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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented action in regard to temporary business restriction and closure. Within the last week, Governor DeWine has ordered the closure of all dining rooms of bars and restaurants; closure of bowling alleys, movie theaters, recreation centers and similar businesses; and the closure of barbershops and nail salons.  Yesterday’s “Stay at Home” Order from Ohio Director of Health, Dr. Amy Acton, orders that all non-essential business and operations must cease by midnight tonight. These orders have affected tens of thousands of Ohioans. In just three days last week, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services received 77,817 claims for unemployment benefits. Compare this to two weeks ago when only 2,905 claims were filed.

If you find yourself without a job, I encourage you to visit “COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide” which has been compiled by OSU Extension. It features Individual Resources, Employee Resources, Small Business Resources, Available Ohio Food Access Options, Financial Wellness Resources & Consumer Protection, and Finding Local Resources.

University of Wisconsin Extension also has a website for “Managing Your Personal Finances in Tough Times” with a special section dedicated to the financial effects of COVID-19 for individuals, families and businesses. There is also a section called “Dealing with a Drop in Income” that answers questions like “Where do you start if you can’t pay bills?” and “Deciding Which Debts to Pay First.”

Another resource I especially appreciate from The University of Delaware offers advice for Surviving a Family Crisis. Losing income from a job is not inherently more manageable for an individual than a family. However, there are different challenges when multiple people are involved. The University of Maryland Extension also offers some ideas for talking with children about needs and wants.

I have been inspired this week as acquaintances, who are now without work, have shared their struggles in positive ways on social media. They’ve shared their fears and disappointments, but even more, they have shared the encouraging words and even mentioned financial help they’ve been receiving from others. It has been motivating for me to see the support that people are receiving. It has caused me to act and help others who may be facing more uncertain times than I am, even if it is in small ways.

If your job is secure, consider what you can do to financially bless a friend or acquaintance during this time. I’ve heard some great suggestions to set aside the money you might normally spend on gasoline or parking or other daily expenses and use that to make a donation in your community.If you are in a difficult place, please know that many people want to help right now. Let others know your needs, even if that is a listening ear for you to voice your concerns without judgment.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Lucas County

Sources:

Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (2020)  COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide. at https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-finances-0/covid-19-financial-resource-guide

University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension (2020) Managing Your Personal Finances in Tough Times. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/

University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension (2020) Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/covid-19-financial-resources/

Olive, P. University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. (March 2020) Dealing with a Drop in Income. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/files/2019/01/Drop-in-income-2020-state-version-new-logo.pdf

Park, E. and Nelson, P.T., Surviving A Family Crisis. (2012) (Ed) Families Matter! A Newsletter Series for Parents of School-Age Youth. Newark, DE: Cooperative Extension, University of Delaware. at https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/fact-sheets/surviving-family-crisis/

University of Maryland Extension (2013) Helping Your Child Become Money Smart. Factsheet FS-962. at   https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/publications/FS-962%20Helping%20Your%20Children%20to%20%20Become%20Money%20Smart_0.pdf

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/fJTqyZMOh18

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