COVID 19 Business Response

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Updated April 3, 2020

We encourage you to check this page for updates.

We are on the calls with your legislators asking the questions that you need answers to. Make sure to communicate your needs to us so we can #BeYourVoice.

If you have a specific need or question, please reach out to help@lvchamber.org and we will do our best to find a solution.

Resources and Updates for Businesses
Some loan and relief resources have multiple agencies offering breakdowns.

Paid Family Leave

U.S. Department of Labor provided additional guidance for employers on offering paid leave to their employees.

Small Business Relief 
Small Business Guide to the CARES Act (House Small Business Committee)
Guide to SBA Emergency Disaster Loans (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Guide to SBA Emergency Disaster Loans (Small Business Administration version)
Guide to Employee Retention Tax Credit (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Emergency Loan Guide for Small Businesses ( UPDATED U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Interactive Map Aid Available by State (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Small Business Guidance (U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship)
Paycheck Protection Program
Applications accepted beginning April 3 (small businesses/sole proprietorships) and April 10 (self-employed/ independent contractors)
Find Eligible Lenders for the PPP (Small Business Administration)
Workforce Resource Line for Job Seekers and Employers
PA CareerLink has opened a workforce resource line for job seekers and employers. Customer service reps are ready to help when you call 215-948-4112. Download details here . It is important to note that individuals with unemployment-related questions should NOT call this number. Instead, you should reach out to UC at 1-888-313-7284 or uchelp@pa.gov . You can also visit uc.pa.gov.

Beware of Grant Scams and Fraud Schemes

The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times.  Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.
Scam and Fraud Scheme Advisory List  
  1. The SBA does not initiate contact on either 7(a) or Disaster loans. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
  2. The SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. The SBA provides guarantees to lenders to encourage them to make loans to small businesses. If you are contacted via social media about an SBA grant program for small businesses, suspect fraud.
  3. If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
  4. Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain your personally identifiable information (PII) to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.
  5. If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number.
  6. The SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower to 3% for loans $50,000 or less and 2% for loans $50,000 to $1,000,000 with an additional .25% on amounts over $1,000,000. Any attempt to charge more than these fees is inappropriate.
  7. Any email communication from the SBA will come from accounts ending with gov.
  8. The presence of an SBA logo on a webpage does not guaranty the information is accurate or endorsed by the SBA. Please cross-reference any information you receive with information available at sba.gov.
  9. If you have a question about getting an SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  10. If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call the SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to answerdesk@sba.gov.
Report Fraud
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at, https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline .

COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program

Currently, this program is not able to receive any additional applications. We will update you if opportunities reopen. Lebanon County submitted 18 applications for a total request of $1,411,319.

Unemployment Questions and Answers 

Possible Funding Opportunities for Dislocated Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of up to $100 million for Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) to help address the workforce-related impacts of COVID. The South Central Workforce Investment Board, which serves as the PA CareerLink’s fiscal agent, is coordinating with partners at the PA Department of Labor & Industry about how these funds can be accessed as quickly as possible. I imagine we’ll learn more about additional funding opportunities/availability as Congress finalizes and approves their economic stimulus package. 

Unemployment Compensation Updates

It’s imperative that impacted employees apply for unemployment benefits immediately – any employers impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for benefits. It is recommended that those affected file for unemployment benefits online at www.uc.pa.gov. rather than over the phone. The time that it will take for them to receive cash in pocket will depend on how soon they are able to file their initial claim – typically, individuals will receive their first payment within two to four weeks of filing their claims. The Office of Unemployment has suspended the waiting week and temporarily waived the requirement for PA CareerLink registration and work search, but the system is extremely overwhelmed right now.

Rehiring Employees and Continuing Benefits (like health insurance)

Employees laid off are eligible to be rehired by their employers if they are willing and able.

Additionally, employers may continue to provide benefits, like health insurance even if their employees are collecting unemployment.

Wage Reimbursement

As of now, employees displaced from their jobs due to COVID 19 will not receive full wage reimbursement through unemployment. It is typically 50% but with the expansion of benefits being discussed in Congress, this percentage may change in the coming weeks.

Employer Disaster Relief

Employers can request disaster-related relief from charges under the Unemployment Compensation system. If an individual’s unemployment is directly caused by a major natural disaster declared by the President and the individual would have been eligible for disaster unemployment assistance, the employer can request relief from charges and may receive relief for a maximum of eight weeks immediately following the President’s declaration of emergency. More information can be found at https://www.uc.pa.gov/employers-uc-services-uc-tax/uc-benefit-information/Pages/Relief-from-Charges.aspx.

Shared Work Outreach Program

UC also offers a Shared Work Outreach program that could be beneficial to employers if they haven’t yet closed but may need to drastically reduce their operations. Shared Work plans allow employers to temporarily reduce the work hours of a group of employees and divide the hours equally rather than laying off any employees. You can find additional information here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/employers-uc-services-uc-tax/shared-work/Pages/default.aspx.

Rapid Response Services

Rapid Response may also be beneficial during this time – this is an early intervention service that assists workers and employers during layoffs, closures and natural disasters. They can be contacted at RA-LI-BWPO-Rapid@pa.gov – a member of the team will be in touch within 48 hours.

Small Business Administration Offers Daily Emergency Loan Webinars

The U.S. Small Business Administration Eastern Pennsylvania District Office and the Chester Delaware Counties SCORE Chapter will hold webinar training on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program for small businesses and private non-profits due to COVID-19.

The webinar will provide you with answers and help you understand: 1) who is eligible for an SBA Disaster (EIDL) loan, 2) what you need to have in hand before filing your application, and 3) Q&A time devoted to answer your specific questions.

Due to the high volume of questions we are receiving, the webinar will be held daily. If the session is full, please join a session at another day.

  • Schedule begins Tuesday, March 24 and continues daily through Friday April 3. Webinars are offered Monday through Friday.
  • Each Webinar starts at 12:00 noon and concludes at 1:30 p.m. 
  • Log in Information: https://score.zoom.us/j/723846010

Call the SBA District Office at 610-382-3062 with any questions about the training.

March 24 Online Panel Meeting

We had about 100 participants at our online meeting on March 24. We were grateful for the panelists who provided their expertise. To view the meeting and chat notes, please visit here.

We will be conducting more of these meetings on specific topics so that we can deeper into questions and possible solutions. Some topics may be unemployment, small business loans, marketing through the closures, how to maintain retail income when closed, etc. What topics do you want covered? Please email Karen Groh with your suggestions.

Attention Manufacturers!

Companies seeking to Import or Manufacture Medical Products to Aid the U.S. Response to COVID-19:  

 If a company would like to import or produce medical products to help with the COVID-19 response, please send these inquiries to FEMA at covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov. Please include as many details as possible about the request (e.g., manufacturer name, address, product, and model number) and contact information for the company, either an agent in the U.S. or the company itself.

If companies have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please email FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center at nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov. For additional information, see https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

Updates from the White House

Treasury and Federal Reserve Board Expand Measures to Enhance Liquidity and Flow of Credit to American Workers, Households and Businesses (HERE)

  • The spread of coronavirus has disrupted economic activity and put significant liquidity pressure on U.S. businesses. To immediately enhance liquidity and support American workers, households, and businesses through this challenging period, Secretary Mnuchin today authorized the expansion of two recently launched facilities and the establishment of three new facilities to provide liquidity to the financial system pursuant to section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.

Carranza Implements Automatic Deferment on Existing SBA Disaster Loans Through End of 2020 (HERE)

  • Today, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment.

DHS Announcement: Important Message on Essential Financial Services Sector Workers – From U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

  • Consistent with the need to ensure access for essential financial services workers, Secretary Mnuchin issued the attached memorandum. This memorandum points to guidelines from the President and the Department of Homeland Security, which provides guidance to State and local officials as they work to protect their communities while ensuring continuity of critical functions to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. Everyone should follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as State and local officials regarding strategies to limit disease spread. For further information please see the Treasury memo and the CISA memo.

FDA Continues to Facilitate Access to Crucial Medical Products, Including Ventilators (HERE)

  • Today, the FDA took significant action to help increase the availability of ventilators and accessories, as well as other respiratory devices, during the COVID-19 pandemic to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.

FEMA COVID-19 Pandemic: Public Assistance Simplified Application (HERE)

  • The Fact Sheet supplements Fact Sheet: Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Protective Measures and provides an overview of the FEMA Public Assistance application process for recipients and applicants requesting reimbursement related to federal emergency and major disaster declarations for Coronavirus.

 2020 Census Operation Adjustments Due to COVID-19 (HERE)

The U.S. Census Bureau is adapting or delaying some of its operations to protect the health and safety of staff and the public.

Do You Want to Help?

Some of you have asked, ‘How can we help?’ One way is to visit here to help out WellSpan and healthcare workers.

Other ways you can help local businesses:

  • Follow businesses on social media
  • Like their posts
  • Share their posts that encourage business
  • Comment on their posts
  • Tag your friends
  • Write reviews on their social media pages
  • Subscribe to their emails/newsletters
  • Send them a message of support
  • Buy their online products or gift cards

Lebanon Transit Updates

If your employees are still commuting to work, please make sure they are aware of the latest changes/updates to Lebanon Transit’s routes.

Families First Act Explained

Please check here for a breakdown of the Families First Act and coverage for employers/employees.
Read the US Chamber’s interpretation and breakdown here.

Quick Links
 
 
 
 
 
 

Working Remotely

Thanks to Tracey Shafer from KIT Communications for providing these great resources:

As the work environment is rapidly shifting to remote work to help mitigate the spread of the virus, compiled below are some resources to help businesses and non-profits maintain their productivity.

15 Questions About Remote Work, Answered from Harvard Business Review
Free LinkedIn Learning Courses for Remote Working Strategies
Free Grow with Google Remote Work Hub

 

 

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.
(Ref: Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19

 

Corporate Aid

There are many larger companies that have the ability and insight to provide resources during this difficult time. To see a list, please visit here.

Local Resources