COVID-19
Small Business Resource

The coronavirus has quickly spread into a global pandemic. Governments have taken drastic measures to encourage social distancing. Along with anxieties about contracting and spreading disease, millions of people who were already struggling or living paycheck-to-paycheck face new uncertainties about their financial security. Many organizations and governments have responded with resources and services to help individuals, small businesses and institutions cope with these challenges. Here is some information about how and where to obtain these resources. 

This resource was developed with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 

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Resources

(Download PDF)

Workplace Hygiene Practices

  • Think about how you can best reiterate and enforce the CDC’s guidelines for proper, frequent personal hygiene practices.
  • Assess your businesses’ current cleaning and sanitation practices against the CDC’s released recommendations.
  • Understand state and federal regulations.

Social Distancing

Consider how your current work space can be reconfigured to encourage social distancing.

Business Needs

  • What does my business need right now to survive?
  • What employee concerns about workplace health will I need to address?
  • What will my customers needs and demands be now and in the future?

Health Monitoring

  • Develop a plan for monitoring your employee’s health, with a particular focus on COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Determine how you will handle if an employee tests positive.
  • Reiterate your sick and paid time off policies to employees.

Security

  • If you plan to arrange remote work long-term, cybersecurity will need to be a top priority.
    • Consider the technical infrastructure needed to secure sensitive information.
  • Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN) access.

Financing

(Download PDF)

Engineering controls

Create a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan. Start by reviewing the CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.

  • Evaluate the building and its mechanical and life safety systems to determine if the building is ready for occupancy. Check for hazards associated with prolonged facility shutdown such as mold growth or issues with stagnant water systems, and take appropriate remedial actions.
  • Modify or adjust seats, furniture and workstationsto maintain social distancing of feet between employees, where possible.
    • Install transparent shields or other physical barriers where possible to separate employees and visitors where social distancing is not an option.
    • Arrange chairs in reception or other communal seating areas by turning, draping (covering chair with tape or fabric so seats cannot be used), spacing or removing chairs to maintain social distancing.
  • Use methods to physically separate employees in all areas of the building, including work areas and other areas such as meeting rooms, break rooms, parking lots, entrance and exit areas and locker rooms.
    • Use signs, tape marks or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to show where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
    • Replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items. Encourage staff to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains or consider installing no-touch activation methods for water fountains.
  • Consider taking steps to improve ventilation in the building, in consultation with an HVAC professional, based on local environmental conditions (temperature/humidity) and ongoing community transmission in the area:
    • Increase the percentage of outdoor air.
    • Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
    • Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
    • Consider using natural ventilation to increase outdoor air dilution of indoor air when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
    • Consider using portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to help enhance air cleaning (especially in higher-risk areas).
    • Ensure exhaust fans in restroom facilities are functional and operating at full capacity when the building is occupied.
  • Consider using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a supplemental technique to inactivate potential airborne virus in the upper-room air of common occupied spaces, in accordance with industry guidelines.

Administrative controls:

  • Encourage employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 to notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptoms and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter the work site.
  • Stagger shifts, start times and break times as feasible to reduce the number of employees in common areas such as screening areas, break rooms and locker rooms.
  • Consider posting signs in parking areas and entrances that ask guests and visitors to phone from their cars to inform the administration or security when they reach the facility.
  • Clean and disinfecthigh-touch surfaces.
  • Read more about office safety during COVID-19.

Safety Precautions for Stores

All employees and staff should always be wearing masks. Workers should avoid touching their faces, including their eyes, noses and mouths.

Engineering Controls

  • As appropriate, such as at customer service windows and, if feasible, cash register lanes, use physical barriers to separate retail workers from members of the public.
  • Use rope-and-stanchion systems to keep customers from queueing or congregating near work areas. For example, provide a waiting area for customers that is separated by at least 6 feet from a cash register workstation. Signage that instructs individuals waiting in line to remain 6 feet back from work areas may bolster the effectiveness of this engineering control.

Administrative Controls

  • Whenever possible, direct customers to self-checkout kiosks to minimize worker interaction with customers.
  • Establish protocols and provide supplies to disinfect all frequently-touched surfaces in workspaces and public-facing areas, such as points of sale.
  • Take steps to discourage customers from queueing at customer service lanes, cash register lanes or other areas within the retail environment.
  • Consider restricting the number of customers allowed inside the facility at any point in time. Some stores have implemented this by specifying hours dedicated to vulnerable populations (elderly people, people with underlying health conditions, etc.).
  • Employers may be able to reduce crowding in retail environments by extending store hours, particularly in critical retail environments like grocery stores and pharmacies, but should consider overall additional exposures to employees who must work extra shifts and take steps to mitigate that increased exposure risk.
    • When developing staff schedules, consider options for additional short breaks to increase the frequency with which staff can wash hands with soap and water. Alternatively, consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol so that workers can frequently sanitize their hands.
    • Employers should consider options for increasing in-store pickup or delivery to minimize the number of customers shopping in store facilities.
  • Click here to read more about store safety during COVID-19.

Safety Precautions for Restaurants

Continue to follow established food safety protocols and best practices for retail food establishments and important COVID-19 recommendations, including the following:

  • Wash, rinse and sanitize food contact surfaces dishware, utensils, food preparation surfaces and beverage equipment after use.
  • Frequently disinfect surfaces repeatedly touched by employees or customers such as doorknobs, equipment handles, check-out counters and grocery cart handles, etc.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect floors, counters and other facility access areas using EPA-registered disinfectants.
  • When changing your normal food preparation procedures, service, delivery functions or making staffing changes, apply procedures that ensure:
    • Cooked foods reach the proper internal temperatures prior to service or cooling.
    • Hot foods are cooled rapidly for later use – check temperatures of foods being cooled in refrigerators or by rapid cooling techniques such as ice baths and cooling wands.
    • The time foods being stored, displayed or delivered are held in the danger zone (between 41°F and 135°F) is minimized.
    • Proper training for food employees with new or altered duties and that they apply the training according to established procedures.
  • Help customers maintain good infection control and social distancing by:
    • a. Discontinuing operations, such as salad bars, buffets and beverage service stations that require customers to use common utensils or dispensers.
    • Finding ways to encourage spacing between customers while in line for service or check out in accordance with the applicable state or local requirements.
  • Discourage customers from bringing pets — except service animals — into stores or waiting areas.
  • Continue to use sanitizers and disinfectants for their designed purposes.
  • Verify that your ware-washing machines are operating at the required wash and rinse temperatures and with the appropriate detergents and sanitizers.
  • Remember that hot water can be used in place of chemicals to sanitize equipment and utensils in manual ware-washing machines.

Managing Food Pick-Up and Delivery

  • Observe established food safety practices for time/temp control, preventing cross contamination, cleaning hands, no sick workers and storage of food, etc.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as counter tops and touch pads and within the vehicle, by wiping down surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Establish designated pick-up zones for customers to help maintain social distancing.
  • Practice social distancing when delivering food, e.g., offering “no touch” deliveries and sending text alerts or calling when deliveries have arrived.
  • Conduct an evaluation of your facility to identify and apply operational changes to maintain social distancing if offering take-out/carry-out option by maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, when possible.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold by storing in appropriate transport vessels.
  • Keep foods separated to avoid cross contamination, e.g., keeping raw foods separated from cooked and ready-to-eat foods, proper packaging.
  • Routinely clean and sanitize coolers and insulated bags used to deliver foods.
  • Click here to read more about restaurant safety during COVID-19

(Download PDF)

What is it?

Refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50% of qualified wages that employers pay to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.

Qualified Wages

  • Depends on how many employees an eligible employer has.
  • If an employer averaged more than 100 full-time employees during 2019, qualified wages in 2020 are the wages including certain health care costs (up to $10,000 per employee) paid to employees that are not provided with services because operations were suspended or due to the decline in gross receipts. These employers can only count wages up to the amount that the employee would have been paid for working an equivalent duration during the 30 days immediately preceding the period of economic hardship.

Impact of Other Credit and Relief Provisions

  • If an employer receives a Small Business Interruption Loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, authorized under the CARES Act, then the employer is not eligible for the Employee Retention Credit.
  • Wages for this credit do not include wages for which the employer received a tax credit for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Wages counted for this credit can’t be counted for the credit for paid family and medical leave under section 45S of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Employees are not counted for this credit if the employer is allowed a Work Opportunity Tax Credit under section 51 of the Internal Revenue Code for the employee.

Eligibility

  • Tax-exempt organizations, are eligible for the credit if they operate a trade or business during calendar year 2020 and experience either:
    • the full or partial suspension of the operation of their trade or
    • business during any calendar quarter because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel or group meetings due to COVID-19, or a significant decline in gross receipts.

Claiming the credit

  • Eligible employers will report their total qualified wages and the related health insurance costs for each quarter on their quarterly employment tax returns, which will be Form 941 for most employers, beginning with the second quarter.
    • The credit is taken against the employer’s share of social security tax but the excess is refundable under normal procedures.
    • Eligible employers can also request an advance of the Employee Retention Credit by submitting Form 7200.

(Download PDF)

Basic Requirements

  • Register for a Dun and Bradstreet Number (DUN)
  • Match your products and services to North American Industry Classification Code (NAICS)
  • Meet size requirements set by the SBA to be eligible for government contracts reserved for small businesses and compete for contracts
    • check if your small business meets the size standard
  • Register your business in the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM)
  • Review laws and regulations

Contracts

Governing Rules and Responsibilites

Important Elements of a Government Contract

  • Specifications: As a contractor, you must deliver the product or service as described in the specifications. If you don’t, the government may terminate your contract.
  • Inspection and Testing: You’re responsible for controlling the quality of the products and services you deliver to the government.
  • Contract Changes: The contracting officer may change the specifications and other contract terms. The changes must be “within the general scope of the contract.” You must fulfill the contract as changed by the contracting officer.
  • Termination: If you don’t meet your contractual obligations, the government may terminate — or cancel — the contract for default.
  • Payments: Your contract will specify the government office responsible for payment and will contain invoicing instructions. The more accurate your invoices, the more quickly you’ll be paid.
    • Fix-priced systems: method of payment can vary with the dollar value of the contract.
    • Larger contracts: can receive payments for partial deliveries.
    • For larger fixed-price contracts and subcontracts: payments based on costs incurred as work progresses.

Subcontracting Limitations

  • The limitations apply to contract set-asides for small businesses when the contract amount exceeds $150,000, and all other set-aside contracts are under the 8(a), HUBZone, service-disabled, veteran-owned or women-owned small business programs.
    • Service contracts: The small business prime contractor must provide at least 50% of the contract cost for personnel.
    • Supply contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform work for at least 50% of the cost of manufacturing the supplies, not including the cost of materials, unless the business qualifies as a non-manufacturer.
    • General construction contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform at least 15% of the cost of the contract with its own employees, not including the cost of materials.
    • Specialty construction contracts: The small business prime contractor must perform at least 25% of the cost of the contract with its own employees, not including the cost of materials.
    • Under the HUBZone, women’s contracting or disabled veterans’ programs, the small business prime contractor can utilize similarly situated subcontractors to meet these performance requirements.
    • There are higher performance requirements for construction contracts.
  • The prime contractor’s limitations on subcontracting are explained in detail in 13 CFR 125.6.

(Download PDF)

Types of 7(a) Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loans. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may vary by the type of loan.

  • Standard 7(a)
  • 7(a) Small Loan
  • Export Express
  • SBA Express
  • International Trade
  • Export Working Capitol

Coronavirus Relief Options

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

This loan is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) LOAN FORGIVENESS
  • Eligibility: 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 60% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).
  • Characteristics
    • PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
    • Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.
    • Loan payments will 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.
    • Will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
  • Process of Loan Forgiveness and Requirements
    • Borrower will fill out a loan forgiveness application and submit it to the lender.
    • The lender has up to 60 days to review the application, make a decision and relay that decision to the SBA.
    • The SBA has up to 90 days to review the application and approve or reject the application. The lender will then be notified of the decision to relay back to the borrower.
  • Items must be provided to apply
    • Documentation verifying the number on payroll and rates – IRS payroll tax filings, unemployment insurance filings.
    • Documentation verifying payments on the amount being covered for mortgage obligations was used in accordance with the lease obligations, and utilities.
    • Certification from employees on authorized business representative.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) POLICY UPDATE WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7, 2020
  • The extension of the deferral period under the Flexibility Act automatically applies to all PPP loans. Lenders are required to give immediate effect to the statutory extension and should notify borrowers of the change to the deferral period.
    • To keep yourself up to date with policies, click here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

  • This loan provides economic relief to small business and non-profit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.
  • Collateral requirements:
    • Required for loans over $25,000, SBA uses a general security agreement (UCC) designating business assets as collateral, e.g. machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, etc.
  • Terms:
    • 3.75% for businesses (fixed)
    • 2.75% for nonprofits (fixed)
    • 30 years
    • No pre-payment penalty or fees

SBA Express Bridge Loans

  • Enables small businesses who currently have a small business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access $25,000.
  • Terms include fast turnaround and will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan.

SBA Debt Relief

  • The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504 and Microloans in regular servicing status, as well as new 7(a), 504 and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.
  • This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans.
  • Applying for SBA Relief: Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided as follows:
    • Loans not on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
    • Loans currently on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due after the deferment period has ended, and will make six monthly payments.
    • Loans made after March 27, 2020, and fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020, SBA will begin making payments with the first payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
  • Additional Resources:

(Download PDF)

Daily

Check cash positions

Weekly

  • Record transactions
  • Document and file receipts
  • Review unpaid bills from vendors
  • Pay vendors, sign checks
  • Prepare and send invoices
  • Review projected cash flow

Quarterly

  • Prepare revised annual profit and loss estimate
  • Review quarterly payroll reports and make payments
  • Review sales tax and make quarterly payments
  • Compute estimated income tax and make payments

Monthly

  • Balance your business checkbook
  • Review past due receivables
  • Analyze inventory status
  • Process or review payroll and approve tax payments
  • Review actual profit and loss vs. budget vs. prior years
    • actual profit: how much revenue has been generated
    • budget: estimate of revenues and expenses
  • Review month end-balance sheet vs. prior period

Annually

  • Review past-due receivables
  • Review your inventory
  • Fill out IRS forms W-2 and 1099-MISC
  • Review and approve full-year financial reports and tax returns

Read More

A Steely National Resolve Is Needed to Achieve an Equitable Recovery

Rebuilding vulnerable communities reeling from the economic ravages of COVID-19 pandemic will require a heightened public-private partnership—one defined not just by resolute individual and entrepreneurial initiative, social enterprise, and nonprofit capacity-building, but also by thoughtful and visionary public policy re-envisioned with these communities in mind. 

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New PPP, Economic Injury Disaster Funding Now Open for Business

The new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portal opened January 11, 2021 for new and certain existing PPP borrowers. The new rules from the Small Business Administration (SBA) on both PPP and the targeted Economic Injury Disaster Grant (EIDL) aim to correct some of the lending discrimination uncovered in the first round.

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Billionaires need to pay their fair share

The wealth gap between rich and poor Americans has more than doubled since 1989. The top 1% own more wealth than the entire bottom 90% combined. In the midst of the global pandemic, some of the nation’s super rich have doubled or even tripled their net worth.

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Pandemic stimulus a necessary stopgap, but more work needs to be done for a just recovery

The package represents a down payment for a just recovery that will prevent evictions, protect small businesses and provide additional direct payments to millions of families facing continued financial distress as a result of this global pandemic and economic crisis. The package also provides additional funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), lenders who can put capital to work in low-income communities and communities of color when and where they need it most.

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Change is on the way, but it won’t be easy

Donald Trump’s victory four years ago was unimaginable to many, and an emotional blow that only got worse over time. Until now. The post election drama is mostly over. The Electoral College is done. We finally know: Joe Biden will be the 46th president, and Kamala Harris will be many firsts as vice president: Black, South Asian, woman, mom.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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