Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Guide

 

COVID-19 Business Toolkit

Latest Updates and NC Executive Orders Regarding Coronavirus

 

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having significant implications for the public as well as businesses here in Wayne County. We have heard concerns from a number of our members about the coronavirus pandemic and its potential impact on their personal and professional lives. As the situation continues to evolve, it is important for all employers to monitor the outbreak and implement strategies to protect their workforce.

We are monitoring the situation and want to provide useful tools and resources for our members as they become available. Below is a compiled list from local, state, national, and global resources that we hope will be helpful for your business in the weeks ahead.

 

 

NC Stay At Home Order

Stay At Home Order and Strategic Directions for NC

 

 

 

Assistance for American Workers and Families

In the weeks immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, Americans will see fast and direct relief in the form of Economic Impact Payments. For more information, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

Unemployment Insurance Updates

 

 

 

Federal assistance for tourism-related businesses
Entire industries are hurting and hoping for help from the U.S. government, as Americans cancel travel plans and avoid stores and restaurants because of the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration has been pitching a stimulus package of potentially $1 trillion or more that involves aid for hard-hit sectors such as the airline industry. U.S. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said during a press conference Tuesday (yesterday) that hotels were among the industries due to get loan guarantees in the Trump administration’s proposed package. Regarding support for restaurants, the Treasury secretary said many of them are small businesses and the administration had a specific aid program in the works for such businesses.

 

 

 

Facebook Small Business Grants Program – Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries where it operates. Facebook will share more details as they become available.

 

 

 

Helping You Work and Learn Remotely – Businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones.

 

AT&T Offers Added Relief for Customers
Free 90-day offer of Webex Meetings with AT&T
Call Forward for the first 90-days of use at no charge

 

 

 

Marketing Signage for your Business
Free Printable Templates For Coronavirus Signage

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus 
Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs

  • Continuing updates on new legislation will be provided as it becomes available and as it pertains to business owners struggling in the wake of the coronavirus.

Three separate packages approved by Congress and signed by President Trump over the past weeks combined offer a variety of assistance to businesses. Here’s a breakdown of what’s in those packages and how your business can take advantage of these relief efforts.

 

 

Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Treasury’s CARES Act website: https://home.treasury.gov/cares

 

Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

 

The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

 

Here are the questions you may be asking and what you need to know.

 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

The program would provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed, as well as help affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.

 

This new loan option prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Please review the resources provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury below and visit their website for additional information.

  • A top-line overview of the program can be found here
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
  • The application for borrowers can be found here.

 

 

Small Business Debt Relief Program

This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law. 

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants

These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. 

 

Counseling & Training

If you, like many small business owners, need a business counselor to help guide you through this uncertain time, you can turn to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), or SCORE mentorship chapter. These resource partners, and the associations that represent them, will receive additional funds to expand their reach and better support small business owners with counseling and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. There will soon be a joint platform that consolidates information and resources related to COVID-19 in order to provide consistent, timely information to small businesses. To find a local resource partner, visit https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/.

In addition, the Minority Business Development Agency’s Business Centers (MBDCs), which cater to minority business enterprises of all sizes, will also receive funding to hire staff and provide programming to help their clients respond to COVID-19. Not every state has a MBDC. To find out if there is one that services your area, visit this site.

 

Contracting

If you are a government contractor, there are a number of ways that Congress has provided relief and protection for your business. Agencies will be able to modify terms and conditions of a contract and to reimburse contractors at a billing rate of up to 40 hours per week of any paid leave, including sick leave. The contractors eligible are those whose employees or subcontractors cannot perform work on site and cannot telework due to federal facilities closing because of COVID-19. 

 

Small Business Tax Provisions

Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure or Experiencing Economic Hardship

This provision would provide a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers, including non-profits, whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. The credit is also provided to employers who have experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis.

 

Wages of employees who are furloughed or face reduced hours as a result of their employer’s closure or economic hardship are eligible for the credit. For employers with 100 or fewer fulltime employees, all employee wages are eligible, regardless of whether an employee is furloughed. The credit is provided for wages and compensation, including health benefits, and is provided for the first $10,000 in wages and compensation paid by the employer to an eligible employee. Wages do not include those taken into account for purposes of the payroll credits for required paid sick leave or required paid family leave, nor for wages taken into account for the employer credit for paid family and medical leave (IRC sec. 45S).

 

  • The credit is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. The credit is provided through December 31, 2020.

 

Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes This provision would allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Payroll taxes that can be deferred include the employer portion of FICA taxes, the employer and employee representative portion of Railroad Retirement taxes (that are attributable to the employer FICA rate), and half of SECA tax liability.

 

  • Deferral is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

 

 

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
What is it?

Signed into law on March 6, The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, enabling the U.S. Small Business Administration to offer 
$7 billion in disaster assistance loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

 

What does it mean for small business?

  • The SBA is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses suffering substantial economic harm as a result of the coronavirus.
  • These loans may be used by small businesses to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and additional bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without other available means of credit. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.
  • The SBA loans come with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years, in an effort to keep payments affordable. Loan terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to individual borrower’s ability to repay.
  • The SBA has amended its disaster loan criteria to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Hence, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment.

 

Where can I learn more?

 

 

 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
What is it?

Signed into law on March 18, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) contains eight divisions designed to provide assistance to covered employees and households with eligible children affected by COVID-19. Key components of the Act include:

  • Mandatory emergency paid sick leave for covered employees who, as a result of COVID-19, are quarantined, symptomatic or caring for a symptomatic individual, or caring for a child whose school has been closed.
  • An expansion of unemployment benefits.
  • Modifications to the USDA nutrition and food assistance programs.
  • New requirements for coronavirus diagnostic testing.
  • A temporary increase in the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).

 

 

What does it mean for small business?

The FFCRA affects small businesses in two key ways:

  • Paid sick and family leave. The law requires all private businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick or family leave for employees affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Employer tax credits.The law provides employers with fewer than 500 employees with refundable payroll tax credits to cover the cost of providing the paid sick leave and the paid FMLA leave to their employees. Specifically, the law states that:
    • Employers will receive 100% tax credit against their payroll tax liability up to the capped amount of benefits they must pay.
    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
    • If an employer is owed more than the capped amount and a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
    • Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.

 

Where can I learn more?

 

 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
What is it?

The CARES Act, has a number of components aimed at helping small businesses survive and recover from losses suffered during the coronavirus outbreak. Key components of the CARES Act include a loan program from the SBA, changes to unemployment benefits and changes to business tax filing requirements.

 

 

What does it mean for small business?

Anticipated key components of the CARES Act include:

  • Small Business Paycheck Protection Program: A new lending program that allows businesses to borrow enough to cover monthly payroll costs for businesses for up to 2.5 months. If used for payroll, mortgage interest or other qualified expenses, these loans will be forgiven as long as the employer continues to employ its workers or rehires them when they reopen for business.
  • Business tax provisions: Employers can defer payment of the employer share payroll taxes.
  • Payments for individuals: It is anticipated those who make less than $75,000 a year will receive direct payments of $1,200 per individual ($2,400 joint return) plus $500 per child. This will phase out for incomes above $75,000 ($150,000 joint filings).
  • Unemployment assistance: If your business is closed because of coronavirus and your employees cannot work from home, or your employees are unable to work due to illness or the need to take care of someone who is ill with the virus, they can collect unemployment.

 

 

 

Where can I learn more?

  • Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 page
  • More info on IRS tax changes can be found here.
  • More information on filing for unemployment assistance can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor, though you or your employees will need to file through your state’s unemployment program.

Before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

 

 

 

Golden LEAF Coronavirus Bridge Loan

 

On March 23, 2020, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors approved $15 million in funding to launch the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program, managed by the NC Rural Center.
 
The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will make loans to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.
 
Participating Rapid Recovery lenders include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital.
 
Contact Information
  • For information on the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and to apply for a loan visit https://ncrapidrecovery.org/.
  • To speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact BLNC at 800.228.8443.
 
For more information on the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program, access the press release by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Economic Development Partnership of NC’s Business Relief Resources

 

  • Federal Coronavirus Tax ReliefThe U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

 

  • N.C. Department of Revenue Special Penalty Relief: N.C. Department of Revenue recently announced that they will extend the April 15 tax filing deadline to July 15 for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes to mirror the announced deadline change from the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to the filing extension, the NCDOR will not charge penalties for those filing and paying their taxes after April 15, as long as they file and pay their tax before the updated July 15 deadline.

 

 

 

For all general questions, call Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443. BLNC staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.  BLNC staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance.  All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days.  “Se Habla Español.”

 

 

 

NC Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC)

 

The North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) system will, at no charge, assist small businesses in assessing financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, reconstructing financial statements, evaluating credit options and applying for SBA disaster loans.

 

 

 

U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance Information 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What Can Businesses Do Now?

 

Please reinforce good hand hygiene tips, other common-sense precautions with employees, patrons, and in your homes. General prevention recommendations for COVID-19 are the same as those to prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory viral infections.

 

 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

 

  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

 

  • Avoid contact with others who are sick

 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands, when coughing or sneezing

 

  • If you are sick, stay home

 

  • Review policies, procedures and implement emergency operations plans

 

  • Cross-train employees for key functions so daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential absences

 

  • We encourage you to consider moving in-person meetings to online or phone conferencing for the next few weeks.

 

  • Recommendation of 6 feet between person to person is recommended

 

  • Routinely clean touched surfaces (work stations, countertops and doorknobs), and have disposable wipes easily accessible

 

  • Please do not share unconfirmed information

 

 

 

Health Resources

 

UNC Health Care

Wayne County Health Department

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

 

 

 

 

Health Guidelines

 

Please continue to respect and adhere to the guidance of the healthcare professionals.  If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath or you are concerned that you may have been exposed to coronavirus, call 1-888-850-2684 before visiting a doctor’s office, urgent care location, hospital, or emergency department affiliated with UNC Health. The same applies to visits to non-UNC Health facilities; call first to alert them of your suspicions and condition.

 

Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Members whose businesses are offering drive-thru, takeout and delivery services.

 

If you are a Member of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and have updates to your listing, please contact the Chamber (919) 734-2241.