By Stephanie Mercado

With a year-end deadline looming to spend Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding provided by the Department of Treasury, Gov. Mike DeWine announced several new programs Friday aimed at helping Ohio residents and businesses recover from the pandemic. The funds include up to $125 million to the new Small Business Relief Grant program, $37 million to the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund and $50 million to the Home Relief Grant. Applications for the Small Business Relief Grant and the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund will open on Nov. 2, 2020. Grant eligibility and the application process are as follows:

Small Business Relief Grant (SBRG)

Grant Award: Up to $10,000 per business dependent on documentation submitted as part of the application

Eligible Applicants: Small, for-profit businesses who have between 1-25 employees are eligible to apply for the grant. Eligible businesses must also receive 90% or more of their income from activities performed and taxed in Ohio. Certain businesses are ineligible, such as liquor stores, stores that sell tobacco product and operations that conduct legal gaming. Eligible businesses must also provide documentation showing business expenses were incurred within the 60 days prior to application submission.

Eligible expenses: While businesses do not need to provide documentation of eligible expenses as part of the application process, businesses must keep records for five years that support $10,000 of the following eligible expenses incurred between March 22, 2020 and the date of application submission:

  • Personal protective equipment to protect employees, customers or clients from COVID-19
  • Measures taken to protect employees, customers or clients from COVID-19
  • Mortgage or rent payments for business premises (personal residences explicitly excluded)
  • Utility payments (excludes utilities for personal residences and cellular phones not used primarily for business purposes)
  • Salaries, wages or compensation paid to contractors or employees, including an employer’s share of health insurance costs
  • Business supplies or equipment

Documentation Requirements: As part of the application, businesses must include documentation evidencing proof of employment as of Jan. 1, 2020, proof of business expenses 60 days prior to the date of application submission and the businesses’ most recent tax return.

Application & Awards: The online application opens on Nov. 2, 2020. Awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis provided the application meets award details.

KJK advises that eligible applicants begin assembling required documentation as soon as possible in order to timely submit as close to November 2, 2020 as possible. For more information on the grant program, eligibility and application requirements, visit or contact Stephanie Mercado at for additional details.

Bar & Restaurant Assistance Fund

Every permitted on premise liquor license holder is permitted to receive $2,500 from the State of Ohio. Eligible businesses do not have to be currently open for business but must have an active, issued permit.   Applications must be submitted between Nov. 2 – Dec. 30th, 2020 to receive the grant.  For more information, including application instructions visit or contact Stephanie Mercado at

Home Relief Fund

Gov. DeWine also announced $50 million in mortgage, rental and utility assistance to Ohio residents who meet certain income requirements. Employers may consider connecting their employees with local community action agencies charged with distributing the funds if employers determine employees’ wages or circumstances may support eligibility for assistance. For more information visit:

If you have  questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Stephanie Mercado at or 216.736.7272.