Business Resources Relating to COVID-19

The Halifax County Economic Development Commission (HCEDC) partners with regional, state and national organizations to provide support to businesses and our economic development efforts. These partners are critical to our community, especially in these uncertain times. This information is provided as an overview of resources available to businesses as we cope with the effects of the COVID-19. Details will be updated regularly as new information is provided.  Please do not hesitate to contact the HCEDC office by calling 252-519-2630 or by email to cathyscott@halifaxdevelopment.com

BUSINESS REOPENING RESOURCES

Executive Order 151 extends Executive Order 141’s Safer At Home Phase 2 measures until at least Aug. 7, 2020.

The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) has created resources and other materials to help businesses navigate the requirements of Executive Order 147.  Please follow the link below for specific assistance for businesses.
https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#businesses

JOB RETENTION GRANT (JRG) PROGRAM – NEW 7-28-2020

The North Carolina Economic Incentive Committee recently approved the Job Retention Grant (JRG) Program. This program, which will be administered by the NC Department of Commerce, will use Coronavirus Relief Funds to assist businesses and certain nonprofits who experienced interruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who did not participate in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the federal Main Street Lending Program, or the NC Rapid Recovery Loan Program.  The full legislative requirements as set forth in Session Law 2020-80 are provided below with major program features highlighted in red. 

General Page for JRG Program   https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/disaster-recovery/job-retention-grant-jrg
Documents you need to pull together before you apply https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/disaster-recovery/job-retention-grant-jrg#before-you-apply
General Questions https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/disaster-recovery/job-retention-grant-jrg/faqs-job-retention-grant#general-questions
Application Form & Link to Sample application   https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/disaster-recovery/job-retention-grant-jrg/application-job-retention-grant-jrg

JOB RETENTION GRANTS

SECTION 4.2B.(a) Purpose, Use. – The purpose of this section is to use funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help businesses in North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing economic support to businesses and nonprofits who experienced business interruption in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and who did not participate in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the federal Main Street Lending Program, or the North Carolina Rapid Recovery Loan Program. The Department of Commerce may use a percentage of the funds allocated in subdivision (51) of Section 3.3 of this act, not to exceed five percent (5%), as necessary for the administration of this program and shall use the remainder of the funds to provide grants awarded by the Economic Investment Committee for the program and purpose provided in this section.

SECTION 4.2B.(b) Job Retention Program. – There is created the COVID-19 Job Retention Program to be administered by the Economic Investment Committee. The Committee may provide a one-time grant to a business or nonprofit that retained jobs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and meets the conditions of this section.

SECTION 4.2B.(c) Eligibility. – A business or nonprofit is eligible for a grant under this Program if it meets all of the following conditions:

  1. It employs at least ninety percent (90%) of the number of full-time employees, or full-time equivalent employees, during the COVID-19 period in North Carolina as it employed in North Carolina for the pay period ending on or about February 28, 2020.
  2. It demonstrates that it experienced an economic loss in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic as follows:
    1. For a business, its sales for the COVID-19 period are at least ten percent (10%) below its sales for the same period in the preceding calendar year.
    2. For a nonprofit, its gross receipts for the COVID-19 period are at least ten percent (10%) below its gross receipts for the same period in the preceding calendar year.
  3. It did not participate in the Paycheck Protection Program, the Main Street Lending Program, or the Rapid Recovery Loan Program.

SECTION 4.2B.(d) Maximum Grant Amount. – The grant amount may be up to two months of the eligible entity’s average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional twenty-five percent (25%) of that amount. The grant amount may not exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000).

SECTION 4.2B.(e) Grant Program Limit. – The total of all funds granted under this Program may not exceed fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000). The Economic Investment Committee must calculate the total amount of grants requested from the applications timely filed House Bill 1023 Session Law 2020-80 Page 11 under subsection (f) of this section. If the total amount of grants requested exceeds the maximum amount of funds available under this subsection, the Committee must reduce each grant award on a proportionate basis. The Committee’s grant determinations based on applications timely filed are final.

SECTION 4.2B.(f) Application. – A business must apply to the Economic Investment Committee for a grant on a form prescribed by the Committee and must include any supporting documentation required by the Committee. The application must be filed with the Committee on or before September 1, 2020. The Committee may not accept late applications.

SBA PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.  SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  Follow this link for additional information, including how to apply for the PPP.  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program#section-header-3

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Key information you need to know:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance

Additional resources can be found below: 

Responding to a COVID-19 Exposure at Your Business
Businesses can download this checklist of what to do if they suspect a COVID-19 exposure has occurred at their facility. The advice is based on CDC recommendations. Businesses should be sure to refer to North Carolina state recommendations as well.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.html

Guidance for Restaurants
The NC Restaurant and Lodging Association has provided this guide on best practices and procedures for restaurants preparing to reopen.
https://ncrla.help/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/NRA-REOPEN_GUIDANCE_CoBranded_NC.pdf

Operation Open Doors Checklist for Retailers
The National Retail Federation has issued a checklist for reopening, encouraging restaurants to work with their legal and financial advisers to adapt recommendations to their specific circumstances.
https://cdn.nrf.com/sites/default/files/2020-04/NRF%20-%20Operation%20Open%20Doors%20-%20Checklist.pdf

NC Retail Merchants Association Website
This website updates regularly to provide industry-specific information for North Carolina retailers managing operations during COVID-19, including webinars, signage to display, details on requirements vs. recommendations and more.
https://www.ncrma.org/coronavirus/

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Website
The FDA’s Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease website has a wealth of information regarding food safety for consumers as well as businesses and workers in farming and in food production, processing, and retail settings.
https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/food-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Business Materials https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#phase-1-easing-of-restrictions

NC RAPID RECOVERY LOANS

The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors has approved $15 million in funding to launch the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program, managed by the NC Rural Center. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will make loans to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan. Participating Rapid Recovery lenders include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital (see attached press release). 

For information on the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and to apply for a loan visit https://ncrapidrecovery.org/.

SUPPLY CHAIN NEEDS

Is your business experiencing supply chain disruptions due to the impact of COVID-19?

Find the Manufacturer or Supplier your business needs at www.manufacturednc.com. This database of suppliers contains every kind of thing produced in NC.  Whether you’re a manufacturer who wants to localize your supply chain or a business searching for packaging suppliers, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here. If you are a NC. manufacturer, please register your business at www.manufacturednc.com.

NORTH CAROLINA EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS RELATING TO COVID-19

N.C. Division of Employment Security www.des.nc.gov
PHONE:  888.737.0259

For Employees – https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information/covid-19-information-individuals

For Employers – DES has been directed to not allocate charges to employers’ accounts for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19. Employers responding to requests for separation information should indicate that the separation was due to COVID-19.  https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information/covid-19-information-employers

NC DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPECIAL PENALTY RELIEF

The N.C. Department of Revenue recently announced that they will extend the April 15 tax filing deadline to July 15 for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes to mirror the announced deadline change from the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to the filing extension, the NCDOR will not charge penalties for those filing and paying their taxes after April 15, as long as they file and pay their tax before the updated July 15 deadline.

FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS TAX RELIEF

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.  

IRS Employee Retention Credit
The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.  Follow this link for qualification information for the Employee Retention Credit. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/employee-retention-credit

FEDERAL RESERVE MAIN STREET LENDING PROGRAM

The Main Street Lending Program is a new loan offering created by the Federal Reserve to help businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and resulting economic downturn. The Main Street Lending Program is not connected to the Small Business Administration.  Additional information regarding this program can be found at https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/monetary20200608a.htm

USDA RURAL RESOURCE GUIDE
https://rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMS

SBA PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)

Link:  www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/resource_files/NC_New_PPP_Lenders_04.24.20.xlsx

In addition to North Carolina-based PPP lenders, the SBA continues to maintain its general listing of lenders.  This listing includes lenders active in SBA lending during the past fiscal year and includes some lenders not based in North Carolina. www.sba.gov/offices/district/nc/charlotte/resources/sba-lenders-serving-north-carolina-small-businesses.

SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)

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

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

SBA EXPRESS BRIDGE LOANS

The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Bridge Loan.

Businesses may apply for up to $25,000. The loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the SBA EIDL loan. To find an Express Bridge Loan Lender, see SBA’s Lender Match Tool or contact the NC SBA District Office.

DEFERMENTS FOR SBA-SERVICED LOANS

To assist borrowers that have been adversely affected by COYID-19-related economic disruptions, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing deferment relief to its existing borrowers on certain SBA-serviced loans (disaster home and business loans and SBA-purchased 504 debentures) through December 31, 2020. For existing SBA borrowers with loans serviced by SBA that were in “regular servicing'” status on March I, 2020, SBA is providing an automatic deferment of principal and interest. For additional details, see the SBA Procedural Notice.

OTHER RESOURCES

Business Link North Carolina (BLNC)

Phone:  800.228.8443    www.edpnc.com/start-or-grow-a-business/start-a-business/

BLNC staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.  BLNC staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance.  All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days. 

NC Manufacturing Extension Partnership COVID-19 Resources   https://www.ncmep.org/covid-19-update/

Halifax Community College, Small Business Center

Phone:  252-536-7274       http://www.halifaxcc.edu/SBC/

N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services: COVID-19 Recommendations for Businesses and Employers https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/information/business/businesses-and-employers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html

Halifax County Health Department https://www.halifaxnc.com/182/Health-Department

U.S. Small Business Administration: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce   www.lakegastonchamber.com

Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau  www.visithalifax.com

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce  www.rvchamber.com

OTHER FUNDING RESOURCES

NC Community Development Initiative www.ncinitiative.org

Facebook Small Business Grants Program www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

For additional information, please contact: 
Cathy A. Scott, Executive Director
Halifax County Economic Development Commission
260 Premier Boulevard – Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone:  252-519-2630   Email:  cathyscott@halifaxdevelopment.com
Website:  www.halifaxdevelopment.com