/odi/about-us/bulletins/
• Supplemental guidance on screening for employees and employers: https://associationdatabase.com/aws/OLA/asset_manager/get_file/433958?ver=1.
• City of Columbus Coronavirus Resources: https://www.columbus.gov/covid19resources/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
• Health Policy Institute of Ohio Coronavirus Guide: https://www.healthpolicyohio.org/coronavirus-covid-19-in-ohio/
• Phone: For any questions you have about COVID-19, please call 1 (833) 4- ASK-ODH from the hours of 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
• If you want to volunteer to help-mail:  together@governor.ohio.gov with your name, contact information, and how you can help.
• THE FOLLOWING ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, EITHER BY GOVERNOR DEWINE, OR BY THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:
• Executive and Public Health Orders: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/covid-19/home/public-health-orders/public-health-orders
• 03/19/20 Executive Order 2020-05D Telehealth
• 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-04D Temporary Pandemic Child Care
• 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-03D Unemployment
• 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-02D Emergency Amendment Rule
• 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-01D Declaring a State of Emergency
• 03/25/20 Director’s Order to Close Facilities Providing Child Care Services
• 03/22/20 Director’s Order to Stay at Home
• 03/21/20 Order to Certain Entertainment Venues
• 03/21/20 Order to Prohibit Adult Day Support or Vocational Habilitation Services in a Congregate Setting
• 03/21/20 Order to Close Facilities Providing Older Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers
• 03/20/20 Order to Cease Business Operation at Hair Salons, Day Spas, Nail Salons, (More)
• 03/17/20 Order non-essential surgery
• 03/17/20 Order to Close Polling locations
• 03/17/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio (Amended)
• 03/17/20 ODH Director’s Order Closure of the Polling Locations
• 03/16/20 Director’s Journal Entry on Updated COVID-19 Reporting Requirements
• 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Food, Alcohol Sales to Carry Out Delivery Only
• 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Access Jails and Detention Facilities
• 03/14/20 Order the Closure of All K-12 School in the State of Ohio
• 03/14/20 Health Screening for Admission to State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals or to DYS Facilities
• 03/14/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio
• 03/17/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities (Amended)
• 03/14/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities

Resources for Businesses and Workers:

ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT AID FOR OHIOANS:
• The Governor will issue an executive order, which will grant the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal 1-week waiting period.
• This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work. Learn more at Unemployment.Ohio.gov or JFS.Ohio.gov/Coronavirus.

ONE-TIME LIQUOR BUYBACK:

• The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons.
• Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high- proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov.

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS:

• The Ohio Development Services Agency submitted an application to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Ohio’s request for small businesses to receive economic disaster relief loans has been approved.  This program provides low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency.
• Non-profit organizations in Ohio will also be eligible for low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
• To complete the state’s application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

BUREAU OF WORKERS COMPENSATION:
· The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is announcing that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020. At that time the matter will be
reconsidered. Additionally, BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of COVID-19. For more information, attached is a FAQ sheet or you can visit www.BWC.Ohio.Gov


Pennsylvania

       Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Meadows Standardbred Owners Association Update –   03/27/2020

PA General Assembly:
• The Senate session is scheduled for April 6, 7 and 8 at 11:00 AM
• The House has scheduled session for April 6 at 1:00 PM

Federal Information:
• Senate passed coronavirus package and if passed in the House on Friday, March 27, Treasury is proposing emergency funds to be direct deposited by April 6 or checks to be received within 3 weeks:
$1,200 Individual (income under $100,000)
$2,400 Couples
$   500 per child under age 17
(Minimum payments of $600 for those with no federal tax liability, and aid would be phased down at adjusted gross income thresholds)   https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/25/whats-in-stimulus-package-coronavirus-149282

• Canada-U.S. border to closed to nonessential travel on Friday night
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/19/canada-us-border-closing-coronavirus-137433

Additional Information:
• PA Dep’t. of Health coronavirus updates: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

• Phone: for any questions you have about coronavirus: call 1-877-724-3258

• LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health:  www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook

•  Governor Wolf is expected to sign a measure postponing the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2.

For Businesses and Workers:
• Governor Wolf: Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to Small Businesses facing losses related to Coronavirus  https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-economic-injury-disaster-loans-available-to-small-businesses-and-non-profits-facing-losses-related-to-covid-19/

• Unemployment Compensation for Pennsylvanians –   www.uc.pa.gov/pages/covid19.aspx

 

       Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association –

Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association Update – (03-26-20)

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resources

Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Dedicated Websitehttps://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

PA COVID-19 Daily Report:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/COVID-19%20Situation%20Reports/20200324nCoVSituationReportExt.pdf

PA COVID-19 Daily Press Conference Stream (3:00 p.m. EST):   https://pacast.com/live/doh or https://www.governor.pa.gov/live/

PA Case Map:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#CasesinPennsylvania

PA Stay At Home Order:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/?fbclid=iwar22jtpidu7weyoljqvlamjvtxygc76bnouq3mdkpfbjs5nvc6ff2pufnjg#StayatHomeOrder

PA Information for Travelers:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx

PA COVID-19 FAQs:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/FAQs.aspx

Questions about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania? 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)

PA Department of Labor & Industry:   https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

PA Department of Revenue:   https://www.revenue.pa.gov/Pages/AlertDetails.aspx

PENNDOT:   https://www.penndot.gov/pages/coronavirus.aspx

PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs:   https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Get%20Help%20Now/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

PA Department of Community and Economic Development:   https://dced.pa.gov/resources/

PA Department of Banking and Securities:   https://www.dobs.pa.gov/Businesses/COVID-19%20Information%20and%20Guidance/Pages/default.aspx

CDC COVID-19 Testing Guidelines & Symptom Self-Checker:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

PHHA Partner Tracks
The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Updates:   https://mohegansunpocono.com/updates.html
Harrah’s Philadelphia Updates:    https://www.caesars.com/corporate/coronavirus-guest-information

Luzerne County (Pocono):   https://www.luzernecounty.org/1263/Luzerne-County-COVID-19-Response

Delaware County (Harrah’s):   https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html

PHHA Health Coverage Information – 3/24/20

The PHHA has transitioned to working remotely but are still available for assistance by calling the PHHA office at 610.874.5200.  Moving forward, the PHHA will not be billing any of its members for their April health premium. If a member has paid ahead, those monies will remain on their account as a credit. Additionally, the PHHA is encouraging all members to take advantage of MDLIVE, a free service through Independence Blue Cross in which a doctor can be accessed remotely.  https://www.mdlive.com/

 

Virginia – Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association

 

Wisconsin – Wisconsin Harness Horsemen’s Association

Ken Weingartner

Media Relations Manager

U.S. Trotting Association

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