Economy

Business news

Help covering rent and mortgage payments is coming to small businesses in Mentor under a new grant program designed to help reopen the local economy.

The Mentor Small Business Restart Program is focusing on small, local storefronts that had no opportunity to collect revenue during the shutdown, said Mentor’s Director of Economic Development and International Trade Kevin Malecek.

1.2 million Ohioans have filed jobless claims since mid-March. And as Ohio’s businesses reopen, workers are concerned about the availability of child care, the cleanliness of their workplaces and the safety of vulnerable family members as they go back to work. And the agency processing claims has seen that concern too.

Ohio’s unemployment rate nearly tripled in just a month and set a record as COVID-19 closures and the state’s stay at home order fully hit economic activity.

chapel hill mall
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

JCPenney had intended to permanently close its store at Chapel Hill Mall in early April. The coronavirus pandemic changed that plan. With the governor's stay at home order, the store was shut down in March. Now a spokewoman says the store will reopen for five more weeks before it closes permanently. 

a photo of a floor market at Akron Canton airport
/ COURTESY AKRON CANTON AIRPORT

Facing an unprecedented drop in business and the loss of a major air carrier, Akron-Canton Airport is counting on passengers gradually starting to fly again. But what does that look like?

map of Summit County
GOOGLE MAPS

There’s a new pot of grant money for small businesses in Summit County struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic. The hope is that more of them will be able to qualify for this round of funding.

photo of Phil Leiter
HOWARD HANNA REALTY

Spring is typically the busy season for realtors. The number of homes that are for sale is down between 8% and 20% in parts of Northeast Ohio. At the same time, the number of homes being sold is up as the coronavirus pandemic has changed the process of buying a house.

FLICKR

In the two months since coronavirus first started dominating the headlines of American newspapers, some 1,100 of those newspapers have laid off and furloughed staff, cut pay and print schedules, or gone out of existence altogether. But it’s also spawned some new models in Ohio and beyond.

On Giving Tuesday, a long line of nonprofits devastated by the corona pandemic -- from museums to food banks to zoos -- appealed to donors for their survival. It also was Giving News Day -- a new appeal to donors and subscribers throughout the country to save local journalism.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is facing severe ridership and revenue declines in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ridership began to drop in the first week of March, said RTA Interim Secretary Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer Floun'say Caver during a Tuesday board meeting. By the second week of April, Caver said, ridership was down nearly 70 percent.

The agency is already projecting a $22.1 million loss in passenger fares for the year, Caver said.

map of Ohio campgrounds
OHIO CAMPGROUND OWNERS ASSOCIATION

Ohio campgrounds are once again open for seasonal, long-term campers. But a group representing campground owners wants the state to reopen for everyone and soon.

Many of Ohio’s retail stores that had been closed for the past few weeks opened today. There was a light yet steady stream of shoppers inside a Columbus area book store.

a photo of Daryl Frazier from PARTA
DENISE BABA / PARTA

When the state issued orders for people to stay home, public transit had to adjust. The Portage Area Regional Transit Authority (PARTA) cut routes, stopped collecting fares, and since April first has been rotating its workforce a week on, a week off so it could keep them employed.

This week PARTA is working to bring services back as the economy starts to reopen. And its general manager Claudia Amrhein is taking on a new statewide role to advocate for public transit around Ohio.

a screen capture of the plain dealer front page
CLEVELAND.COM

The coronavirus pandemic could bring changes to the Cleveland media landscape. A recent article in Crain's Cleveland Business speculates the city's print newspaper, The Plain Dealer, could within the next few years be printed only on Sundays. 

More than two dozen reporters and editors at the paper, run by the New York-based Advance Publications Inc., have been laid off in the past few months. 

The Cleveland Public Library will freeze hiring and take other cost-saving measures to offset the anticipated coronavirus-related funding loss.

CPL also will restrict spending on its collections and tap into its unencumbered fund, according to a press release. The changes will cut an estimated $6 million from the budget.

The library has also applied for SharedWork Ohio through the state Department of Job and Family Services, which would allow the library to continue employing workers, with reduced hours. CPL estimates it could save $2.3 million through the program.

The City of Cleveland has launched a strategic plan to address the economic impact of the coronavirus, including financial aid programs for residents and local businesses.

The city is preparing to start the reopening process, Mayor Frank Jackson said in a Monday press conference. A potential surge in cases is anticipated, Jackson said, and city officials are already looking for ways to reduce the virus’ impact moving forward.

Ohio is among the top states for several agricultural crops and for food production and processing. But while farming is considered an essential business under the various shutdown orders, it's a tough time for those who run the state's 76,000 farms.

Brick and mortar retail stores throughout Ohio that have been considered non-essential are set to open on May 12th. But the newly expanded stay-at-home order is allowing some to start up tomorrow. 

Ohio is taking the first step in slowly reopening businesses, beginning with health care procedures and work at dentists’ and veterinarians’ offices. Gov. Mike DeWine says companies following strict safety measures is not only in the best interest of public health but for the future of their business.

Dentists can resume office procedures on Friday, after being shut down last month to preserve personal protective equipment for health care workers fighting COVID-19. But some dental employees say they have serious reservations about whether there will be enough PPE to protect them as they see patients.

A coalition of tenants and landlords is calling on Congress to include $100 billion for rental assistance in its next coronavirus relief measure.

Gov. Mike DeWine has extended the stay-at-home order expiring May 1 to 11:59pm on May 29. But hospitals can start performing some non-emergency procedures Friday, and dentists and veterinarians can get back to work as well. But some businesses say they plan to open their doors as well.

Magnet

As parts of Ohio’s economy begin to re-open over the next few days, the manufacturing industry is getting some tips. The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, better known as MAGNET, released guidelines and a checklist for each phase of the re-opening.

MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp said the organization has tips on everything from the Paycheck Protection Program to sanitation and safety concerns.

Richards Industrials in Oakley makes all kinds of valves. It's products can be found in chemical plants, pharmaceutical plants, refineries, food and beverage manufacturing plants - basically anywhere around the world where product is moved through a pipe, you might find a valve from the Cincinnati-based company.

That now includes in ventilator testing machines by companies making the life-saving pieces of equipment.

Cleveland is still waiting on more information to determine the full impact of the coronavirus on the city budget, Mayor Frank Jackson said Friday, though current estimates place the losses at several million dollars.

The city has multiple sources of revenue impacted by the coronavirus, Jackson said, including parking, event and venue admissions taxes and income taxes.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) system has furloughed or laid off around 300 employees in an effort to accommodate an expected loss in revenue from the coronavirus.

Eighty of the 300 staff were seasonal employees working through the school year and were formally laid off, according to Executive Director Tracy Strobel.

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