Business Resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We encourage local businesses and Mobile area residents to monitor the situation and be diligent in protecting themselves. The Chamber has compiled resources, both locally and nationally, for its business members and the general public.
To help local retailers and restaurants share information, the Chamber has created a Facebook group dedicated to posting timely information about operating hours, shopping options and more in Mobile. Please consider joining and supporting our local businesses. facebook.com/groups/2246080
Updated March 23, 2020
Where Do I Start to File an SBA Disaster Loan?
Late last week Alabama received its disaster declaration by the U.S. Small Business Administration opening the doors for local small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 to federal loans. We’ve heard from a lot of you asking questions about this, and whether your business can make application. The Mobile Area Chamber’s small business development team is on hand, and available to answer questions. If you need specific assistance, email email@example.com with your company name, contact information so the Chamber can get in touch with you, and specific questions/needs. If you are looking for a general overview of the program, here is a link to a webinar hosted by the Alabama Small Business Development Center. Danette Richards, the Chamber’s director of small business development highly recommends it as a great place to start. http://asbdc.org/eidl-webinar/. (please note the video may take a moment to load)
Don’t Worry if You Missed this Morning’s Conference Call with Rep Bradley Byrne
This morning the Mobile Area Chamber played host to a conference call with Rep. Bradley Byrne. We had the call recorded so you can hear the latest information on important items for your business including the SBA loan process, the federal stimulus package proposed, and what you should be doing as a small business owner during this national crisis. Nancy Hewston, the Chamber’s vice president of community and governmental affairs says, “Congress continues to negotiate the relief package this week and the final bill is still not clear. There are discussions now to include nonprofits in this relief package to be voted on this week.” Click here to listen to the full conference call, which lasts right at one hour.
Updated March 20, 2020
How do I apply for an SBA disaster loan for my small business?
Do you need to complete an application to apply for disaster loan funding from the Small Business Administration, but don’t know where to start?
First, take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, and blow it out. Do it one more time.
Okay, so here’s where to start. The Chamber’s director of small business development Danette Richards has been on conference calls and webinar trainings all week, and has even worked though this process herself. Here’s some great information on what you need to know about applying, the criteria for making application and more. And you can go online and make application just as soon as the state is designated to accept applications. In the meantime, click below and download a sample application, and all the forms your business will need to make application.
Apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
What is the criteria for a loan approval?
- Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA. (relaxed requirements)
- Repayment – SBA must determine that the applicant business has the ability to repay the SBA loan. (based on historical data)
- Eligibility -The applicant business must be physically located in a declared county and suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons.
- What is a small business? Generally the SBA’s definition is 500 employees or less but it depends on your industry according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS code). If you don’t know if your company is a small business find out at https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/.
- How much can I borrow? Up to $2M, amount will depend on financial documents submitted, history and the forecast.
- What is interest rate? Small businesses – 3.75%; non-profits – 2.75%
- How long will it take to get the money? It depends, generally 45 – 60 days from time SBA receives a complete application.
Updated March 18, 2020
Effective immediately, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) is extending relief to small retail businesses that are unable to timely pay their February, March, and April sales tax liabilities. Small businesses whose monthly retail sales during the previous calendar year averaged $62,500 or less may file their monthly sales tax returns for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods without paying the state sales tax reported as due. Late payment penalties will be waived for these taxpayers through June 1, 2020. Similar sales tax relief may be available on a case-by-case basis to other businesses significantly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the preventative measures being taken to limit its spread in Alabama.
For more information about this small business tax relief measure, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the ADOR’s COVID-19 Updates page or call the Department’s Sales and Use Tax Division at 334.242.1490.
Updated March 17, 2020
As a part of the Presidents declaration of a state of emergency the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is authorized to make Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).
Alabama small business owners that are experiencing economic harm should submit an EIDL economic injury verification of loss worksheet (attached) to the Alabama SBA district office. This form is not an application.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Alabama District Office
2 North 20th Street, Suite 325
Birmingham, AL 35203
The Governor will request a declaration for economic injury from the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance Center. Once the declaration is made in Alabama, Alabama businesses can begin applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan on SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance website. https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0I2Db5uiL7WrhVH
Contact L.D. Ralph at the Alabama District Office with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org; (205) 290-7684; Cell (205) 790-2161.
Is your company shut down because of the corona virus?
According to the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) (www.labor.alabama.gov), Alabama unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Based on current guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Alabama Department of Labor is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits who are affected in any of the following way: 1 – Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency, 2 – Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, 3- Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, or 4 – those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19. Workers can file for benefits online at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is encouraged.
To learn more, click on the below link: https://www.labor.alabama.gov/Coronavirus%20Unemployment%20Benefits%20FAQ.pdf
Updated March 14, 2020
The Alabama Department of Public Health has released a new website to share information about the coronavirus.
Updated March 12, 2020
Alabama Department of Public Health – http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html
From Scott Harris, M.D. – Alabama State Health Officer
Since mid-January, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has worked with local, state, and federal partners to learn, prepare, and provide the most up-to-date information to the public about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Our department has been in almost constant daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is coordinating our response efforts with multiple agencies. With the growing public concern about this coronavirus, our knowledge continues to increase. While no cases have been identified in Alabama at this time, we continue to monitor and prepare.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has symptoms similar to influenza–fever, coughing, shortness of breath. In most cases, people do not need to be hospitalized, but people with chronic conditions, older people, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk. Flu shots are recommended for those who have not had one this season. If an outbreak occurs, having had a flu shot will allow for earlier identification and limit confusion as to whether the individual has COVID-19 or the flu.
As a clearer picture is emerging, ADPH advises the general public that the best way to avoid infection is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when you are ill, and practice social distancing strategies such as staying 6 feet apart from other individuals. People taking medications, especially seniors, should make sure they have adequate supplies of blood pressure and other prescriptions.
Everyone has a role to play in keeping our state safe and healthy. Misinformation about any health issue can be dangerous, so please seek reputable sources of information about COVID-19. The ADPH Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks (ID&O) Division can answer general questions at 334-206-5347 during regular business hours or you may visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pages.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has created guides based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about how employers and employees can prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus. You can download the guides by clicking below.
“The spread of the coronavirus is a drag on global growth, which includes the United States. Growth in the United States will likely drop in the first quarter by 0.1% to 0.3%. Under this scenario, growth could fall under 2% in the first quarter,” according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Recommended strategies for employers to use now:
- 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.
When creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan, employers should:
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
- Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
- Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
Small Business Administration
The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) created a handful of tools and resources as COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread. Here you’ll find sample event cancellation and refund policies, suggested internal policies related to travel, preparing for increased remote work and more.