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Small Business COVID-19 Guide

To our valued clients:

As together we navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, we know you may have a number of concerns, including your obligations to your employees who may be affected by the coronavirus, as well as questions about what financial resources may be available to you for short- or medium-term capital needs. 

We’ve compiled a resource guide that we hope is helpful. We will continue to monitor the developing situation and add to this guide. If you have questions or if we can be of assistance in any way, please reach out.

Small Business COVID-19 Guide, last updated on March 23:

Federal Resources

Department of Labor COVID-19 website resource page
The DOL has put together a page for employers and workers on the impact of COVID-19.

Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act Q&A
Addresses a variety of questions with respect to hourly employees, exempt employees, telework and the use of volunteers.

Department of Labor Family and Medical Leave Act Q&A
Discusses obligations and responsibilities under, and the applicability of, the Family and Medical Leave Act under a variety of scenarios.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has interim workplace guidance for businesses and employers

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation provides guidance sourced from the CDC in a more visual format

Small Business Association Loan Programs

Through its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, the SBA offers low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million to small businesses experiencing economic injury as the result of the COVID-19. Small businesses in all states are eligible to apply for these loans. 

Businesses can find more information on the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program in connection with COVID-19, including areas where loans are available and how to apply, on the SBA website

The SBA’s existing loan programs (the 7(a), CDC/504 and Microloan programs) also remain available. 

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, which was signed into law on March 6, appropriated $20 million for the Disaster Loan Program. Congress is considering appropriating additional funding for and expanding access to the 7(a) loan program, which is implemented through banks nationwide, but no bill has been passed as of now. 

One Senate bill addressing the 7(a) loan program includes provisions: 

  • Increasing the 7(a) loan program, which includes the Community Advantage Pilot Program, authorization level by $50 billion

  • Allowing any 7(a) borrower to use the proceeds of the loan for payroll support, including paid sick leave

  • Waiving all fees for all 7(a) loans for one year for both lenders and borrowers

  • Providing for a 90% loan guarantee, regardless of the size of the loan 

  • Increasing the loan limit for SBA Express, which provides a revolving line of credit and a 36-hour turnaround time for SBA review, from $350,000 to $1 million 

The bill also removes the requirement that an applicant for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan up to $350,000 be unable to obtain credit elsewhere and enables the SBA to determine repayment ability based solely on the applicant’s credit score. 

UnemploymentBenefits

The federal government has permitted states to amend their unemployment compensation laws to provide benefits related to COVID-19, including benefits when: 

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations because of COVID-19 and employees cannot come to work

  • An employee is quarantined but expects to return to work after the quarantine is over

  • An employee leaves because of a risk of exposure or to care for a family member

In addition, employees need not quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19. This link provides state-by-state resource for unemployment. 

State-Specific Resources

NEW YORK

  1. New York City. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees that experience sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. To be eligible for the Small Business Continuity Fund, businesses must be located within the five boroughs; demonstrate that COVID-19 has caused a 25% decrease in revenue (through supporting financial documentation); employ 99 or fewer employees across all business locations; demonstrate an ability to repay the loan; and have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgements. The city is also offering small businesses with fewer than five employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. 

  2. Suspension of debt collection by the Office of the Attorney General. Sole proprietors and small-business owners who owe debt to the state of New York relating to oil spill cleanup and removal costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed to state agencies, that has been referred to the NY OAG for collection may apply to temporarily halt the collection of state debt

  3. NYS employment protection for employees, including mandatory paid sick leave

  4. NYS has made changes to unemployment insurance, including waiving the seven-day waiting period

  5. Guidance for banks to assist small businesses that are affected. The NY Department of Financial Services issued guidance to encourage New York-regulated banks, credit unions and licensed lenders to consider steps to assist businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, including offering payment accommodations to avoid delinquencies and negative credit agency reporting, waiving overdraft fees, easing credit terms for new loans, waiving late fees, and reaching out to customers to explain and offer assistance. 

  6. NYS relaxes compliance with the Banking Law

NEW JERSEY

  1. Child Care Subsidy Program Amendment to help parents

  2. General FAQ about taxes, business resources and employees

  3. NJEDA is waiving certain specific requirements related to employee presence in the office for the recipients of awards under the following employment-based incentive programs:

    • Grow New Jersey Program (Grow NJ)

    • Urban Transit Hub Program (HUB)

    • Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP)

    • Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program (BRRAG) 

  4. NJ earned-sick-leave benefits for employees in various COVID-19 scenarios

CONNECTICUT

  1.  CT grants tax filing extensions

  2. CT Department of Labor FAQ on unemployment benefits for employers and employees

  3. CT Department of Insurance FAQ on business interruption insurance

  4. DECD’s COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has created a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit dedicated to helping businesses navigate resources and develop new resources. For this purpose, a dedicated phone line has been set up at +1.860.500.2333 to provide assistance to Connecticut’s small businesses.

  5. Banking Commissioner’s Memo on working from home for certain financial services companies

PENNSYLVANIA

  1.  The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development offers guidance and resources for affected businesses. This page provides links to:

    • Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance

    • Industrial Resource Centers

    • PA Small Business Development Centers

    • Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority—offering low-interest loans and lines of credit for eligible businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs and for the development of industrial parks and multitenant facilities 

    • PA Department of Revenue 

    • PA Department of Labor and Industry: includes information specifically about unemployment compensation, resources and loans for businesses, and industry-specific guidance.

    • PA Chamber of Business and Industry: includes information about SBA Disaster Assistance and Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus. This PDF addresses compliance issues, e.g., FMLA, OSHA, ADA.

  2. Bill to help small businesses get zero interest loans

  3. Philadelphia:

    • Business and worker relief. The city and PIDC will launch a relief program aimed at preserving jobs impacted by the spread of COVID-19. This will be a tiered program that aims to provide targeted support for small businesses.

    • In addition, the city’s "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act,"otherwise known as the sick leave law, has been expanded so that covered workers can use their paid sick leave for COVID-19-related business closures and quarantine, and to stay home with their children during school closures without fear of retaliation. 

  4. PA Dept of Labor & Industry info on unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation

  5. PA Restaurant & Lodging Association provides resources and links to information regarding the COVID-19 statewide shutdown for the industry 

  6. Montgomery County offers resources including:

    • County Commerce Department Business Assistance Request Form

    • Information at the county COVID-19 Data Hub

    • COVID-19 Guidance for Employers

    • Participating in the SEPA Regional COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

ILLINOIS

  1.  Gov. Pritzker launches coronavirus.illinois.gov with resources for Illinois residents, small businesses. Not much information yet, but will be updated continually. 

  2. Utility relief. Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois—including energy, telecommunications and water—until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. The administration is also requesting changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren’t saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19. Several companies have announced plans to maintain services and waive late payment fees.

  3. Unemployment FAQ related to COVID-19

CALIFORNIA

  1. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled a list of resources

  2. Employment Development Department

    • Information about payroll taxes—60-day extension

    • Information about filing disability insurance claims and unemployment insurance claims and resources for the self-employed

  3. From the Labor Commissioner’s Office—FAQ about employees

  4. America’s Job Center of California Rapid Response Services. Employers facing potential closures or layoffs can request America’s Job Center of California Rapid Response Services for help in evaluating your business and employee situation. 

  5. San Francisco: The city is launching a Small Business Relief Program that includes: 

    • Deferring business taxes and licensing fees

    • Setting up a Small Business Resiliency Fund for immediate relief

    • Seeking state and federal support around employment benefits, including unemployment, sick leave, disability and other matters

    • Working with private sector financial partners and philanthropic organizations to identify resources, provide credit and lending flexibility, and offer direct financial support

  6. San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Provides resources and updates on the newest developments, including a $10 million Workers and Families First program that will grant private sector workers impacted by COVID-19 an additional week of paid sick leave and a moratorium on commercial evictions for small and medium-sized businesses in San Francisco.

  7. San Francisco. The city is establishing a fund (Small Business Resiliency Fund) to provide immediate relief for impacted small businesses with an initial investment of $1 million that will provide emergency grants of up to $10,000 for microbusinesses that can prove recent loss in revenue. 

  8. San Francisco. San Francisco Launch, working with the Mayor’s Office, provides access to capital and technical assistance through the Revolving Loan Fund, and also provides the Emerging Business Loan Fund, which offers loans of up to $250,000 to qualifying commercial projects. 

  9. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has county-specific resources as well as statewide resources listed here

  10. The city of Oakland’s Finance Department will waive late payment penalties on taxes due March 1, 2020, for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Employers can also apply for a payment plan to decrease the costs. 

  11. The city of Oakland—information on the sick leave law

  12. The city of Oakland. Information about loans, assistance with business taxes and direct technical help for small businesses. Includes national, state and local resources

PRIVATE SECTOR

  1. MainVest is offering a $2,000 zero interest cash infusion to small businesses affected by the shutdown, in tandem with supplying a platform for businesses to receive local investment from their supporting communities. 

  2. JPMorgan Chase is announcing a $50 million package in global humanitarian aid and grants for nonprofits and small businesses. 

  3. Amazon is creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to Seattle small businesses that need assistance. 

  4. Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. 

  5. Capital One, Citi and Wells Fargo have all issued statements indicating they are willing to work with customers that experience financial difficulties. Citi issued a statement that for 30 days, small-business customers are eligible to have their monthly service fees waived. Citi is also waiving the fees on early CD withdrawals. 

  6. Wells Fargo donated $6.25 million in aid to help the public relief effort. The bank also encouraged customers who are experiencing financial hardship to contact customer service for assistance. 

For more information on the business impacts of COVID-19, we encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which we will continue to update as the situation evolves. If you have questions about COVID-19’s impact on your business, please reach out to your Loeb relationship partner, or email us directly at COVID19@loeb.com.