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, January 6th, Governor Cooper extended North Carolina’s Modified Stay At Home Order that requires people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am to last through at least Friday, January 29th. Secretary Cohen also issued a Secretarial Directive with stark warnings for North Carolinians to avoid indoor spaces without masks and gatherings between households. Read Executive Order 188. Read here for more details on the Secretarial Directive.  

Monday, December 21st, Governor Cooper has signed off to allow bars and restaurants to sell mixed alcoholic beverages for carryout and delivery. The order allows businesses, including restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars, and holders of distillery permits , to sell mixed beverages (cocktails) to-go with limitations. Read Executive Order 183

Tuesday, December 8th, Governor Roy Cooper implemented a modified stay at home order – requiring nighttime closure for certain businesses and activities for all North Carolinians during overnight hours.

  • Restaurants, Bars, Entertainment Venues, Personal Care Businesses, Most Retail Stores, etc. are required to close by 10 pm
  • Onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 pm
  • Requires people to stay at home 10 pm – 5 am 
  • Effective Friday, December 11th

Read Executive Order 181
Read the Frequently Asked Questions 

Monday, November 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country. Executive Order No. 180 goes into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and runs through Friday, December 11. The Executive Order:

  • Extends Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements.
  • Tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. 
  • Adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household. 
  • Requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter. 

Read Executive Order 180
Read the Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, November 10th, Governor Roy Cooper announced that Phase 3 will be extended through December 4th, 2020. The only change to Phase 3 is the indoor mass gathering limit, lowering from 25 to 10 people. 

Below is the press clipping on Executive Order 176, but here are some of the key points as well as the EO and FAQs:

  • North Carolina’s indoor mass gathering limit will be lowered to 10 people in an effort to drive down North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics. Executive Order 176 will go into effect on Friday, November 13 and will be in place through Friday, December 4.
  • As the weather gets colder, more people will be gathering indoors. Science has shown that indoor gatherings increase risk of transmission of COVID-19, and this Executive Order seeks to limit indoor gatherings that could rapidly and dangerously spread the virus. 
  • The Order does not change the reduced capacity limits for certain businesses that have already been laid out.

Read the Executive Order.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, October 21st, Governor Roy Cooper announced the extension of Executive Order 169, keeping the state in Phase 3 of lifting coronavirus restrictions. Read the Executive Order

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

Fast Turn-Around COVID-19 PCR Testing for Chamber Shareholders & Investors  – The Chamber of Catawba County, in partnership with Catawba Valley Health System, Frye Regional Medical Center, Catawba County Public Health and Mako Medical Laboratories released a Fast Turn-Around COVID-19 PCR Testing Program that exclusively allows Chamber partner businesses in our region the ability to receive employee test results within 48 hours at a discounted rate of $100 per test. In addition to testing, this partnership enables employers the option to wrap around other services focusing on employee preventative health and wellness offered by our hospital partners, such as flu vaccinations, health screenings and injury management, only to name a few.
Click here to read more or read the full press release here. 


Join 140+ Businesses in being “Open & Safe” –
The Open & Safe Commitment provides an opportunity for the business community to unite and rally around protecting lives & livelihoods in the Catawba Valley. The Open & Safe Playbook provides best practices for all industries compiled from known guidance from the CDC, NCDHHS & Catawba County Public Health to serve as a guidepost as business leaders take meaningful steps needed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and avoid future economic disruption. Read more here and join the over 140 business leaders in being “Open & Safe.”

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 on our YouTube page, along with downloading a copy of the slides for each session.  For more information, please email us.

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

Payroll Protection Program (PPP): What You Need to Know
Paycheck Protection Program Loan Portal Re-Opens January 11, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has re-opened the loan process for new borrowers and certain existing borrowers beginning on January 11. While applications opened for new borrowers on January 11th, lender availability is limited to community banks. If you already exhausted your first PPP loan, the loan process for your second draw will be available beginning Wednesday, January 13.

As a reminder, eligibility for a PPP loan now includes all of the following organizations: 

  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons
  • Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
  • 500 employees, or
  • That meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500

To apply, consult with your local lender and/or accountant for guidance. To prepare for this meeting, you can download the PPP borrower application forms to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender. The US Chamber has developed an online Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans which we hope you will find helpful.

To qualify, you must: 

  • Have been in business as of Feb. 15, 2020.
  • Have less than 300 employees.
  • Demonstrate at least 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in first, second and third quarter of 2020 as compared to the same 2019 quarter. Applications submitted after Jan. 1, 2021, can use fourth quarter 2020 gross receipts and compare them to fourth quarter 2019.

For more information on the new pandemic relief package, changes to PPP and more, click here

Other Funding & Immediate Assistance

The “At Your Side” Small Business Grant Program by Main Street America & Brother International
This grant program is available to brick-and-mortar small business located in Main Street districts impacted by COVID-19, while also helping to revitalize and strengthen older and historic commercial corridors. Grants of $5,000 to $10,000 will be awarded on a competitive-basis. Applications will open on January 21st through Jan 28th. Read eligibility criteria and how to apply here.  

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. To learn more and apply, click here. December 23rd updates include: 

  • Additional $20 billion in funding.
  • Ability to reapply if full $10,000 EIDL grant was not awarded.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
  • Allows for an organization to receive both a PPP loan and an ERTC.
  • Extends the tax credit through June 30, 2021. Increases the value of the credit from 50% to 70%.
Inc. Magazine is maintaining a listing of grant opportunities for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
 
LOCAL BANK ASSISTANCE 

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.

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 jneuville@cvcc.edu or call 828-327-7000, ext. 4102.. You must also complete the request for counseling form at https://bit.ly/3eJhn2O.
  • There are no fees for businesses to participate, but the funding is limited and will be used on a first come, first serve basis. 

Support for Venues – Included in the $900 billion stimulus bill, a $15 billion grant program has been established to support shuttered live venues, theaters, museums, and zoos that have experienced significant revenue losses. 

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:  13,248

Total Negative Tests:  51,362

(Updated: 01/12/2021)

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

COVID-19 Vaccinations: Phase 1B
Catawba County Public Health and our local hospitals are actively administering vaccines to those over age 75. For more information from Catawba County Public Health, click here. Our team has received multiple inquiries about the timeline for vaccinations of essential workers. There has been no timeline identified at the current time. We will remain in contact with Catawba County Public Health and will notify you when this information becomes available.

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.

COVID-19

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.