PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

COVID-19 Small Business Resources: Protecting Your Business in the Coronavirus Economy

By at 30 March, 2020, 8:55 am

UPDATED April 3, 2020

By Karen Kerrigan-

The effects of the coronavirus have hit small businesses more painfully. Governments have placed restrictions on business activity and public mobility. Plunging small business revenues are taking their toll on jobs and small business viability. Let’s hope that containment strategies will make this a short-term crisis, and we can all get back to business “as usual.”

Until that time arrives, I’ve put together resources for small business owners. This page, which will be updated frequently if not daily, includes advice from business experts, important information from key government agencies (like the Center for Disease Control – CDC, SBA, IRS/U.S. Treasury and DOL), resources from our trusted allies, and coronavirus response legislation – the CARES Act – which has been signed into law.

There is massive uncertainty regarding the full impact of the coronavirus and how long economic activity will be on lock down, but we know small businesses are resilient and innovative.

Business owners can play a key role in encouraging calm by communicating with employees and customers about what they are doing to ensure products and services are being delivered in a well-thought-out and hygienic manner, and what owners are doing in their own “small” way to contain the virus’s spread and keep workers healthy and safe. The cumulative actions of millions of small businesses can have a massive impact on helping the virus to pass.

Feel free to share resources, articles of interest, or tips that we can include on this page. Please send them to info@sbecouncil.org.

 

CARES Act Implementation: SBA’s “Paycheck Protection Program” Applications Will Begin April 3

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed by President Trump on March 27.  (The full text of the legislation is here.)

The U.S. Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) have launched “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP) and CARES Act webpages, which include information for borrowers, lenders and a sample application form that small businesses will use once SBA-approved 7(a) lenders begin taking applications on April 3 (according to the U.S. Treasury).

See the SBA’s PPP page here, and the U.S. Treasury’s CARES Act page here.

The SBA also launched a new guidance page here.

According to the U.S. Treasury: “Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. We encourage you to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.”

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

ABOUT CARES ACT: Eligibility and “the rules.” For a top-line overview of the program provided by U.S. Treasury, please click CLICK HERE

SMALL BUSINESS BORROWERS: If you’re a borrower, more information from U.S. Treasury can be found HERE. This link is helpful in filling out your PPP application, determining eligibility, etc.

NEW  -“Final” Guidance and Rules: As expected, U.S. Treasury released Interim “Final” Rules on the CARES Act “Paycheck Protection Program” (PPP).  SBE Council has reviewed the rules which can accessed here, and will have forthcoming comments and analysis on them.

NEW– Borrower Application: This is Final borrower form for PPP loans (which is submitted to a PPP participating lender participating).

NEW – Final Lender Application: Here is the final application form that lenders use for each borrower.

CARES Act: What’s in it for Small Businesses, the Self-Employed and Gig Workers

In this update, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan covers small-business related provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which President Trump signed on March 27.  Key details and links are provided covering the new SBA 7(a) loan Paycheck Protection Program, positive changes to the “economic injury” disaster loan program, and tax relief and reform changes.

Read the Update here.

 

NEW: The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

From the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, United States Senate

To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that will soon be available to them, the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has created a comprehensive guide to many of the small business provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These programs and initiatives are intended to assist business owners with the needs they have right now.

When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local SBA District Office, which you can locate here.

See the Guide here.

FAQ’s on COVID-19 SBA Loans

The Committee also created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on SBA loans related to the CARES Act and COVID-19. The document focuses largely on the new SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, as well as issues related to Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLS) and converting these into PPP loans. Read the FAQ here.

 

Webinar Rewind: What’s in the CARES Act?

The Small Business Roundtable and its members, including SBE Council, hosted a webinar on March 27 with the SBA, U.S. Senate staff and small business leaders (including SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan) who dissected parts of the CARES Act. More than 8,000 small businesses registered for the event, so we reached capacity! If you weren’t able to tune in here’s the recorded version, which is definitely worth listening to or watching.

 

UPDATED: SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans

ALL U.S. STATES And TERRITORIES  HAVE BEEN GRANTED EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

●  Eligible recipients include tribal businesses, cooperatives, and ESOPs with fewer than 500 employees or any individual operating as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor during the covered period (January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020).

● Requires that for any SBA EIDL loans made in response to COVID-19 before December 31, 2020, the SBA shall waive any personal guarantee on advances and loans below $200,000, the requirement that an applicant needs to have been in business for the 1-year period before the disaster. The credit elsewhere requirement is also waived.

●  During the covered period, allows SBA to approve and offer EIDL loans based solely on an applicant’s credit score, or use an alternative appropriate alternative method for determining applicant’s ability to repay.

● These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

● Establishes an Emergency Grant to allow an eligible entity who has applied for an EIDL loan due to COVID-19 to request an advance on that loan, of not more than $10,000, which the SBA must distribute within 3 days.

● SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

● Apply for a loan here.

● For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail).

 

 

Federal Government Guidance on COVID-19 Related Paid Leave and Tax Credits

SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan has reviewed guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) related to the temporary paid leave mandate and the tax credits provided by the “Phase II” Coronavirus response legislation.

In this blog post, she highlights key parts of the guidance. Links to the FULL guidance are provided. There is good news with regard to the tax credits, as well as a 30-day non-enforcement period, which is helpful given the fact that the “Phase III” coronavirus response package is expected to have measures to help small businesses with the costs of paid leave and perhaps additional authority provided to the Secretary of DOL to help small businesses with this new burden.

 

U.S. Treasury/IRS Guidance on April 15 Tax Deferral, and Filing Deadline Extension

On March 18, the Treasury Department provided further guidance on their work to allow taxpayers to defer tax payments due to the coronavirus.

●  Who qualifies? Any individual who owes less than $1 million or corporation that owes less than $10 million.

●  The relief will be automatically provided to taxpayers. No additional forms are required to be filed.

● On March 20, it was announced that the filing deadline for tax returns has been extended to July 15, 2020 for those who need it. (We expect guidance on this from U.S. Treasury in the near future.)

 

Details: All eligible taxpayers qualify for a deferral of their tax payment until July 15, 2020 with no penalties or interest. This relief includes estimated quarterly tax payments due April 15. For individual taxpayers who are unable to file by the April 15 deadline, they remain eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return. For taxpayers that expect to receive a refund, the IRS encourages filing as soon as possible. The sooner those taxpayers file, the sooner they can receive their refunds.

 

How to Help – Companies With Medical Supplies, Equipment and Services

● To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.

● If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide details on what you are offering.

● If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.

● If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact your state Department of Public Health and/or Emergency Management.

● For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit Industry Liaison Program.

 

Kabbage Online Hub to Boost Small Business Sales – Gift Certificate Tool for Small Businesses

U.S. small businesses can sign up free here to immediately seek financial support through gift certificate purchases from individuals throughout the U.S.

Kabbage will provide businesses a unique URL to easily share their personalized page with customers via text, email, web, social media or print. Consumers can purchase multiple certificates for any amount between $15 and $500.

Once certificates are purchased, small businesses will get an immediate notification and can use free technology offered by Kabbage to scan, verify, track and fulfill gift certificates when redeemed. (Kabbage will not financially benefit from this service.)

 

The Small Business Coronavirus Checklist, Barry Moltz, Your Business Unstuck

Barry Moltz, who helps get businesses unstuck, has put together a terrific checklist for small business owners. As he notes in a blog post that reviews the checklist: “The “Corona Economy” is changing every small business in America. Now is the time for every company to evaluate how they will be affected by the new coronavirus normal. This is what I have been reviewing with customers. Take an hour to brainstorm with your team on each of these or contact me for help through this turbulent time!”

The checklist centers on three critical areas:

● Your employees

● Your customers

● Your suppliers

SBE Council agrees with Barry:  You can get through this! As he concludes in his post, “We have been through the dot com bubble, the Great Recession and Swine Flu. We will get through this.”  Not to mention 9-11, Superstorm Sandy and other transformative events.

 

Communicating with Customers and Clients

Effective communication and engagement with customers are differentiators in a competitive economy. This is especially important now.  If you want customers to keep purchasing from your business during this time of uncertainty, and to maintain their loyalty for the long-term, you need to tell them what you and your business are doing to keep your workplace and employees free from the coronavirus to prevent infection through their interaction and/or transactions in your business, or with your workers. Over the past week or so, I have received communications from many companies I do business with – small, medium and large – about how they are responding to the coronavirus. The messages are reassuring, and if you have not done so already and if appropriate in terms of similar actions you may be taking within your business, you can use the content or themes of these messages as a template for your emails to customers and/or social media postings. Click on the company logos below to read how these companies are communicating with their customers.  (To read or share this tip online in blog post form, click here.)

 

Platform Tools: Facebook’s Resource Hub

Tools across the platform economy and provided by internet platforms can help small businesses navigate the “coronavirus economy.” Facebook’s Resource Hub includes tools, tips and helpful information that can help your small business communicate and operate during this challenging period.

 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Small Business Administration Will Provide Disaster Assistance Loans (link)

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Further resources can be found in the attached document as well as on SBA’s website: www.SBA.gov/coronavirus and www.SBA.gov/disaster.

DOL Announces New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities (link)

Today DOL announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Information for Businesses from the CDC and other Federal Government Agencies:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Information for Communities, Schools, and Businesses

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations – Community Facilities

DOL: OHSA Resources for Workers and Employers on COVID-19

DOL: Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus

WHO: Get Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19

CISA: Risk Management for COVID-19

EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19   PDF

 

Information for Families and Households:

Information on COVID-19 for Pregnant Women and Children

Interim Guidance for Household Readiness

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households

Guidance for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Homes and Residential Communities

FAQ: COVID-19 and Children

EPA: Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19    PDF

 

What you should know:

How COVID-19 Spreads

Symptoms

Prevention & Treatment

Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19

Stigma Related to COVID-19

What You Need to Know

What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19

Facts about COVID-19

Information for People at Higher Risk and Special Populations

Communication Resources

 

Situation Updates:

Situation Summary

Cases in the U.S.

Global Locations with COVID-19

Risk Assessment

CDC in Action: Preparing Communities

Karen Kerrigan is president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. 

 

News and Media Releases