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.

COVID-19 Vaccinations 

Catawba County Public Health, Catawba Valley Health System and Frye Regional Medical Center are working together in partnership to schedule Group 3 eligible individuals for COVID-19 vaccinations. Click here to learn more information. 

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Group 4

  • North Carolina has announced an accelerated timeline for moving to Group 4 and 5 for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. All individuals in Group 4 are now eligible to be vaccinated.   
  • See details below to begin the organizational registration process. 
  • To see which employers are classified in Group 4, click HERE

COVID-19 Vaccinations for Essential Workers (Group 3)  

  • Catawba County Public Health and our county’s other COVID-19 vaccination providers continue to vaccinate Groups 1 and 2 (healthcare workers and anyone over age 65).
  • Catawba County Public Health, Catawba Valley Health System, and Frye Regional Medical Center have created an employer-centric pre-registration system to streamline the vaccination request process and minimize workforce disruption.

To begin the registration process, an official representative for your organization (Human Resources, Administration, etc.) will be required to do the following:

  • Review this short guide on the registration steps
  • Complete the Organizational Sign Up Form linked here or in the guiding document. If you are unable to access the Organizational Sign Up (e.g., Google Form), please email Emily Killian, Catawba County Public Health Community Engagement Specialist, or Tania Harper, Public Health’s point person for Group 3 coordination, for assistance.
  • Questions asked through the form will receive a response from a scheduling specialist.
  • Within 2 weeks of completing the form, organizations can expect to have a designated contact person (aka case manager) to assist them with the rest of the registration and scheduling process. 

Important: Please communicate as soon as possible with your frontline essential employees that you will be working with Catawba County Public Health to schedule their vaccination appointments, and ask them to refrain from requesting an individual appointment with us when Group 3 open, which will slow the process. 

ARE MY EMPLOYEES GROUP 3 ELIGIBLE?**

  • The state has developed guidance on which types of employers fall into Group 3 (Deeper Dive) and Group 4 (Deeper Dive).
  • State and local health officials are ALSO using the following document to categorize “frontline essential sectors and workers” not initially identified within the aforementioned “Deeper Dive” documents.

To equip you with this critical information and also answers to frequently asked questions concerning vaccinations of Group 3 and 4, watch the webinar replay by click HERE

Catawba County Public Health has created helpful resources for employers to use to communicate with employees:

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. 

North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS)
North Carolina Department of Heath & Human Services (NCDHHS) COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard Center for Disease Control 
Click here to view all community testing sites across NC.     

  • How do I find when I’m next in line to be eligible to receive a vaccine?  HERE
  • If you have any employees 65 and older, where can I direct them to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine? HERE
  • Where do I go to get my COVID-19 vaccine?  HERE  You can also call the COVID-19 Line 1-877-490-6642.
  • For frequently asked questions in English and Spanish,  click HERE
  • For the latest information on vaccinations for Catawba County companies regarding Group 3 and Group 4, click HERE
Vaccine FAQ for Legislators 
NCDHHS has developed an FAQ Sheet which contains a number of valuable resources to help answer vaccine related constituent questions. 

Latest Announcements

Tuesday, March 2nd, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced that additional frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning tomorrow, March 3. 

Wednesday, February 24th, Governor Cooper announced the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am has been lifted.

  • The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors.
  • The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm.
Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space. 
 
 30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields*
  • Venues*
    *Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.
50% Capacity Limit 
  • Restaurants 
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors 

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
Updates from March 4, 2020 – January 27, 2021   

Business Resources

Fast Turn-Around COVID-19 PCR Testing for Chamber Shareholders & InvestorsThe 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.”

Publication: Overview of the Economic Aid Act: The Small Business Technology and Development Center has published an overview of the small business, non-profit and venue related provisions in the recent Economic Relief Act. To view this guide, click here. 

Other Funding & Immediate Assistance  

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. For more information about the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant Program, click here.  

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. 

Contact your CPA for more information. Click here to read article and FAQs provided by Davidson, Holland, Whitesell & Co., PLLC
To learn more about FFCRA Leave Clarification, click here. 

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

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

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.