Resources for Businesses to Battle COVID-19

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In the midst of a very serious and life-altering pandemic like COVID-19, it’s important for all people and business owners to understand what resources are available to them. People want to know how they can protect their families, their businesses and their assets in the event of a major economic hit that can come from a world-wide pandemic. Businesses closing, employees unable to work, just to name a few. So, what do we do? Well, here are some resources to get you pointed in the right direction.

SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement today in response to the President’s address to the nation:

“The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions. Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Continue reading here on SBA.gov.

How Do We Help Small Business During COVID-19 Crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic crisis have forced this question into immediate consideration. In many places, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and other types of businesses are being ordered to close or shift, where possible, to takeout and delivery only. Foot traffic is falling everywhere. Small, independent, local, and family-owned businesses are posting social media appeals to encourage people to keep supporting them. Some have already closed their doors, ahead of government orders. At the moment, it seems possible that many small businesses may have to close their doors over the next several weeks. Closures could be temporary; in some cases, they might turn out to be permanent.

National economic discussions often focus on the cash-flow challenges faced by individuals and families. While the much-repeated statistic about American families being unable to cover a $400 emergency expense is not entirely true, it’s nonetheless true that many Americans don’t have a lot of liquidity, especially during a crisis. Hence the calls for stimulus similar to the 2008 financial meltdown.

But as I heard one national policy leader say today: the COVID-19 crisis is showing that many American small businesses have cash-flow issues too and effectively live the equivalent of “paycheck to paycheck.” Sharp declines in consumer demand can easily tip them into the red and, perhaps, failure. While a federal fiscal stimulus for Americans is not a bad idea, it won’t necessarily prompt everyone to go out and spend money at their local barber or hardware store. Social distancing will undermine demand-side stimulus. Continue reading on Forbes.

What Employers Need to Know About H.R. 6201: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 14, 2020, the House of Representatives voted 363-40 to pass H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act—a relief package that, among other things, contains several provisions affecting employers.  The Senate has not yet scheduled a time to vote on the bill, although it is expected that a vote will occur this week.

Check out the summary of the key employment-related aspects of the bill.  Importantly, please note that the bill only applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Further, the below provisions are subject to change by the Senate and can also be affected by specific state and local laws. Continue reading on The National Law Review here.

Do banks have a role to play in SBA’s coronavirus loan program?

President Trump’s plan to equip the Small Business Administration to make $50 billion in low-interest loans to small businesses hurt by the coronavirus outbreak raises the agency’s already high profile in the federal response to the pandemic.

What’s less clear is the role banks and credit unions that dominate the SBA’s 7(a) and 504 lending programs might play. A total of $7 billion authorized last week as part an $8.3 billion emergency spending package, will be distributed through the SBA’s disaster-relief program. Congress is working to hammer out the details of how the $50 billion President Trump announced Wednesday will be allocated.

“Congress is still discussing a role for SBA to play through its lending partners,” said Tony Wilkinson, president and CEO of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. “It’s too soon to know what that might look like, but it could be along the lines of the American Recovery Act.” Continue reading on the American Banker.

Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Guidance for Business & Employers (per CDC guidelines)

We wanted to be straight forward and ensure you had the correct information from the ‘Center for Disease Control’ in terms of their ‘Guidance for Businesses.’ You should use this guidance in your own practice and in advising your own clients in regard to their businesses. Of course, both State and Local Governmental requirements and may supersede these practices, but we cannot provide, nor even summarize, all such state and local mandates. Continue reading on Insightful Accountant.