COVID-192020-04-02T19:49:48+00:00

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

Small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We’ve created this resource hub to help you get the most updated news, information, and advice as you navigate this difficult time.

NEWS

FEDERAL SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES

Program Overview

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.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Who Can Apply

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. This means each store location could be eligible.

How to Apply

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,  and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.

Loan Details and Forgiveness

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of .5%.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you.

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

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

How to apply: COVID-19 ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE

Businesses with under 500 employees are required to provide emergency paid sick leave. During COVID-19, employees can use emergency paid sick leave if they are:

  1. observing a federal, state or local isolation/quarantine order
  2. advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
  3. experiencing symptoms and seeking medical care
  4. caring for a family member under a federal/state/local order or medical recommendation to quarantine/isolate
  5. caring for a child whose school or daycare has been closed
  6. experiencing any other substantially similar conditions specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Emergency paid sick leave becomes effective on April 1, 2020 and there is no waiting period for new employees to use it.

Employees taking leave to care for or isolate themselves (i.e. reasons 1, 2, or 3 above) are entitled to 100% of their regular wages up to $511/day

Employees taking leave to care for a family member (i.e. reasons 4, 5, or 6 above) get two thirds of their regular wages up to $200/day.

Full-time employees can take up to 80 hours of leave, whether caring for themselves or for others. Part-time employees can take up to the average number of hours they would work over a two-week period. Employees who make more than the limits listed above can be paid their full wages if the employer is able to cover these costs, but employers will only receive a tax credit up to those limits

If your employees take emergency paid sick leave, you can receive a tax credit up to the limits listed above to cover the wages you paid them. This credit covers 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees, or the average number of hours worked over a two-week period for part-time employees.

The credit will be applied to an employer’s Social Security taxes (this reduces the federal tax payments Gusto makes on your behalf).

  • For time an employee takes to care for or isolate themselves, the credit is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee.
  • For time an employee takes to care for a family member, the credit is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 total per employee.

Employers are required to grant emergency paid sick leave due to COVID-19 starting April 1, 2020.

Contact your payroll service provider for guidance.

EMERGENCY FMLA

Emergency family and medical leave of absence (FMLA) is an amendment to existing FMLA regulations to help employees during COVID-19.

Under the amended FMLA, businesses with under 500 employees are required to provide job protected emergency FMLA leave for employees. Businesses with under 50 employees may be exempted by the Department of Labor from these requirements if the DOL decides that they would jeopardize their business.

Emergency FMLA can be used by employees who are unable to work (or work remotely) while caring for a child under 18 because the child’s school/daycare is closed or unavailable due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

First 10 days are unpaid

New employees qualify for emergency FMLA coverage after 30 days of employment. The first 10 working days taken off are unpaid. They may be covered with accrued paid time off, sick leave, or emergency paid sick leave.

Employees receive two thirds of pay after 10 days unpaid

After the first 10 days, employers must pay employees two thirds of their normal rate of pay up to $200 per day or the aggregate of $10,000. For employees with varying work hours, take the average number of hours they were scheduled to work in the six months prior to the start of their leave (or if a recent hire, then the reasonable average hours expected at the time of hire).

Employees who make more than the amounts listed above can be paid their full wages if the employer is able to cover these costs, but employers will only receive a tax credit up to those amounts.

As with traditional FMLA leave, this leave is job protected and employees are generally entitled to return to their same or equivalent position. However, employers with less than 25 employees are exempt from this requirement if they can show that the position no longer exists due to economic conditions caused by COVID-19, and the employer took reasonable efforts to restore the employee to an equivalent position with equivalent compensation and benefits.

Businesses can receive tax credit for wages paid towards this benefit up to $200 per day and $10,000 total per employee over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit is applied to an employer’s Social Security taxes (this reduces the federal tax payments Gusto makes on your behalf). Credit amounts that exceed social security liabilities will be refunded after the quarter ends.

Employers are required to grant emergency FMLA leave due to COVID-19 starting April 1, 2020.

Contact your payroll service provider for guidance

STATE RESOURCES

This COVID-19 Emergency Relief $75M Loan Fund offers working capital to assist Maryland for-profit small businesses disrupted operations due to COVID-19. Loan assistance is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with its bank, business interruption insurance, and financial partners.

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Loans up to $50,000 (not to exceed three months of cash operating expenses) open to Maryland businesses impacted by the COVID-19 with fewer than 50 employees.
  • 0% for the first 12 months, and 2% for the remaining 36 months.
  • Deferral of any payments for the first 12 months, and straight amortization beginning in the 13th month through the 36th month.
  • Business must be established prior to March 9, 2020 and in good standing.
  • Applicants must have employees on their payroll for whom they have had payroll taxes withheld (i.e. W-2 employees).
  • Two years of historical financial statements and most recent interim statement to benchmark revenue against (if available).
  • Six month pro forma of estimated lost revenue or other documented loss evidence.
  • Minimum personal credit score of 575.
  • No collateral requirements.
  • Eligible uses include: working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.
 
The business must demonstrate financial stress or disrupted operations, which may include but are not limited to:
  • Notices from tenants closing operations and not paying rent caused by loss of income.
  • Notice of inability to pay rent or make loan payments due to reduced sales, suspended operations.
  • Increased cost related to COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • Notice of disrupted supply network leading to shortage of critical inventory or materials.
  • Other circumstances subject to review on a case by case basis.

APPLY

Before applying to this program, please review these Frequently Asked QuestionsClick here to apply.

RESOURCES

CONTACT

For more information about this COVID-19 loan fund, please send an email to the Commerce COVID-19 Assistance Team at fpaaworkflowcoordinator.commerce@maryland.gov.

This COVID-19 Emergency Relief $50M Grant Fund offers working capital to assist Maryland small businesses and nonprofits with disrupted operations due to COVID-19. Grant assistance is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with its bank, business interruption insurance, and financial partners.

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Grants up to $10,000 not to exceed 3 months of cash operating expenses for Maryland businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 with 50 or fewer employees.
  • Must be established prior to March 9, 2020.
  • Business must be in good standing.
  • Applicants must have employees on their payroll for whom they have had payroll taxes withheld (i.e. W-2 employees).
  • Annual Revenues of the business or nonprofit not to exceed $5 million as evidenced by Financial Statement or other financial documentation.
  • Business or nonprofit is expected to seek longer term funding through its bank, SBA, or other source.
  • Eligible uses include: working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.

The business or nonprofit must demonstrate financial stress or disrupted operations, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Notices from tenants closing operations and not paying rent caused by loss of income.
  • Notice of inability to make loan payments due to reduced sales, suspended operations.
  • Increased cost related to COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • Notice of disrupted supply network leading to shortage of critical inventory or materials.
  • Other circumstances subject to review on a case by case basis.

 

APPLY

Before applying to this program, please review these Frequently Asked QuestionsClick here to apply.

RESOURCES

CONTACT

For more information about this COVID-19 grant fund, send an email to the Commerce COVID-19 Team Assistance at fpaaworkflowcoordinator.commerce@maryland.gov.

This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment and other items identified as Critical Needs Items by MEMA and DGS, that are urgently needed by the State of Maryland, Maryland-based hospitals and healthcare facilities, and emergency and first responders.

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • Grants of up to $100,000 will be made available to manufacturers to 1) increase existing capacity to produce these critical need items or 2) quickly pivot operations to produce these critical need items.
  • Grant awards will vary based on the applicant’s total investment.
  • Applicants must be an established Maryland business and demonstrate experience, technical expertise and financial stability to implement the proposed project.
  • Eligible costs include but are not limited to capital expenses such as machinery and equipment, raw materials needed for production, and operating expenses associated with increased production.
  • Funding decisions will be made based on a variety of evaluation criteria, including but not limited to technical capability, operational experience, and the priority purchasing needs of the State of Maryland, with priority given to the product areas of greatest need within the Maryland healthcare system.
  • Funds will be disbursed as follows: 50% at notice of award, with remaining 50% paid upon completion with proof of expenses.
To be eligible an applicant must:
  • Currently be located, and plan to manufacture the products, in Maryland.
  • Be in good standing with the State of Maryland and with OSHA and MOSH regulations.
  • Demonstrate an ability to quickly implement the proposed project in order to meet the urgent needs resulting from the COVID-19 response.
 

Agency / Department: Comptroller of Maryland

Resource: Extended tax deadlines

Details: June 1 extension due date for business returns with due dates during the months of March, April and May 2020 for businesses filing sales and use tax, withholding tax and admissions & amusement tax, as well as alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel excise taxes, tire recycling fee and bay restoration fee returns.

How to apply: No special application needed.

Link: Watch the full announcement

Agency / Department: U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Resource: SBA Disaster Assistance

Details: Currently, businesses in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County are eligible to apply for assistance as part of the Capital Region – visit SBA’s website to apply now. Once the state of Maryland receives official designation, individual businesses can then apply directly to the SBA for loans. We will update this section as we receive more information.

How to apply: Apply for assistance here

Link: https://businessexpress.maryland.gov/coronavirus

Mayor Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia are investing $25 million in the COVID-19 Recovery Effort and the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program, which will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Pursuant to the “COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020” effective March 17, 2020 (D.C. Act 23-247), the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program will offer grants to small, local businesses, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and nonprofits to meet their short-term financial needs. The grant can cover employee wages and benefits (including fringe benefits associated with employment, such as health insurance), accounts payable, fixed costs, inventory, rent, and utilities.

**Application closes at 6:00pm on Tuesday, March 31st**

Click here for details

The District of Columbia has enacted the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which temporarily expands the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) and temporarily expands eligibility for unemployment benefits for employees impacted by COVID-19. The law is effective immediately and is set to expire on June 15, 2020, but it could be extended through further legislation.

Background:

The DCFMLA requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees with 16 weeks of unpaid family leave and 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave during a 24-month period. To be eligible, an employee must:

  • Have been employed by the employer for at least one year without a break in service; and
  • Worked at least 1,000 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the requested leave.

DCFMLA Expanded:

The Act amends the DCFMLA to add a new category of leave called declaration of emergency (DOE) leave.  Unlike with the other types of DCFMLA leave, all employers with employees in the District of Columbia must provide DOE leave. Additionally, all employees who work in the District of Columbia are eligible for DOE leave, regardless of their length of service and number of hours worked during the 12-month period prior to the leave.

DOE Leave:

Employers must provide DOE leave to an employee who is unable to work because:

  • A public health emergency has been declared by the mayor and the Department of Health, any other District or federal agency, or a medical professional has recommended the employee self-quarantine or self-isolate; or
  • The government mandates that the employee be in quarantine or isolation.

The leave may be unpaid, but employees may be entitled to paid leave under the recently enacted federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), once it takes effect. If they aren’t eligible for paid leave under FFCRA, employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits (see below).

Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits Expanded:

The Act expands coverage for unemployment benefits to employees who have become partially or fully unemployed because of a public health emergency, including when:

  • They have been quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other applicable district or federal agency;
  • They have self-quarantined or self-isolated in a manner consistent with the recommendations or guidance of the Department of Health, any other applicable district or federal agency, or a medical professional; or
  • Their employer ceased or reduced operations due to an order or guidance from the mayor or the Department of Health or a reduction in business revenue resulting from the circumstances giving rise to the public health emergency.

In such cases, any otherwise eligible employee may receive unemployment benefits regardless of whether the:

  • Employer has provided a definitive date for the employee’s return to work; or
  • Employee has a reasonable expectation of continued employment with the current employer.

The Act indicates that benefits paid pursuant to this expansion won’t be charged to the experience-rating accounts of employers, and there won’t be a work-search requirement for affected employees.

Compliance Recommendations:

Employers with employees in the District of Columbia should ensure compliance with the DOE leave requirements and provide impacted employees information about expanded unemployment benefits. For details on the Act, go here. Keep in mind that the DCFMLA has existing notice and other requirements that may apply, barring further guidance or rules from the district. For details on the DCFMLA, go here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • Virginia has officially received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
  • Small businesses and non-profits located throughout the state can now apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses.

To submit a loan application for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Corporate, Sales, and Individual Taxes

  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of state sales tax due tomorrow, March 20, 2020 for 30 days.
  • When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.
  • The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020.
  • Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.

More information on deferring payment and how to file can be found here: www.tax.virginia.gov

ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE & RESOURCES

The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

Under this program:

  • The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
  • The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.

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 a 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 Disaster Bridge Loan.

Terms

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America – 15 Days to Slow the Spread

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For updates from CDC, please see the following:

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use the guidance described below and on the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers web page.

Below are recommended strategies for employers to use now. In-depth guidance is available on the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers web page:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from designated countries with risk of community spread of Coronavirus, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter:

  • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it.  See SBA’s capital access resources.
  • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
  • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
  • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
  • Changing Market Demand – Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
  • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
  • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises

SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

  • 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
  • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
  • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

SBA is focused on assisting with the continuity of operations for small business contracting programs and small businesses with federal contracts. For more information on federal contracting, visit https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-guide

More specifically:

  • 8(a) Business Development program serves to help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, and the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate. The 8(a) program offer and acceptance process is available nationwide, and the SBA continues to work with federal agencies to ensure maximum practicable opportunity to small businesses. 8(a) program participants should stay in touch with their Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS).
  • HUBZone program offers eligibility assistance every Thursday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET at 1-202-765-1264; access code 63068189#.  Members of the HUBZone team answer questions to help firms navigate the certification process.  For specific questions regarding an application, please contact the HUBZone Help Desk at hubzone@sba.gov.
  • Women-owned Small Business firms who have questions, please visit www.sba.gov/wosbready or write to wosb@sba.gov.

If a situation occurs that will prevent small businesses with government contracts from successfully performing their contract, they should reach out to their contracting officer and seek to obtain extensions before they receive cure notices or threats of termination. The SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives can assist affected small businesses to engage with their contracting officer. Use the Procurement Center Representative Directory to connect with the representative nearest you.