Click Here for Updates on Blowing Rock Businesses

 

Please find attached and at the links below new and updated resources that the U.S. Chamber has developed to assist businesses in accessing resources created under the CARES Act (Phase III bill).  Including an update to the guide we released several days ago on the Paycheck Protection Program.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued additional guidance yesterday regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.  Links to the resources provided by Treasury can be found, or on their webpage.

  • 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.
 

 Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Guide

Over the next couple weeks The Chamber of Commerce will be detailing many options and resources available to small business operators to help cope with financial issues you are facing or may face in the coming months due to COVID-19.

Important Local Information 

 
 
 
AppHealthCare - AppHealthCare will provide updates on the status of COVID-19 in the High Country. 
  
 

Watuga County State of Emergency

 
 
 

COVID-19 Helpful Information for Business Owners

Notice: Please refer to NCDHHS for the Most Up-to-Date and Complete Information. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce is here to help! Here is quick guide for Business Owners to help navigate some of the options available to you.

Loans Available for Small Businesses Owners:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. 

Apply for the Loan Advance: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/

 

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses

In response to the unique economic challenges of COVID-19, a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners have come together and launched an innovative recovery-lending program to help support entrepreneurs like you and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector. The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover.

Apply for a NC Rapid Recovery Loan here: https://ncrapidrecovery.org/

 

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 over 30 countries due to the effects of COVID-19.

Sign up for more info: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants?ref=eml

 

United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund

United Way Worldwide has announced that it has established the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support affected communities and help the most vulnerable populations receive critical financial and social service support during the global crisis.

More info here: https://www.unitedway.org/recovery/covid19?utm_source=press&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=covid19&utm_content=learnmore

 

CARES Act

The CARES Act is a Federal Act just passed that aims to help the US recover from the economic impact of COVID 19. Several important issues are covered in the act. The following questions will point you in the right direction to get the process started to start receiving benefits as a business owner.

 

• If you are looking for capital to cover the cost of retaining employees, then the Paycheck

Protection Program might be right for you.

• If you are looking for a quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now, you

might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.

• If you are looking to ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or

potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.

• If you’re looking for quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain

economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet

 

You can get to these programs easily by following the link below.

https://chambermaster.blob.core.windows.net/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/334/File/CARESGuidelines.pdf

 

More details on eligibility and amounts can be found here: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/023595_comm_corona_virus_smallbiz_loan_final.pdf

 

Keep everyone healthy:

  • Have respiratory hygiene supplies available for employees and patrons throughout the facility, including hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, tissues, and lined trash cans
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces with a cleaning agent that is effective against coronaviruses throughout the day and at close of business
  • Post signs encouraging patrons to leave immediately if they begin to show symptoms of illness, COVID-19 or otherwise.
  • Urge people at higher risk for severe illness to stay home. Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.

Continue to Plan

Make a plan for what you will do if large numbers of employees are unable to attend work,

which may occur if schools are closed or their family members are sick. Identify key positions

and cross-train staff to ensure all essential functions will be covered.

  • Cross-training employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences.

Communications:

Make sure you are getting reliable, up-to-date information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NCDHHS. More business specific information is located here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-guidance#businesses 

Employers should not ask for a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a medical provider for employees to return to work.

Restrictions are often issued at the state and county levels as well as at the Federal level. You should always follow the more stringent instructions to combat this virus.

Unemployment

You may file an attached claim for your employees.

  • An attached claim is a claim filed by an employer on behalf of an employee who has been temporarily laid off or who has worked less than 60% of their customary scheduled full-time hours. Employers who wish to file attached claims for employees must meet the requirements of employment security law.

Employers who wish to file for their employees must:

  • Have a positive DES Employer Account balance
  • Pre-pay for all weeks filed on behalf of employees
  • Only file an Attached Claim one time per year
  • Only file for six weeks, and then employees must file UI Claims for themselves

 

Best Practices for Essential Business Employees

Keep everyone healthy: Follow CDC guidelines

  • Keep respiratory hygiene supplies stocked and available for employees and patrons throughout the facility, including hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, tissues, and lined trash cans
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces with a cleaning agent that is effective against coronaviruses throughout the day and at close of business
  • Post signs encouraging patrons to leave immediately if they begin to show symptoms of illness, COVID-19 or otherwise.

If you have been laid off or had your hours cut

If you are laid off work temporarily or if your hours are reduced due to a business slowdown or a lack of demand as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive unemployment benefits. In order to determine eligibility, you must first apply for unemployment. If you’re temporarily out of work or working reduced hours due to COVID-19, select one of those two separation reasons when filing your claim.

File for unemployment insurance:

The fastest and most efficient way to file a new claim is to file online at des.nc.gov. If you don't have access to a computer or need assistance, you may file over the phone by calling the Customer Call Center at 888-737-0259. However, due to the high volume of calls related to COVID-19, you may experience a long wait time. DES will ensure that claimants do not miss out on any weeks of eligibility due to the high call volume.  DES will begin the week when they initially attempted to file.

How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance

  1. Create an Online Account: des.nc.gov
  2. File a claim for unemployment 
  3. Complete your Weekly Certifications
  4. Check your claim status

To file your Claim. You will need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Information about your most recent employment and pay
  • Work history for the last two years
  • Bank routing and account numbers for Direct Deposit

 

TIP: If you are filing due to COVID-19, select ‘coronavirus’ as your reason for separation.

Complete your Weekly Certification. A Weekly Certification is a series of yes/no questions that helps determine your eligibility for benefits each week. If you do not complete a Weekly Certification, you will not be considered for payment.

Log in to your Online Account to complete your weekly certification. If you do not have online access, call 888-372-3453 (Weekly Certifications only).

After filing a claim, it will take about 14 days to receive first payment. An additional $600, as part of the CARES Act, (more information below) in federal benefits will be for weeks ending April 4 – July 31. Benefits owed will be paid retroactively.

CARES Act

Everyone who makes under $75,000 per year (double for couples) will receive $1200 as part of a stimulus plan. If you make over $75,000, you will receive less money. If you make over 99,000 you will not receive the $1200 stimulus money.