Coronavirus Updates for Business
The Coronavirus is not just a health issue, but also an economic issue for businesses throughout the County, state, and nation. The news and impact of the health crisis is changing by the hour and local businesses are being inundated with information from a wide variety of sources, both trustworthy and not so trustworthy. For this reason, the Franklin County Office of Economic Development, the Towns of Rocky Mount and Boones Mill, the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, and the Franklin Center have joined forces to provide a centralized location for community businesses to go for the latest information on the outbreak and how it affects us all. This page is intended to be a one-stop destination for information on all things COVID-19 for businesses throughout the County, Towns, and Lake. Please remember that the most up-to-date and knowledgeable sources for COVID-19 health-related developments are the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Health. Links to these agencies and many others are located to your left.
As information of interest to local businesses becomes available to your County and Town governments, the SML Chamber, and the Franklin Center, we will post them here as soon as possible. We also want to hear from you on the impacts the economic turmoil is having on your business. Please submit any information you can through the Economic Impact Form. The more we as local governments know about the difficulties you are facing, the better our decision-making can be on policy that affects you so please let us know.
If there is any additional information you would like to see provided, please contact us. It is the mission of all the partners to do all we can to assist our local businesses through this difficult time. Again, please visit the CDC and/or the Virginia Department of Health for the most up to date health information.
UPDATED NEWS & INFORMATION
April 22, 2020
- Virginia SBDC Presents Four-Part Webinar Series “Road to Recovery” - The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we do business. As you continue to explore that that means to your business, the SBDC has developed a week long Webinar series to help you in that journey. We have gathered experts in the fields of eCommerce, digital marketing and cybersecurity to present the topics below. You can register for all 4 Webinars or just the ones that are relevant to you.
Intro to the Best eCommerce Platforms for Small Business
Monday, April 27, 1:00 PM | Presented by: Ray Sidney-Smith
While markets are cyclical, eCommerce (a/k/a online shopping) is here to stay. And, if you want a business that becomes and stays resilient through difficult times, making sure your business can be found and your products/services sold on the Web is imperative. Come learn about the best eCommerce platforms for Small Business available to you today. We’ll cover the criteria you should look at for choosing an eCommerce platform for your business and the selection available to you. Register here
Marketing & Promoting Your Business on the Web
Tuesday, April 28, 1:00 PM | Presented by: Ray Sidney-Smith
There’s nothing more important than promoting your business after you’ve done all the hard work to get your products, services and other business operations into place. But, if you build it, they will not come unless you’re screaming from the proverbial mountain tops. And, that’s what digital marketing is for. Come to this Webinar to learn how to develop a marketing strategy beyond product development and pricing, to establish the strategy and promotions to drive revenues. We’ll cover a number of strategies and tactics for getting noticed in a noisy world. Register here.
Cybersecurity Expert: How to Best Protect Your Business Online
Wednesday, April 29, 1:00 p.m. | Presented by: Tom Stamulis
Business owners have to adjust their approach to cybersecurity because cyber criminals are targeting employees and preying on their stress, distractions, curiosity, and fear of the unknown. If your business is among the many that have shifted to full-time remote work, there are a steps you should take right now to increase your security and ensure that you and your employees are not inadvertently exposing sensitive business data through your home networks. Join us for a virtual seminar on the cybersecurity steps you should take. Register here.
3 Things You Can Do to Connect With Your Customers During Social Distancing | Thursday, April 30, 1:00 p.m. | Presented by: Jeff Nicely
Connecting with your employees, clients, and other contacts is critical during social distancing. Join us to hear about three easy ways you can maintain personal connections and maintain trust during social distancing. Specifically, we’ll show you how to easy and fun it is to use video in emails, on your website, and for social media postings. We’ll demonstrate easy things you can add to your website for additional customer service during this time. Last, we’ll talk about best email practices to keep your clients engaged. Register here.
April 14, 2020
- Virginia Small Business Agency Provides Updates - The Virginia Small Business and Supplier Diversity Department has published a comprehensive update on COVID-19 related programs for businesses and answers frequently asked questions. View the full update in PDF format.
April 13, 2020
- SBA Express Bridge Loans Available - This program enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Download a .PDF with more information here.
April 7, 2020
- Make Sure Your Restaurant is Being Marketed and Properly Represented - The regional tourism organization, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, along with many other groups are trying to assist restaurants through this difficult time by promoting local take-out dining options. Their map can be found here. Both the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber and the Town of Rocky Mount have similar information located in the "Quick Links" section of this webpage in the upper right. As more and more citizens look to help our community by spending their dollars on local dining, they will be looking at these types of directories more often. Please be sure to check them to be sure they are accurate and, if not, please contact us!
April 6, 2020
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Now Available - Small businesses and sole proprietorships can now submit applications for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Payment Protection Program (PPP) authorized by the CARES Act. This program will provide small businesses with guaranteed loans to support up to 8 weeks of payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The portion used on these expenses will be forgiven if “employee and compensation levels are maintained.” The Treasury has released guidance for lenders (found here) and borrowers (found here) and a slightly updated application for borrowers to submit to the Small Business Administration (found here). Independent contractors and self-employed individuals may begin submitting applications beginning on April 10th. Businesses 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. Please consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
For more information, visit the Paycheck Protection Program page from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
You can find links to this information, along with information about Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and more, on the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center’s COVID-19 Resources page.
- American Farmland Trust (AFT) Offers Grants to Farmers - To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust is launching a new Farmer Relief Fund. AFT’s Farmer Relief Fund will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs. AFT envisions an initial application round extending until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1. To learn more, visit the AFT website here.
April 3, 2020
- GRANT APPLICATIONS FOR TELEWORK AND CLEANING DUE TODAY - Just as a reminder, if you haven’t seen the business assistance funding that is available for businesses with 250 employees or less, please visit http://www.vcwblueridge.com/covid-19-funding. This funding is available to help businesses who are continuing to work through the COVID-19 crisis by providing a safe and clean environment and also to help with setting up teleworking options. The main goal would be for avoiding laying off employees.
If you are interested in the funding yourself, please apply! The deadline is 5 PM today.
March 31, 2020
- SBA Has Emergency Grants Available Up To $10,000 - As previously publicized, the U.S. Small Business Administration has loan funding available for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. This loan is known as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). New guidance is that small businesses can now apply for up to $10,000 in emergency grant funds if they apply for an EIDL loan. Companies are not required to repay these funds which are deemed as an advance on the EIDL loan, even if the loan itself is denied. For more information, see below from the Virginia Small Business Development Center and go to the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Program webpage.
Small businesses in Virginia are now eligible to apply for Federal Disaster Loans for economic damage. To begin the application process please use this link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ Here’s key information you need to know:
What is the EIDL? The EIDL is a low-interest, fixed-rate loan that can provide up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDLs) funds come directly from the U.S. Treasury. Applicants do not go through a bank to apply, and instead, apply directly to SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program. Actual loan amounts are based on the amount of economic injury. These loans provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing because of COVID-19. The EIDL helps meet the necessary financial obligations that your business or private non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. EIDLs do not replace lost sales or revenue.
How do I apply for $10,000 emergency grant? The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which was passed on 3/27/2020 establishes an emergency grant to allow an eligible entity who has applied for an EIDL loan due to COVID-19 to request an advance on that loan, of not more than $10,000, which the SBA must distribute within 3 days. It also states that applicants shall not be required to repay advance payments, even if subsequently denied for an EIDL loan. To apply for the EIDL loan, click here.
- Temporary Stay At Home Order - Effective immediately, Governor Ralph Northam announced a "stay at home" order during a press conference for all Virginians as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order. The Executive Order 55 is available in its entirety for download.
- SMLRCC Launches SML Takeout Week - Due to the mandate requiring the closure of restaurant dining rooms, many local restaurants have switched to takeout and delivery. From March 30 – April 5, the SMLRCC is rewarding those who support restaurants by ordering takeout, delivery, or curbside pickup from your favorite restaurants with a chance to win a daily $25 gift card and grand prize of $100. All you have to do is take of photo of food or delivery, post a picture on SML Chamber Facebook using both #StrongerTogetherSML and #WeShopLocalSMLVirtually. Everyone is highly encouraged to follow Governor Northam’s mandates for the COVID-19.
March 28, 2020
- Grant Funds Available to Franklin County Small Businesses for Cleaning and Telework – The Virginia Career Works, a regional organization that covers Franklin County, has made approximately $10,000 in grant funds available to Franklin County businesses in need of help paying for additional cleaning/sanitizing and/or expenses related to setting up a telework program to allow employees to work from home. Because these are such important needs to our local businesses, Franklin County is contributing approximately $10,000 in local funds to expand the effort. These grant funds are needed immediately by affected businesses so the Virginia Career Works will only take applications from Monday, March 30th until Friday, April 3rd. Award decisions will be made as soon as possible so that grantees can begin using the funds in their businesses. For information regarding eligibility, FAQ’s, and to get the application, go to https://vcwblueridge.com/covid-19-funding/.
- Roanoke Region Creates One-Stop Regional COVID-19 Resource for Businesses - COVID-19 means it isn’t business as usual in the Roanoke Region of Virginia. For this reason, the governments and business-related organization of the Roanoke Valley have come together to create a place to help connect you with the resources available to businesses and employees. It’s never been more important to coordinate the work of many to assist our businesses, owners, and citizens. Go to RoanokeRegionResponds.com for all the latest regional information.
- National Restaurant Association Provides Guidance on Federal CARES Act – The National Restaurant Association has reviewed the federal Cares Act and has provided an Executive Summary for restaurants to better understand the implications and opportunities that this Act entails. To read the summary from the National Restaurant Association, click here.
- Governor’s Office Provides Resources Guide
1. General Information: Stay in touch at the Governor’s dedicated Coronavirus website.
2. Supports for Workers:
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE – expanded time, amounts and those covered
The unemployment insurance program, administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Under normal circumstances, individuals who meet a strict set of employment-related criteria can receive weekly payments over a period of 12 to 26 weeks, but efforts are underway at both the state and federal level to expand eligibility, increase payments, and extend the duration coverage.
As a result, all Virginians who have experienced job or income loss as a result of the Coronavirus crisis are encouraged to file an application for unemployment insurance using the VEC’s online portal, selecting “Lack of Work” as their reason for separation. Please note, recipients will be required to access the portal each week to claim their unemployment insurance payment.
Detailed instructions for individuals applying for unemployment insurance benefits can be found here. An FAQ on unemployment benefits can be found here.
3. Support for Small Business
➢ For questions other than resources listed below, email email@example.com .
SMALL BUSINESS DISASTER LOANS
Following a request submitted by Governor Northam on March 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Virginia. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
RAPID RESPONSE FUNDS TO ASSIST SMALL BUSINESS
Rapid Response is a federal program to help workers, companies, and communities experiencing layoffs and closures and provide strategies to avert layoffs. This includes connecting workers and businesses to information, partners, new employment opportunities, funding, and training programs that can help lessen the impact of layoffs or avert layoffs all together.
The Additional Rapid Response Assistance for COVID-19 available through the state provides funding to help businesses avert layoffs by providing assistance in sanitization of work spaces, implementing telework options to support social distancing that the company has not supported prior, or other innovative strategies that help keep employees on the job. Businesses may apply for assistance through their regional workforce boards. For the regional workforce board covering Franklin County, contact Morgan Romeo with the Western Virginia Workforce Board at (540) 562-8442 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roanoke Regional Partnership Requests Businesses to Fill Out Survey - You’ve probably been asked to complete a variety of surveys during this time. This is the ONLY survey designed for all companies and all sectors in the Roanoke Region from the Alleghany Highlands to Roanoke Valley to Franklin County.Why should you complete it? This survey will help:
- Establish a benchmark of where employment and economics are right now.
- Quantify the economic downtown by sector.
- Establish communication between the business and governments.
- Identify action steps.
Please take a few minutes and complete the survey. It’s a first step toward recovery.
Roanoke Regional Partnership
On behalf of: Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Franklin County, Botetourt County, Salem, Alleghany County, Covington, Vinton, Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission, Virginia Career Works Blue Ridge Region, Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge
March 24, 2020
SBA Economic Disaster Loan "How to Apply" Webinar Held - The Virginia Small Business Development Center held a webinar yesterday on how to apply for the new SBA Economic Disaster Loan program. If you missed it you can catch it here: Disaster Loan (EIDL) Webinar Recording.The slidedeck from the webinar is available at SBA Disaster Relief Loan Assistance PPT.
- Town and Chamber Hold Small Business Webinar - The Town of Rocky Mount and the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar entitled "7 Things Small Businesses Can Do Now to Stay Relevant" to assist local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. If you missed it, you can watch it here: Watch Recording. Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: email@example.com.
- Governor Northam Issues New Executive Order Closing Schools and Some Businesses - Read the Executive Order here.
- LinkedIn Learning Provides Remote Working Learning Path - Due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19, many organizations are taking precautions regarding the health and safety of their employees. This is impacting business travel to in-person training sessions and the ability to work from the office. Employers are allowing or encouraging their employees to work from home. Here is a fully unlocked Learning Path (16 courses) on LinkedIn Learning covering topics related to successfully managing change, working remotely and staying productive: Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success. These courses include:
- Working Remotely
- Time Management: Working from Home
- Productivity Tips: Finding Your Productive Mindset
- Executive Presence on Video Conference Calls
- Thriving @ Work: Leveraging the Connection between Well-Being and Productivity
- Managing Stress for Positive Change
- Building Resilience
- Developing Resourcefulness
- Leading at a Distance
- Managing Virtual Teams
- Leading Virtual Meetings
- Learning Teams / Skype / Bluejeans / WebEx / Zoom
March 22, 2020
- Virginia Small Business Development Center Network Hosting Webinar on EIDL - The Virginia SBDC network is hosting a webinar to review the application process for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) available for Virginia small businesses and non-profits. The webinar will be held on Monday, March 23, 2020 from 2pm-2:45pm. To view the webinar, click here. The number to call in to is (646) 558-8656 and the Meeting ID is 606 202 441.
- Town and Chamber Conducting Small Business Webinar - The Town of Rocky Mount and the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce are hosting a webinar entitled "7 Things Small Businesses Can Do Now to Stay Relevant" to assist local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. The webinar will be held on Monday, March 23, 2020 from 10:00am to 11:00am. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4639317151298520077.
- RIDE Solutions Offers Assistance to Businesses Starting Telework Programs - As the business community in central and southwest Virginia works to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many employers who have never considered telework are looking at ways to quickly implement remote working options. As the region’s commuter assistance program, RIDE Solutions is offering guidance on starting a telework program in a crisis. If you have questions about resources, tools, and policies to help you start and manage a telework program quickly, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-424-3334 to be connected to the local RIDE Solutions program coordinator who can help get you up and running.
March 20, 2020
- Virginia Approved for Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration - The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Virginia’s application to be an SBA Disaster area. This means that businesses statewide, INCLUDING IN FRANKLIN COUNTY AND EITHER OF THE TWO TOWNS, can now apply for loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. This also means that Franklin County businesses are able to apply for up to $2 million in loan assistance from the SBA. See below for more information.
Administrative Disaster Declaration for Virginia - The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) and the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA) are pleased to report that Governor Ralph Northam announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an SBA disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The disaster declaration will allow SBA to provide assistance to Virginia businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Virginia businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 are now eligible to make online applications to the SBA for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) at disasterloan.sba.gov. For additional information or support, please contact Alan Escobar, Office of Disaster Assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street, SW., Suite 6050, Washington, DC 20416, (202 205-6734).
SBA’s EIDL program offers direct loans up to $2 million to businesses and nonprofits without access to available credit elsewhere. The interest rate on EIDL loans to businesses is 3.75%. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses by helping to overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing due to COVID-19. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other business expenses. SBA offers loans with loan terms of up to 30 years in order to keep payments affordable. Loan terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
We want to thank all of the businesses and partners that responded and distributed our impact survey earlier this week. Your response allowed us to collect the data necessary for Virginia to apply and secure the disaster declaration creating access for small businesses to apply for federal disaster loans from the SBA.
Additional SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Information
In keeping with our commitment to bring you the most up to date information, we wanted to share with you additional information on how to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) funds. States will not be receiving funding from the SBA to distribute. All funds will be distributed directly from the Federal SBA Agency.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email email@example.com for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
For additional support, applying for EIDL funds you may contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). For SBDC contact information use the following link: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/
Items Required for Applications:
1. Loan application (SBA Form 5), completed and signed (this is electronic/online in the portal). To see what the form looks like, an example can be found here.
2. Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T), completed and signed by each applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business. Affiliates include, but are not limited to, business parents, subsidiaries, and/or other businesses with common ownership or management.
3. Complete copies, including all schedules, of the most recently filed Federal income tax returns for the applicant business; an explanation if not available
4. Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member
5. Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202 may be used)
For a comprehensive list of actions, Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.
The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD)
- Governor Northam Announces Additional Actions to Address COVID-19 - https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2020/march/headline-854722-en.html
- State Delays Tax Payments on 2019 Income and Quarterly Sales Tax – The Commonwealth has announced that the deadline for state income tax payments will be postponed by 30 days and that businesses may request the payment deadline for state sales taxes due from retailers on March 20 be moved back to April 20. For state sales tax, a waiver must be submitted to the state and interest will be charged for the extended period, though penalties would be waived. See below for additional information. See Richmond Times-Dispatch article here.
Important Information for Those Affected by the COVID-19 Crisis: Option to Request Extension of Sales Tax Deadlines
Tax Commissioner Craig M. Burns has announced that Virginia Tax will consider
requests from sales tax dealers for an extension of the due date for filing and payment
of the February 2020 sales tax return due March 20, 2020. If the request is granted,
Virginia Tax will allow filing and payment of such return on April 20, 2020, with a
waiver of any penalties that would have applied. However, interest will accrue even if
an extension is granted.
Office of Customer Services
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, VA 23218-1115
If you have additional questions, go to www.tax.virginia.gov, or contact us at 804.367.8031 for individual income tax questions and 804.367.8037 for business tax questions.
- Franklin County Zoning and Building Processes Continue – Franklin County wants to highlight the fact that we will continue taking and issuing zoning and building permits. To ensure businesses and residents are able to continue investment into the community, County staff are continuing to process all zoning and building permits. Building inspections are also continuing on a daily basis. Applications for various permits are available online and hard copies can be picked up in the lobby of the Franklin County Government Center. While no physical person-to-person interactions will occur, business will continue to be conducted by email and telephone. Staff is available to assist in any way possible. The office main line number is (540) 483-3027.
March 19, 2020
- Virginia Submits Emergency Declaration to US Small Business Administration – The Commonwealth is coordinating with the U. S. Small Business Administration on the disaster declaration that will enable small businesses statewide to receive assistance through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
- Franklin County Continues to Provide Services to Residents and Businesses – Franklin County Government is continuing to provide needed services to the public through the current crisis. Out of an abundance of caution due to the circumstances associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19), Franklin County requests all citizens to utilize phone interaction and online services at this time. The County is committed to providing a safe environment for our employees and our citizens while simultaneously providing quality services. To that end, effective March 19, 2020, the general lobby of the County Government Center is accessible where customers are requested to utilize temporary measures for business services and interaction including phone, email, website, and lobby drop box options.