Knowledge and trusted information can keep Winston-Salem and Forsyth County businesses working together for a stronger community during the rapidly changing response to the Coronavirus. We’re working to share information in real time that can help you prepare to respond and mitigate effects on your business. Today’s updates include the information below we’re following to keep you informed.
Around the country, state and local leaders are having to make tough decisions regarding public spaces. Many of those restrictions include measures that limit the scope of operations for businesses in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To that end, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order to close all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers in North Carolina. Businesses can still provide take-out and delivery operations, but dining rooms will be closed to customers as a matter of public safety. While we all stay home and flatten the curve, it is essential to show support to our local restaurants and businesses as we are able.
Jobs are more than vocations. Work allows us to positively impact our communities, provide for ourselves and our families, realize our dreams, and create new realities. This virus has hit many industries and has put jobs in jeopardy. In a March 17th press conference Governor Cooper shared the provisions of his executive order regarding unemployment. The order:
- Removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment benefits for those workers who lose their jobs;
- Removes the requirement that a person must look for another job during this time when so many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect
- Allows employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to COVID-19 issues, to apply for unemployment benefits
- Waives the requirement that part of the application process be in person
- Directs that these unemployment losses won’t be counted against employers
Small Business Administration Assistance
President Trump announced new efforts to combat the economic disruption impacting much the nation’s 30 million small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). To do so, the SBA has relaxed criteria to provide two immediate impacts. Per a release, the relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:
- Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located.
- Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses. SBA disaster assistance loans are typically only available to small businesses within counties identified as disaster areas by a Governor. Under the revised criteria issued today, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.
Governor Cooper has formally requested help from the Small Business Administration and their SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. North Carolina has been under a state of emergency since March 10th. If the Small Business Administration grants the disaster declaration, impacted businesses statewide will be eligible to receive disaster loans to help them pay operating expenses and other financial obligations. The Governor asked for the SBA to apply the award retroactively to make the start date January 31, 2020.