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.


On May 5th, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 goes into on Friday, May 8 at 5 pm.  

Highlights of Phase 1 include:

  • Any retail business may open at 50 percent capacity. Businesses will be required to practice social distancing, perform frequent cleanings, provide hand sanitizer when available, screen workers for symptoms and more. 
  • People may leave their homes for commercial activity at any business that is open. 
  • Certain businesses remain closed, including bars, personal care businesses, entertainment venues, and gyms. Restaurants may only continue to serve customers for drive-through, take-out and delivery. 
  • Teleworking is still encouraged for businesses that can practice it.
  • Cloth face coverings are recommended when you leave the house and may be near other people who are not family or household members.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) created several materials to help businesses navigate Phase 1, including:

  • NCDHHS Checklist for Business Owners
  • Interim Guidance for Owners, Staff, and Patrons of Businesses 
  • Symptom Screening Checklist
  • Templates to Meet Required Signage

DHHS also previewed a new campaign, Know Your Ws! While North Carolinians should still stay home, if they go out, they should know their Ws: Wear. Wait. Wash.

  • Wear a face covering, 
  • Wait 6 feet apart from other people. 
  • Wash your hands often

A Know Your Ws flyer is available in English and Spanish. More materials will be coming.

Executive Order 138
FAQ about the Executive Order
Presentation from May 5th Press Announcement
Fact Sheet on What’s New in Phase One
FAQ on Cloth Face Coverings
Business Materials

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. Business should be sure to refer to North Carolina state recommendations as well.

Guidance for Restaurants
The NC Restaurant and Lodging Association has provided this guide on best practices and procedures for restaurants preparing to reopen.

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.

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.

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.

RAPID RECOVERY LOANS ($125 million added on 5/4/2020)

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). 

Who is eligible?

  • Applicants must be a North Carolina small business affected by COVID-19 (all 100 NC counties are eligible).
  • Applicants must have at least one (1) employee, who could be the self-employed owner.
  • Start-up businesses that began operations before March 23, 2020 are eligible.
  • Farm businesses
  • Nonprofit organizations are not currently eligible

For information on the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and to apply for a loan visit


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

Find the Manufacturer or Supplier your business needs at 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


N.C. Division of Employment Security
PHONE:  888.737.0259

For Employees - Under the authority of Executive Order No. 118, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security (DES) is working to ensure necessary unemployment insurance benefits are available to eligible North Carolinians whose employment is temporarily affected by the coronavirus disease COVID-19 with several specific “flexible interpretations or waivers” as follows:

  • The one week waiting period for benefits
  • The able to work and available to work requirements
  • The work search requirements
  • The actively seeking work requirements
  • The “lack of work” requirement of the unemployed provisions

For EmployersDES 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.

Specific details, including FAQ’s are available at

NOTE:  The Division of Employment Security is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the new assistance programs. Once we receive the final guidance, benefits should start being paid in about two weeks. Anyone who filed a claim due to COVID-19 before this legislation may still be eligible for these benefits. If any benefits are owed for a week previously claimed, payment will be made retroactively.


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.


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 Treasury Department and IRS today began implementing the Employee Retention Credit included in the CARES package signed into law last week.

The program provides a fully refundable tax credit for 50 percent of wages, up to $10,000, for each employee kept on the payroll by businesses that have taken a financial hit because of the pandemic.

Businesses qualify if they have been fully or partially shuttered by government order, or if their gross receipts are below 50 percent of what they took in during a comparable quarter in 2019. They are no longer eligible once their gross receipts rise above 80 percent of the comparable quarter.

The IRS published guidelines for businesses that want to apply for the credit, which is applied against the employers’ share of payroll taxes.

The agency also issued a notice to shield employers from penalties they may have incurred for failing to deposit employment taxes when tapping a tax credit Congress created to help them cover wages for sick leave and family leave.


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.  This program is designed to help banks assist businesses in need of a loan with the Federal Reserve purchasing a large portion of the loan from the bank, freeing them of most of the risk. Loans originate through the banks. Once a business gets its loan, the Federal Reserve will buy up 95% of the loan from the bank, leaving just 5% with the bank that originated the loan. The term of these loans is four years, and amounts generally range between $1 million and $25 million. These loans cannot be used to pay off any other existing debt the borrower has. The Federal Reserve will be purchasing up to $600 billion in loans. Interest rates on these loans will be anywhere from 2.5% to 4%, with a repayment term of four years. 

The Main Street program requires companies borrowing the funds to make “reasonable efforts” to maintain their payroll and retain their employees during the term of the loan. Borrowers also must commit to not using the funds to repay or refinance preexisting loans and lines of credit.

Please contact your local bank regarding the Main Street Lending Program.  Additional Information can be found here:




On 4/24, President Trump signed the legislation passed by Congress that will $484 billion in funding for COVID-19 related programs.  $310 billion will go to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $60 billion will replenish the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.  Underserved communities also received a boost with special provisions in the legislation that will enable smaller types of businesses to access funding: 

  • $30 billion for banks and credit unions between $10 - $50 billion in assets
  • $30 billion available for banks and credit unions less than $10 billion in assets, as well as community financial institutions.

The legislation includes funding to enable smaller types of businesses to access funding that may not have been obtainable previously. 

The SBA North Carolina District Office has provided a listing of North Carolina-based banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions participating in PPP based on asset-size categories and can be found at this link:

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.


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:

Eligibility - In order to be eligible, you must be a small business (500 employees or less). Eligible businesses include:

  • North Carolina small businesses affected by the disaster - common eligible businesses include retailers, restaurants, recreational facilities, tourism-based businesses, manufacturers, owners of rental property, hotels, and wholesalers
  • Private non-profits
  • Small agriculture cooperatives are eligible, but agricultural enterprises are not
  • Small aquaculture businesses

Criteria for loan approval

  • Credit history – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA
  • Repayment – SBA must determine that the applicant business has the ability to repay the SBA loan
  • Eligibility – The applicant business must be located in a declared disaster area and have suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster

Use of loan funds
These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits or for expansion.

Application amount
You will not be asked how much you would like to borrow. The SBA uses the information you provide to determine the loan amount. Small businesses can receive a secured loan up to $2 million, and an unsecured loan up to $25,000.

Interest rate and term
The interest rates for this disaster at 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profit organizations.

Collateral requirements

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans over $25,000 require collateral
  • SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available
  • SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires borrowers to pledge what is available

Basic filing requirements

  • Completed SBA loan application (SBA Form 5 or 5C)
  • Tax information authorization (IRE Form 4506T) for the applicant and other business principals
  • Complete copies of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return.
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413)
  • Current year-to-date profit and loss statement
  • Monthly sales figures (SBA Form 1368)

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

Up to $10,000 Advance on SBA EIDL
Small business owners and non-profits now have the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To qualify for the Advance on an EIDL, visit to fill out a new, streamlined application. The Advance may be available even if an EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.

To apply for the Advance, businesses need to submit a new application even if they previously submitted an EIDL application. According to SBA, applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow existing applications.

Likely Timelines
SBA is projecting that once a completed application is received, it will take 2-3 weeks to get a “yes or no” decision. If the loan is approved, it will take approximately 7 days to receive the funds. Taken together, it will likely take about a month between submitting a completed application and receiving the loan proceeds.

Application assistance
While the application process may seem daunting, assistance with preparing financial statements and submitting the loan application is available from the SBTDC and other partners.


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.


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.


Economic Development Administration (EDA)
EDA receives $1.5 billion in supplemental funding, directed to the Economic Adjustment Assistance account. The agency also receives surge hiring authority, to allow EDA to properly staff the agency during this crisis; a 2% carve out of the supplemental funds is directed toward ‘salaries and expenses’ to support the surge.

Community Development Fund (CDBG)
CDBG receives $5 billion in supplemental funding. $2 billion will be distributed according to the 2020 allocation formulas within 30 days. $1 billion will be distributed to states to combat the spread of COVID-19 within 45 days, in amounts determined by the Secretary of HUD based on best available data and need. The balance of the supplemental funding will be distributed to states based on a formula determined by the Secretary of HUD using best available data on COVID-19 and associated economic and housing disruptions.

USDA Rural Development (USDA-RD)
USDA-RD receives $145.5 million in funding; $20.5 million for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service that will make $1 billion in lending authority available, $100 million in grants for rural broadband service, $25 million in grants for distance learning and telemedicine.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)
MEP receives $50 million to support MEP centers and waives the statutory cost-match requirement.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
MBDA receives $10 million in grant funding to support technical assistance to minority business development centers and minority chambers of commerce for counseling for minority business on available COVID-19 related resources.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA receives $45.4 billion for response and recovery, including $400 million for grants for fire/ems, emergency management, and food & shelter providers.

Department of the Interior (Interior)
Bureau of Indian Affairs receives $453 million, Bureau of Indian Education receives $69 million, Indian Health Services receives $1.032 billion, Office of Insular Affairs receives $55 million.

Department of Education
Student loan payments will be suspended without penalty through September 30.

REAL ID Deadline
Delay to September 2021 the federally-mandated identification that will be needed for passengers to board aircraft.

National Endowment for the Arts & Humanities (NEA)
NEA receives $150 million in total; $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities; money will be used to assist state arts and humanities agencies and partners.

Hospitals & Health Care Workers
$100 billion has been set aside for hospitals and health systems across the nation and billions more to furnish personal and protective equipment, increased health care workers, training, testing supplies and new construction to house patients. The bill includes Medicare payment increases (20%) for all hospitals and providers treating Medicare patients with coronavirus. Also, temporarily removes a 2% cut for treating Medicare patients.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Signed by President Trump on March 18, this Bill provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. Major provisions are provided below:

COVID-19 Testing

  • Requires private health plans to provide coverage without cost sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing authorized or approved by the FDA as well as the cost of the visit, including a telemedicine visit.
  • Requires Medicare Advantage plans to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and the visit that results in the order for the test without cost sharing.
  • Waives cost sharing for Medicare beneficiaries’ doctor visits to receive or order a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Currently Medicare covers diagnostic laboratory tests with no cost-sharing.
  • Requires Medicaid and CHIP to cover diagnostic testing for COVID-19, including the cost for the provider visit, with no cost sharing. State expenses for the uninsured for diagnostic testing and the associated provider visit would be covered by the federal government through Medicaid.
  • The bill provides $1 billion to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, available until expended, to reimburse providers for diagnostic testing for people who are uninsured.
  • Classifies personal respiratory protective devices for which the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization as “covered countermeasures” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act until October 1, 2024. PREP allows the Department of Health and Human Services to provide liability protections for emergency countermeasure products.
  • Ensures TRICARE beneficiaries, covered veterans, and federal employees are covered for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of the physician visit.
  • Provides the Indian Health Service $64 million to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related services.
  • Each state, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, may receive an emergency federal medical assistance percentage increase of 6.2 percentage points for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. To be eligible, states are required to provide coronavirus testing coverage with no cost sharing to beneficiaries and meet certain other requirements without placing undue burden on states to change their Medicaid operations in the middle of this crisis.

Nutrition Programs

  • $500 million for the special supplemental nutrition program for women infants and children.
  • $400 million for the emergency food assistance program, which helps states and food banks distribute food for low-income people through local agencies.
  • $250 million for nutrition programs for seniors, including home-delivered meals.
  • For fiscal year 2020, allows the secretary of agriculture to approve state plans to provide additional, temporary SNAP benefits to families with eligible children, when their schools close for at least five days in a row during a public health emergency. The amount will be based on the reimbursement value for free or reduced-price meals for each eligible child in the household.
  • $100 million for nutrition assistance grants for Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
  • $15 million for the Internal Revenue Service’s taxpayer services or operations support activities for carrying out this act.
  • Allows the agriculture secretary to grant COVID-19 waivers for certain school meal program requirements, to ensure meals are provided despite school closures. Can waive nutritional content requirements if food supply chains are disrupted. Also allows child and adult food program centers to serve food without requiring participants to gather and eat.
  • Waives federal SNAP work requirements temporarily but maintains work training program requirements. Provides that the three-month SNAP participation limit for people who do not satisfy the work requirement will restart one month after the declared pandemic emergency has been lifted.

Coronavirus Related Leave

  • Sets up a paid sick leave requirement for employers with fewer than 500 employees to give to their employees who have the virus; are in quarantine or caring for someone in quarantine; or are caring for a child under 18 whose school is closed. Full-time workers receive 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time workers receive time equal to the average number of hours they work in each two-week period. Pay is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for employees with the virus or in quarantine. Pay is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for employees caring for someone in quarantine or for a child whose school closed. The required sick leave and family leave are paired with a refundable payroll tax credit to cover these amounts, and the requirement ends December 31.
  • Amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to set up a temporary emergency paid leave program through December 31. Requires private employers with fewer than 500 workers and government employers to provide employees up to 12 workweeks of leave, for those who have worked at least 30 days. Applies if the employee requests leave to take care of a child under 18 whose school or day care facility is closed. The first 10 days may be unpaid but generally would be covered by the emergency sick leave requirement, or the employee could use vacation leave or other eligible paid leave for these days. For the rest of the leave, employees would be entitled to at least two-thirds of their regular pay, up to $200 per day and $10,000 total. Employers will be fully reimbursed for these amounts. Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to reinstate an employee who takes leave if the position no longer exists and the employer tried to put the person in a similar position. Allows the Labor Department to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from this new leave requirement if it would put them in jeopardy.
  • Provides payroll tax credits for employers required to provide emergency paid sick leave or family medical leave under the bill. The emergency paid sick leave credit provides a maximum credit of $511 per day, for up to 10 days or two weeks, for employees on leave because they have the virus or are in quarantine. If the employee is on leave to care for a child whose school or daycare closed, or to care for a person who is in quarantine or seeking medical care, the maximum credit per employee is $200 per day, for up to 10 days or 2 weeks. The payroll credit for family leave applies to leave required to be paid to employees beyond the 10 sick days, but it only covers wages paid to an employee on leave to take care of a child whose school or day care facility is closed. The family leave credit provides a maximum credit of $200 per day, up to $10,000 or 10 weeks. Both credits apply against the employer’s portion of the Social Security tax and cover 100% of wages required to be paid. Both credits are fully refundable.
  • Establishes comparable sick leave and family leave income tax credits for self-employed workers, to cover the same coronavirus-related circumstances, days of leave, and wage amounts as the employer credits. The self-employed tax credits are also 100% refundable.
  • Employers in the U.S. possessions and territories are subject to Social Security tax and therefore will be eligible for the employer tax credits on the same basis as U.S.-based employers. Special rules provide for Treasury to make payments to U.S. possessions and territories to cover the cost of administering comparable sick and family leave credits for the self-employed.
  • Provides the Treasury with broad authority to issue rules and guidance, including to help businesses manage cash flow to meet the sick leave and family leave requirements.
  • Provides that the Social Security Trust Fund and Railroad Retirement Fund are held harmless through a general fund transfer.
  • $1 billion for emergency administration unemployment insurance grants to states. The states will receive half of their funds within 60 days after meeting conditions, such as requiring employers to tell employees about UI benefits when they separate and letting people apply remotely as well as in person. States that see at least a 10% increase in unemployment claims will receive the rest of the funds. States are also given authority to make changes to their regular UI practices considering COVID-19, such as waiving job search requirements and eliminating any waiting period.
  • Provides 100% federal funding, up from 50%, for extended unemployment benefits. These additional weeks of benefits begin when a state has a high unemployment rate and when a recipient has exhausted benefits in his or her state.


President Trump has also invoked the Defense Production Act to help the private sector ramp-up manufacturing and distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Act also provides financial measures, such as loans, loan guarantees, purchases, and purchase commitments, to speed up the production of materials to support defense and homeland security procurement requirements.


Business Link North Carolina (BLNC)

Phone:  800.228.8443

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

Halifax Community College, Small Business Center

Phone:  252-536-7274

N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services: COVID-19 Recommendations for Businesses and Employers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Halifax County Health Department

U.S. Small Business Administration: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce

Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce


NC Community Development Initiative

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

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:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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