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Ohio becomes one of 13 states to allow shoppers to use SNAP benefits to purchase groceries online

As unemployment skyrockets, advocates push Congress to increase SNAP benefits
Posted at 1:21 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 13:44:35-04

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that Ohio is one of 13 states that will soon allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their benefits to purchase groceries online.

Currently, there is a SNAP online purchasing pilot operating in 18 states, with additional states being added to the pilot program each week.

“Enabling people to purchase foods online will go a long way in helping Americans follow CDC social distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “USDA is mandated with the noble goal of feeding Americans when they need it most, and we are fulfilling that mission with new innovative programs during this national emergency.”

Several members of Ohio’s congressional delegation applauded the USDA for including Ohio in the program.

“As this public health and economic crisis continues, many families across Ohio are struggling to put food on the table,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11). “SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Yet for many who rely on the program, it may be difficult or dangerous to go shopping during the current pandemic. By providing Ohio families the ability to purchase groceries online, this initiative will help ensure SNAP is working for the people who need direct delivery of healthy foods the most during this challenging time.”

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to roll out the online purchasing pilot and expand its availability nationwide. The program started in New York City in 2019, which now includes 18 participating states. Ohio plans to implement the program this summer with Walmart and Amazon being the two SNAP retailers.

“Today’s announcement of an online SNAP purchasing option is a huge win for seniors and other at-risk individuals who will be able to stay home and stay safe without having to worry about their grocery list," said Representative Steve Stivers (OH-15).

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.