COVID-19 Business Resource Guide

This page will be updated with new and relevant resources for business as they become available. If you have information that you would like to share with Catawba County’s business community regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please email us.

Latest Announcements

Wednesday, September 30th, Governor Roy Cooper announced starting on Friday, October 2nd at 5:00pm, North Carolina will move to Phase 3.  Here are some of the key points:

  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 pm curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.  

State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next several weeks to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 23. 

For more information on Executive Order 169 and the FAQs for EO 169, click the links below:
Read the Executive Order. 
Read the Frequently Asked Questions. 

Thursday, September 17th, Governor Roy Cooper announced that beginning on October 5th, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5).

Plan A continues to include important safety measures like coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. Read the full press release here. 

Tuesday, September 1st, Governor Cooper announced that the state will move into Phase 2.5 starting Friday, September 4th at 5 PM.

Here are some key points:

  • Mass gathering limits will increase to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from the current limit of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. 
  • Playgrounds may open.
  • Museums and aquariums may open at 50% capacity. 
  • Gyms and indoor exercise facilities, such as yoga studios, martial arts, and rock climbing, as well as skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor basketball, volleyball etc., may open at 30% capacity. 
  • Bars, nightclubs, movie theatres, indoor entertainment facilities, amusement parts, dance hall will remain closed. 
  • Large venues remain subject to the mass gathering limits. 

For more information on Executive Order 163 and the FAQs for EO 163, click the links below: 
Read the Executive Order
Read the Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, June 24th, Governor Cooper extended the Phase 2: Safer at Home order along with implementing a mask requirement while in public places. This new order went into effect on Friday, June 26th at 5 PM. Read the FAQ for Executive Order 147 here. 

Click here to download a digital face covering poster for free to print and display. A second option can be downloaded by clicking here

Monday, June 8th, state health and education leaders released interim guidance this week on how North Carolina public schools can reopen next school year from the coronavirus pandemic. Read the interim guidance here.

Friday, June 5th, The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), was signed into law by President Trump which includes a number of key provisions providing greater flexibility for the PPP Program. Read the PPPFA here; key points summarized below.

Wednesday, May 20th, Governor Roy Cooper announces North Carolina will move into Phase Two on Friday, May 22nd at 5 PM with Executive Order 141.
Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Roy Cooper announces North Carolina will move into Phase One on Friday, May 8 at 5 PM with Executive Order 138Business Guidance for Phase 1.
Monday, May 4th, Governor Roy Cooper signed SB704 & HB1043 into law which included a COVID-19 Relief package of $1.6B for critical expenditures related to public health & safety, educational needs, small business assistance, & continuity of state govt. operations.  
Friday, April 24, Governor Cooper announced that public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Virtual learning will continue. Read more
Thursday, April 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper announced that that his “Stay-At-Home” Order would remain in place through Friday, May 8, 2020. This order specifically continues his prior Executive Order 121. For more information, here is a link to today’s Executive Order 135 and here is a link to Executive Order 121 which was issued on March 27, 2020. 
Additionally, Governor Cooper shared information about how North Carolina can gradually re-open over three phases to prevent hot spots of viral spread while also beginning to bring our economy back. These phases are based on the best information available now, but could be altered as new information emerges. To read more about Cooper’s phasing approach to re-opening NC’s economy, click here.

Thursday, April 9th – Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order 121 that provides new required and recommended policies for retail establishments, addresses COVID-19 mitigation measures for long-term care facilities, and expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims by expanding availability of the attached claims process. To learn more or review some FAQs about Executive Order 131, please click here

Friday, March 27th – Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a Stay-at-Home order, effective at 5:00PM on Monday, March 30th.  Businesses deemed non-essential must cease operations.  Essential Businesses as defined in the order, businesses with contractors/staff who operate solely out of their own residence and businesses who meet social distancing requirements may continue operations.  Review the order for details to determine if you meet these specifications. No special permit is needed for a business deemed essential or who falls under any of the categories stated above to continue operations. Read Executive Order 121:  EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3

For a complete summary of all updates that have taken place since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in NC: Updates since March 3, 2020

Business Resources

COVID 19 Business Resource Guide – Download this special section that was included in the Hickory Daily Record on Sunday, April 5th in Section D to read about the various emergency loan programs and other advice regarding things you should be doing now to weather this economic disruption. 

“COVID-19 & Your Business” Webinar Series covering the following topics: An overview of COVID-19, preventative measures to protect your workplace, continuity of business operations, labor & employment law guidance, business resources & assistance and answers to other frequently asked questions.   Please view the recorded webinars below, along with downloading a copy of the slides for each session.  For more information, please email us.

Part 1 (VIDEO):

Download the Presentation Slides:  Catawba County Business Presentation – COVID-19 – Part 1

Part 2 (VIDEO):

Download the Presentation Slides:  Catawba County Business Presentation – COVID-19 – Part 2

Download the Presentation Slides:  Small Business Technology Development Centers – COVID-19 – Part 2

Part 3 (VIDEO):

Part 4 (VIDEO):

Part 5 (VIDEO):
Webinar: Covid & Your Business Webinar Series: Open, Safe and Profitable (VIDEO):

Payroll Protection Program (PPP): What You Need to Know 

About the PPP: For a top-line overview of the program, CLICK HERE.  For more information and updates, visit HERE or HERE.  

To Apply for the PPP: Nearly $130 billion in PPP loan money is still available. The deadline to apply for a PPP loan remains June 30, at least for now. Contact your local lender for the application and checklist of materials needed to apply.  

US Chamber’s Small Business Guide and Checklist for the Payroll Protection Program — The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn.  

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application – The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration recently released the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. The forgiveness forms, instructions, and worksheets can be downloaded here. PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness with the lender that processed the loan.

US Chamber Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness: This guide is designed to help borrowers understand the process by which their loan forgiveness amount will be calculated and the overall approach of the loan forgiveness process.

Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA): Increased Guidance & More Flexibility for Forgiveness

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), signed into law by President Trump on June 5th, includes a number of key provisions providing greater flexibility for the PPP Program. Read the PPPFA here; key points summarized below.

  • Under the new rules, borrowers now may use the money over a 24-week period, rather than the 8-week period set in the first legislation.
  • In addition, your loans can be forgiven even if you don’t bring back the same number of employees.
  • Business owners also now have more time to bring back workers. The repayment period for the PPP loans is now five years, up from two years.
  • Reduces the proceeds required for payroll from 75% to 60%: Allowing more flexibility to cover non-payroll costs like rent, mortgage interest and utilities.
  • Allow payroll tax deferral for PPP recipients
  • Extends the 6-month loan payment deferral period: Until the date on which the amount of forgiveness determined is remitted to the lender
  • Pushes back a June 30th deadline to rehire workers to Dec. 31, 2020:
  • Eases Rehire Requirements: A business can still receive forgiveness on payroll amounts if it -made a good-faith written offer of employment that is rejected; fired someone for cause; found that you’ve been unable to hire a former employee or similarly qualified one; and can’t restore business operations to Feb. 15 levels because of COVID-19. You also won’t face penalties when employees have voluntarily resigned or asked to work fewer hours.
  • One drawback: It’s still not clear if loan money spent on business expenses is tax deductible. Nevertheless, forgiven-loan proceeds do not give rise to taxable income, as provided for in the CARES Act

Other Funding & Immediate Assistance

A Comprehensive Guide to the CARES Act Financing Available to Small Businesses — SCORE has compiled a comprehensive list of the loan and grant programs that are currently available that require little to no collateral.  Additionally, they’ve included the information you need to pull together to apply.  

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) — The SBA is providing low-interest federal loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. Applicants are encouraged to apply.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans are a vital resource to help North Carolina small businesses be resilient and adaptive in the face of the corornavirus crisis. These are primarily designed to be a timely source of bridge loan financing until businesses can access SBA Disaster or other federal disaster funding. 

Inc. Magazine is maintaining a listing of grant opportunities for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
CASE at Duke launched #COVID19CapitalRelief, a searchable database for global, national and regional capital sources for profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs at risk due to #COVID19. It already contains over 90 capital offerings worth over $14.5 billion.
Many of our local banks are offering low interest loans, payment deferrals, lines of credit and more. Additionally, they will assist you directly with applying for the federal stimulus programs as indicated above. Contact your local banker to see what assistance they can provide. If you do not have a banker, our team can provide you with a list of our partners.


Applications are now being accepted for the NC Commerce Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR) Program. This program is excepting applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have experienced extraordinary business disruption and not been able to open due to COVID-19 the MURR program may be able to offer assistance with some of your fixed costs. Eligibility for this program is limited to Amusement Arcades, Amusement Parks, Banquet Halls with catering staff, Bingo Parlors, Bowling Centers, Dance Halls, Drinking places, Indoor fitness and Recreational Sports centers, Motion Picture Theatres and Museums. To qualify to receive these relief funds, your organization must meet certain eligibility criteria. The applications for this assistance are on a first-come, first-served basis. They are not taking applications yet, but will be soon.  Click here to find more information

North Carolina’s Department of Administration Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) has partnered with Carolina Small Business Development Fund and the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development to establish the RETOOLNC Grant Program Fund. The fund provides cash aid to for-profit small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grantees must be certified as “underutilized” by NC HUB or NC DOT agencies. For more information about how to qualify, click here.  Frequently asked questions, here.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program now allows businesses to borrow up to $250,000 with no payments and 0.25 percent interest for the first 18 months. The loan’s terms have also changed from a 60-month repayment term to a 102-month repayment term. Small businesses and family farms in need of assistance should apply for this program to sustain or adapt their business to the realities of the pandemic. For more information or to apply, click here.

Immediate Business Counseling & Assistance
The SBTDC’s Appalachian State University-affiliated regional office is located in Hickory. Work with their team of counselors who have extensive experience working with businesses recovering from disasters to develop your overall Covid-19 Recovery Plan. 

Schedule a confidential business counseling sessions with the SBTDC.

Checklist of Steps You Can Take Now

CVCC’s Small Business Center Receives State Funding to Provide Professional Services Grants to Local Businesses – The Catawba Valley Community College Small Business Center has received new state funding to help businesses reboot, recover & rebuild after the pandemic.

  • CVCC Small Business Center has connected with local legal and accounting professionals, subject matter experts in social media, e-commerce and non-profit management who are available to work with local businesses through CVCC’s Small Business Center.
  • Businesses can participate by contacting Jeff Neuville, Director of the CVCC Small Business Center at or call 828-327-7000, ext. 4102.. You must also complete the request for counseling form at
  • There are no fees for businesses to participate, but the funding is limited and will be used on a first come, first serve basis. 

Labor & Employment Resources

Ogletree Deakins has compiled a comprehensive Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) resource guide for employers.  View their resource portal here. 

COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Handout

COVID-19: FAQs on Federal Labor and Employment Laws
Ogletree Deakins provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus and guidance from federal agencies.

FFCRA Employee Not Working Chart — This is a quick guide for employers regarding emergency paid leave / FMLA Extension by  EbenConcepts. 

Lay-Offs vs. Furloughs & Other FAQs for Employers – Chamber Investor, Broome Associates provides answers to FAQs regarding lay-offs, furloughs, FMLA, employee benefits and more. 

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers (CDC)
The CDC provides this interim guidance to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19. Let your employees know you are monitoring the situation and share best practices for prevention and treatment.

Unemployment Resources —  File for unemployment Click here.  The NCDES will help both employers and employees navigate COVID-19 unemployment-related questions and program changes. Read here. 

Executive Order 131: Batching Unemployment Claims
Starting Monday, April 13, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 131 – in addition to other changes, this order also allows business to file a batch of unemployment claims on behalf of your employees, known as an “attached claim.

In order to allow more employers to utilize the “attached claims process”, the following requirements have been temporarily lifted, such as:

  • The employer credit balance is not verified. 
  • Benefits are not limited to six weeks once per year. 
  • The employer is not required to pay the full amount of the benefit at the time the claim is filed.

To learn more or review some FAQs about Executive Order 131, please click here

Catawba County United Way Establishes Emergency Fund — The CCUW will be providing additional funding to those community partners with the greatest need and whose clients are being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak. View online or press release for more information. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance…Beginning, Friday, April 24th, North Carolina independent contractors and self-employed workers out of work because of COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Click here to read more or to apply
The Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley announces their COVID-19 Community Portal. The portal is designed to stretch funds further. For immediate assistance, help with a new financial plan or resources for health and well-being. For more information, see portal.
DSS Employee Assistance Resource Guide, created by the DSS Division Team to provide those who might need assistance during this unusual time but aren’t familiar with Public Assistance benefits. Click here to download.

Childcare — Child Care and School-Age Care Options can be located through the Children’s Resource Center; click here to view a flyer for more information. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Production 

The Carolina Textile District is working to network manufacturers, community leaders & healthcare professionals in the Carolinas to create COVID-19 response PPE, with a focus on masks & gowns, for those on the front lines of this crisis. 

Are you a manufacturer interested in producing PPE? Here’s an open resource guide that can answer FAQs.  Interested in partnering with this industry collaborative — Submit your interest form here

For additional guidance from the Economic Development Partnership of NC for companies seeking to produce critical medical equipment & more, click here

Business Continuity Planning

Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (HHS & CDC)
Planning for pandemic influenza is critical. To assist you in your efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed the following checklist for large businesses. It identifies important, specific activities large businesses can do now to prepare, many of which will also help you in other emergencies.

Pandemic Preparedness Planning For U.S. Businesses With Overseas Operations (CDC)
The United States Government has created the following guide to help U.S. businesses with overseas operations prepare and implement pandemic business continuity. This is a list of suggestions and can serve as a starting point for developing a comprehensive plan. The checklist highlights actions applicable to businesses of all sizes, although each item does not necessarily apply to every overseas business.

Sample Pandemic Preparation Questions
The following are questions to ask during an outbreak, questions to ask once an outbreak becomes a pandemic, and which actions your crisis management team should perform regularly afterward to stay prepared.

Current Status of COVID-19 Cases in Catawba County, NC & US

Total Confirmed Cases of COVID-19:  2,913

Total Negative Tests:  23,063

(Updated: 9/18/2020)

For the most updated case counts and to see how Catawba County Public Health is proactively responding, click here.

North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS)

Center for Disease Control

NC DHHS and NCAHEC Weekly Business Forum, Every Wednesday from 11:30am to 12:00pm beginning March 25, 2020: The NC DHHS Division of Public Health (DPH) and NC AHEC will hold weekly forums for the NC business community. The forums will enable members of the business community to obtain timely information on COVID-19 and to pose questions directly to public health subject matter experts. Click here for call information.

North Carolina COVID-19 Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

Sign Up for Text Updates: North Carolinians can text COVIDNC to 898211 to receive general information and updates about COVID-19. Sign up now to get regular alerts on the rapidly evolving situation and North Carolina’s response.

NC 2-1-1 — Governor Roy Cooper announced NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina as a resource for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community.


About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The CDC offers information on how Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, and what to do if you are sick, and frequently asked questions, including printable fliers.