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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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):
Part 2 (VIDEO):
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
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.
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.
NC RAPID RECOVERY
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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: 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.
- For people seeking to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, due to the COVID-19 situation (Read Fact Sheet for Individuals)
- For employers seeking guidance for how to navigate the new changes to the unemployment insurance system (Read Fact Sheet for Employers)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.