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.
Updated information will be distributed regularly and will be posted to our website at www.halifaxdevelopment.com.
how to register as an essential industry
Please find the following information to submit to NC Emergency Services as an essential industry. We understand there’s been an influx of requests, so please have patience with their response time. Industries should submit this information themselves.
- Point of Contact including:
- Phone number(s)
- Nature of their business and why their operations are critical
- Business website
Click here for a map showing the NC Emergency Management Area Coordinators and their respective regions.
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).
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 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
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 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.
Specific details, including FAQ’s are available at https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information.
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.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
SBA approved North Carolina’s disaster declaration related to COVID-19 on March 18. This means that additional SBA resources will be available to help our small businesses, small aqua-cultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and/or most private nonprofit organizations. Eligible applicants may now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) as a result of the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
A business may begin the application process. Applicants are encouraged to apply online:https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2Fela%2FLoanApplication%2FStartApplication
Basic info on EIDLs:
- 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).
- The Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- 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%.
- 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.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
COVID-19 Update CARES ACT (Coronavirus Stimulus Bill)
(Link to full Legislation https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819206-CARES-ACT-FINAL-TEXT.html)
March 26, 2020 - The Senate unanimously passed the third and largest COVID-19 aid bill—a $2 trillion stimulus package targeted to assist the ailing economy and ease the burden on families and workers. This bill contains several items of interest to community and businesses leaders. Final passage of this bill by the House of Representatives should happen quickly today, sending it on to President Trump for signature. Once the final bill passes, we’ll be sure to provide any final details in scope, but no major changes are anticipated.
These programs and other resources will continue to be updated at the following link: www.halifaxdevelopment.com/component/content/article/135-business-resources-relating-to-covid-19.html
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.
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration is receiving an enormous amount of funding and significant program adjustments to help small businesses weather and survive the crisis. A sample of the numbers includes:
- $349 billion for loan guarantees,
- $675 million for Small Business Administration salaries and expenses,
- $240 million for small business development centers and women’s business centers for technical assistance for businesses,
- $10 billion for emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants,
- $17 billion for loan subsidies,
- $100 billion for secondary market guarantee sales
Programmatic changes appear to be primarily channeled through the 7(a) loan program. Key provisions include:
SBA Paycheck Protection Program
- Creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Helps small businesses, 501(c)(3)’s, 501(c)(19)’s, and 31(b)(2)(c)
- Limited to under 500 employees
- Includes independent contractors, sole proprietors and the self-employed
- Entities must have been operational by 2/15/20; had payroll, paid taxes
- Covered loan period is 2/25/20 through 6/30/20
- Maximum loan amount via 7(a) set to $10 million through 12/31/20
- 100% loan guarantee through 12/31/20
- Eligible expenses include payroll, insurance, rent, mortgage and utilities
- Borrower cannot apply/carry both PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19, but can carry previous, non-COVID-19 EIDL and participate in PPP
- Borrow must good-faith certify that funds are needed for COVID-19 related purposes, the funds will be used to retain workers, and that their request is not duplicative with other SBA funds for the same purpose
- Waives borrower and lender fees
- Waives credit elsewhere requirements
- Waives collateral and personal guarantees
- Sets maximum interest rate of 4%
- No prepayment fees
- Defers payments on PPP loan for 6-12 months
- Delegates authority to all existing 7(a) lenders to expedite approvals/distributions
- Authorizes bank and non-bank lenders to participate in PPP program
- New lenders in program can only participate in PPP and not other 7(a) loans
- Amount spent by borrower in the first 8 weeks from loan origination may be forgiven; amount reduced proportionate to reductions in workforce as compared to previous year; if rehires made during 8 week period, no penalty in reflection of possible layoffs early in the 8 week period
- Allows inclusion of additional money paid to tipped workers
- Anything not forgiven or repaid by 12/31/20 will convert to a max 10 year loan at a max 4% interest rate; loan will remain 100% guaranteed
SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
- Eligibility expanded to include tribal businesses, cooperatives, ESOP’s, individual contractors, sole proprietors, and private non-profits with less than 500 employees
- Waives credit elsewhere requirement for advances and loans below $200,000
- Waives personal guarantee for advances and loans below $200,000
- Waives 1-year-in-business requirement for advances and loans below $200,000
- SBA has greater flexibility in determining borrower eligibility
- Entities eligible to apply for EIDL may request an advance in the form of an emergency grant of up to $10,000
- SBA must distribute EIDL emergency grant within 3 days
- Applicants are not required to repay emergency grant, even if they are ultimately denied EIDL
Other provisions - SBA
- Additional funding provided to Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs)
- Match requirements for WBCs are waived for 3 months
- State Trade Expansion Program funds from FY ‘18 and FY ‘19 will be made available through FY ‘21
- Requires SBA to subsidize 6 months of payments on existing 7(a), 504, or microloans beginning with the next payment.
The stimulus bill offers considerable resources related to unemployment insurance. At present, this section includes final sticking points that are delaying passage of the bill.
- Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for those not traditionally covered by unemployment insurance (UI), including the self-employed, independent contractors, or those with limited work history
- Provides an additional $600 per week in recipients of UI and PUA for up to 4 months
- Provides an additional 13 weeks of UI after state UI expires
- Federal government will cover 100% of the cost of the first week of UI if states waive the 1 week waiting period to begin benefits
- Federal government will reimburse states for 50% of the costs incurred through 12/31/20 of unemployment benefits for state agencies and non-profits
- Federal government will pay 100% for ‘short-time’ programs in states with existing programs in law and 50% of costs for states that begin ‘short-time’ programs during the covered period.
A series of tax credits to ease the burden of keeping staff on payroll.
- Employee retention benefit: 50% refundable payroll tax credit during COVID-19 crisis for businesses that either fully or partially shut down OR have a 50% decrease in receipts versus the same quarter in the previous year and continue to pay employees.
- Based on qualified wages paid to employees during crisis, tied to number of employees (100+ full time employees = wages paid when they are not providing services due to COVID-19 and less than 100 full time employees = wages paid regardless of business closure status)
- Covers up to $10,000 paid per employee, including benefits, for the period 3/13/20-12/31/20
- Payroll tax deferred, payments to be spread over 2 years
- Net operating losses (NOLs) modification: NOLs arising in FY’s ‘18, ‘19, and ‘20 can be carried back 5 years
- AMT credits available as refundable credits through 2021 can be claimed as a refund now
- Allowable deductible interest expenses are increased from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020.
The bill provides massive resources for economic stabilization primarily through the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
- $500 billion for the Treasury Exchange Stabilization fund for loans, loan guarantees and other investments, including: $25 billion for air passenger carriers, $4 billion for air cargo; $17 billion for business important to national security; $454 billion for the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities to eligible businesses, states and municipalities
- Eligible entities must: have no alternative financing available, loans must be secured, loan terms must be less than 5 years, loan cannot be forgiven, no buy backs or dividend payments until the loan is repaid or 1 year from loan origination; must maintain 90% of 3/24/20 workforce until 9/30/20
- Any Federal Reserve lending must be broad-based, verification borrow is not insolvent, no other financing available, and loans cannot be forgiven.
Coronavirus Relief Fund
- An injection of funding for states, tribes and local governments to combat the spread and aftermath of COVID-19
- Provides a $150 billion grant fund for states, to be distributed proportional to population size, with a minimum of $1.25 billion for states with the smallest populations (also mentioned above).
- Funding is for state, local and tribal governments to use in response to COVID-19 crisis.
- Cash payments to U.S. residents
- All U.S. residents with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples will receive a cash rebate of $1,200 (ind) or $2,400 (couples)
- Includes all taxpayers with work-eligible SSN, including those with low or no income
- Rebate amount decreases by $5 with for every $100 over the threshold, with individuals AGI over $99,000 completely phased out, $146,000 for head of household with at least 1 child phased out, and $198,000 for couples phased out.
- An additional $500 will be given for each child per household.
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:
- 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.
- $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.
DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT
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.
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.
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://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/businesses-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