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Coronavirus COVID-19 Business Resources

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This page is designed to help Collier County businesses respond to the challenges of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will update this page as new information becomes available. For health and safety information and guidance, please check the Centers for Disease Control's guide for business and employers and the Collier County COVID-19 Information Page

We need to take steps to keep jobs and businesses going, as well as to protect health in the community. Please adhere to social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus: Avoid gatherings and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from others. The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Coronavirus Hotline – The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7. Call (866) 779-6121

 

IMPORTANT: Your input is needed for Coronavirus Business Impact Surveys

The Lutgert School of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University needs southwest Florida businesses' help in tracking the impact of the Coronavirus on our local economy. Please take a few minutes to fill out a confidential survey.The more businesses that fill it out, the stronger the data will be. The information you provide will enable SWFL to better communicate to community leaders, state and federal elected officials the need for assistance programs. Take the survey here.  

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the activation of the FLORIDADISASTER.BIZ Business Damage Assessment survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The survey, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will evaluate businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin.

 

Financial Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) just announced the availability of low-interest federal disaster loans, up to $2 million, for working capital to small businesses that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. These Disaster 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. EIDLs provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume. Keep up to date with information on the SBA's Covid19 page. If you're a business that's already paying off an economic disaster loan, such as for Hurricane Irma, the SBA has automatically deferred those payments to Dec. 31, so businesses can have a break from payments. 

The FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER (SBDC) administers SBA loans and has many links on its COVID-19 Business Disaster Resources page. 

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY BRIDGE LOAN PROGRAM is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties that experienced economic damage due to COVID-19. The short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance. Here's a webinar on the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, here are FAQS, and here's more information and the application. You also can download the application. You also can apply online and upload your information here

The SBA's SOUTH FLORIDA DISTRICT OFFICE also is offering virtual assistance office hours for small businesses that are affected. SBA officials will answer questions about the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and also will be hosting webinars twice daily to help small businesses navigate the disaster loan application. 

Virtual Office Hours are from Monday, March 23, through Friday, April 04, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Calls are limited to 250 people at once, but business owners can enter and exit at any time. All callers will be muted upon entry and will be taken in the order they are received.

How to Participate:
Join Skype Meeting   If you have trouble joining, try the Skype Webpage App.    
or join by phone by calling: (202) 765-1264; Input Conference ID - 162817288

 

The IRS has extended tax filing deadlines and federal tax payments until July 15, regardless of the amount. Here's more information about IRS tax relief due to the Coronavirus. That page is continually being updated. 

Here's information on the U.S. Treasury, IRS and Department of Labor regarding Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to enable them to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.

The IRS and DOL on March 24 issued joint guidance that enables small- and midsize employers to begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Actwhich provides complete coverage for emergency and FMLA paid sick-leave for workers.

TRAININNG.COM Employers Playbook for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (paid) webinar for employers with fewer than 500 employees.  

Under the Act, employers with under 500 (except for employers with fewer than 50 employees who qualify for an exemption) are required to pay up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 related issues and provide expanded paid childcare leave under FMLA when employees’ children’s schools are closed or childcare providers are unavailable. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed or childcare is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened. There is a 30-day non-enforcement period for good-faith compliance efforts.

 

Health and Retirement Plans

  • The pandemic and the Act are causing unusual circumstances for employer and employees, which can have a disruptive (or other impact) on employee benefits.
  • Remember that your plan document will always control, and it can be amended to accommodate certain circumstances in benefits and administration that your company is currently facing.
  • Reach out to your health and retirement plan brokers and administrators if you have questions about the impact of COVID-19 related HR decisions on changes to benefits related to your health, life and retirement plans.

 

Federal stimulus package for businesses / nonprofits / employers

The NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NON-PROFITS provided analysis on the federal stimulus relief package, including Emergency Small Business Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit, Industry Stabilization Fund, Direct Payments to adults, Expanded Unemployment Insurance, Amendments to the New Paid Leave Mandates, Self-Funded Nonprofits and Unemployment, Charitable Giving Incentive, and other topics.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports that the stimulus package provides $349 billion for the SBA to guarantee loans to small businesses. The legislation calls for the loan money to be distributed via the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program, a partnership between private financial lenders, which issue the loans, and the SBA, which guarantees them. It seems likely borrowers will need to apply through banks, credit unions and other lenders, such as the financial institutions they currently use. The process will not be established for a few days, and The WSJ is suggesting the best way to begin is to approach your lender and inquire about applying for a 7(a) small business loan.  The WSJ says there is a loan forgiveness component included in the bill for businesses that retain their workers or rehire workers who were laid off. Those businesses would be eligible for forgiveness on portions of their loans used for certain costs — including payroll, rent payment, mortgage obligations and utilities — that are incurred during an eight-week period starting on the loan’s origination date. The amount of forgiveness will take into account the number of workers retained or rehired. 

 

Other assistance, resources and grants

FACEBOOK is offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits to help up to 30,000 eligible small businesses during this time. The grants will help to keep your workforce going strong, help with rent costs, connect with more customers and cover operational costs. 

YELP is providing $25 million in coronavirus relief for independent restaurant and nightlife businesses in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services.

The JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION is launching the Food & Beverage Industry Relief Fund, which will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. Click on the link above to donate or apply. 

COMCAST is offering free and expanded services over the next 60 days and no disconnections or late fees if a customer contacts them about financial troubles due to the Coronavirus.

VERIZON will help small businesses (and residential customers) disrupted by the impact of coronavirus. 

T-MOBILE current customers on plans that have data will be provided with unlimited smartphone data while on the T-Mobile network for the next 60 days.

AT&T is waiving late fees for residential or small business customers who need help and is keeping public Wi-Fi hotspots open, among other actions.

CISCO is offering free 90-day licenses for non-WebEx customers, and enhanced capabilities for existing (and new) WebEx users, not only those impacted by COVID-19.

AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION banks are assisting customers in various ways, including fee waivers; deferred payments for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages; loan modifications; low-rate and zero-rate loans and other accommodations. Check its list of member banks and what they're offering. 

CAPITAL ONE, CITI and WELLS FARGO have issued statements indicating that they are willing to work with credit card customers that experience financial difficulties.

GOFUNDME has a page to help small businesses affected by COVID-19. There are already quite a few Collier County businesses listed, just search by place or ZIP Code. Here's the page for anyone affected by COVID-19. 

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATON OF REALTORS' page offers many resources involving banks, loans and real estate. 

THE FLORIDA RETAIL ASSOCIATION COVID-19 page offers resources and updates for Florida retailers. 

THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING ASSOCIATION page offers resources for the hospitality industry, details of operating restrictions, employee resources, emergency funding information and who to contact to ask for help.

CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA offers resources for employers and employees. 

THE FLORIDA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE page offers email updates, a list of businesses that are giving back, and an economic forecast. 

THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY details how employees can seek reemployment assistance, a video, and FAQS in Spanish and Creole. 

THE FLORIDA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL COVID-19 RESOURCE HUB offers CDC guidance for employers, loan and financial assistance and more. 

FREDDIE MAC and FANNIE MAE are allowing forbearance options to borrowers affected by the pandemic. Forbearance means your mortgage payments can be suspended for up to 12 months because of economic hardship that was caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The two agencies back about half of all U.S. mortgages.

The USDA also is offering forbearance options. A shorter version that details help for rural businesses, communities and residents is here. Payments can be suspended for up to 12 months because of economic hardship that was caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Contact the office by phone at: (352) 338-3400. 

The USDA's FARM SERVICE AGENCY (FSA) made changes to its Farm Loan, Disaster, Conservation and Safety Net Programs to make it easier for customers to conduct business.

The NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH is making all its COVID-19 Working Papers about the Coranavirus' effects on the economy free to the public: The Coronavirus and the Great Influenza Pandemic: Lessons from the "Spanish Flu" for the Coronavirus's Potential Effects on Mortality and Economic ActivityWhat Will Be the Economic Impact of COVID-19 in the US? Rough Estimates of Disease ScenariosThe Macroeconomics of Epidemics

 

Preparing your workplace, sustaining your business

GREATER NAPLES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Coronavirus updates page. 

US CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19

FORBES has a list of airline refund and cancellation policies that's updated regularly.

VISIT FLORIDA also has a travel information page and another that keeps track of the impact to tourism

The U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR has developed some guidelines for how companies can prepare their workplace for COVID-19. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a COVID-19 website with information specifically for workers and employers. There is also information on issues relating to wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to COVID-19.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION is offering guidance that may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-health care settings. It also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread outbreaks.

ASSOCIATION OF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVES offers a guide on tactical and practical resources, including templates, to help businesses and chambers prepare for the pandemic.

US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE COVID-19 toolkit and webinar

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES (NFIB) recorded webinar: Congressional & Legal Update for Small Businesses

OSHA guidelines to maintain your business operations. 

PR DAILY: How brand managers should address Covid-19

Forbes: Business Planning Checklist for the Coronavirus 

CHASE offers a free webinar for small businesses that addresses preparing for and mitigating your business for different categories of risk, as well as positioning your business as a leader in times of crisis.

International law firm K&L GATES created a hub listing COVID-19 guides, including a series of webinars on crisis management and insurance coverage guidance, as well as guides on contracts and tax policy

MILLER NASH GRAHAM & DUNN offers a webinar outlining best practices for construction firms during the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE's social media toolkit offers example posts and graphics for businesses responding to the coronavirus.

COLLIER CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU is offering marketing support to tourism-related businesses. Share its new destination message with your customers during the Coronavirus crisis. There is no cost to your business for participating.

The ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY says Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. The EPA has provided important information about COVID-19 and how it relates to drinking water and wastewater. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.

 

Working remotely

ZOOM MEETING, which is being used by thousands of businesses, hospitals and others for remote meetings, has a page detailing its support, webinars and tutorials. Here's a page with up-to-date discounts and offers. 

REMOTE WORK WIKI offers information on working from home. 

FORBES Identifying critical employees and work-at-home systems

Working remotely and mapping goals

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW remote work plan

GOTOMEETING remote-work toolkit. 

 

Working from Home with Kids

TIME FOR KIDS 

will provide access to new issues of TIME for Kids and Your $, the financial literacy magazine for kids, each week during the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as previous 2020 editions, and educational resources and activities.

 

 

SCHOLASTIC is offering free materials

DIY.org is offering reduced cost classes. Use the code "TOGETHER" to get 90% off  

GROWGA is offering free online classes

EDUCATIONAL APPS for kids. 

 

Cybersecurity

TREND MICRO is offering business employees six months of free access to its consumer security product, Trend Micro™ Maximum Security, which can be installed on their personal computers so they can work securely

PC MATIC is offering free cybersecurity protection and remote management tools until June 30, 2020. 

 

National Resources:

US Gov't Coronavirus page

CDC Checklist
Business Planning for the Coronavirus
What to say to your employees and business members
World Health Organization Information
Coronavirus myths busted by the World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus Guidelines

IRS Relief regarding COVID0-19

International Economic Development Council Resources for Economic Development Planning and Recovery

 

 

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We're now located at the Naples Accelerator

3510 Kraft Road, Ste. 200, Naples, FL 34105

Have more questions? Contact:

Sean Callahan

Executive Director, Corporate Business Operations

Phone: 239-252-8383

Email: Sean.Callahan@colliercountyfl.gov

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Page last updated on March 27, 2020