Updated 11/23/2020 at 3:30 p.m. Updates in bold
The Chamber urges everyone to continue to follow CDC guidelines for personal protection and safety, which includes properly wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing whenever possible. If you are exhibiting symptoms, do not go out or to work. If your child is exhibiting symptoms, do not send them to school.
CDC guidance for wearing a mask and other safety practices, as well as identifying COVID-19 symptoms, is available here.
All businesses must continue to follow CDC and Department of Health guidance for social distancing and cleaning.
Amended guidelines for gathering limits allow for occupancy limits to determine the number of people permitted both inside and outside for events or gatherings.
Large events and gatherings are now reduced until further notice. View the governor’s amended order here. New limits are as follows (Updated 11/23/2020):
Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events:
Maximum Occupancy Allowable Indoor Rate
0 – 2,000 people 10% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 – 10,000 people 5% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people No events over 500 people
Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events:
Maximum Occupancy Allowable Indoor Rate
0 – 2,000 people 15% of Maximum Occupancy
2,001 – 10,000 people 10% of Maximum Occupancy
Over 10,000 people 5% of Maximum Occupancy up to 2,500 people
Restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent if they commit to complying with all public safety guidelines and orders through a self-certification process. Click here for details.
Guidance for businesses (including restaurants) and schools is provided here. (Updated 9/23/20)
A FAQ providing additional clarification on cleaning and safety is provided here.
The PPP program is currently closed. Another round is being considered as part of the next federal relief package. EIDL loans are being accepted and processed, though funds for the EIDL advance have been allocated.
– The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to small businesses, including sole proprietors and self-employed individuals, as well as some non-profit organizations, that maintain their payroll during the emergency. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
- The most up to date information, including the application and loan forgiveness forms, are available on the U.S. Treasury’s website.
- Considerations for non-profit organizations are available here.
- A guide to PPP loan forgiveness is available here.
The Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury recently issued new guidance for small business owners with loans of $50,000 or less under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); more information is available here. Business owners who borrowed $50,000 or less can fill out a simplified one-page form and can ignore some of the calculations required of other borrowers. A link to the Form 3508S is available at sba.gov.
– The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides businesses with less than 500 employees working capital loans of up to $2 million. Click here for details about the program and to apply.
All available funds for the EIDL advance have been allocated. Loan applications are still being accepted.
Businesses needing assistance in applying for an SBA loan can contact the Small Business Development Center network.
Federal tax credit program
– The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allowable qualified health plan expenses) that eligible employers pay their employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an eligible employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000.
Click here for details from the IRS.
– Grant programs provided by the County Commissioners for small businesses and non-profit organizations in Columbia and Montour counties are now closed.
– SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has created a loan program with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. For-profit businesses can apply for loans of at least $10,000 with an interest rate of 3.25%. Funds can be used for working capital and can be disbursed based on past working capital expenses. No payments are due in the first six months.
There is a $500 underwriting fee and a $100 filing fee.
For more information, visit https://seda-cog.org/covid-19/ or contact SEDA-COG’s Business Finance Department at email@example.com.
– The Chamber’s low-interest loan program is offering loans of up to $10,000 for members at 3% interest for 30 months, with interest only payments for the first 12 months. If you are interested in the Chamber’s loan program, contact Fred Gaffney at the Chamber of Commerce at 570-784-2522 as funds are limited.
– The nonprofit Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund was launched by business leaders throughout the Commonwealth. Forgivable loans of $3,000 are available.
Pennsylvania businesses that qualify for assistance from the Fund are:
- Small businesses that employ three to 30 people;
- Based in Pennsylvania and have been operating for at least one year;
- Owned and operated by a Pennsylvania resident.
The funds dispersed to small businesses by the Pennsylvania 30 Day fund do not need to be repaid. Click here for details and to apply.
– A growing number of companies have set up relief funds, online tools, classes, and other resources at no cost in response to the impact on small-business owners. This link contains a list that Inc. is curating and continuously updating.
Unemployment, Benefits & HR Issues
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to individuals not eligible for regular benefits, including the self-employed and those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Click here for more information and to apply for PUA. Qualifying self-employed individuals will need to submit a copy of the Governor’s order closing businesses, available here.
The PA Department of Labor and Industry provides additional UC guidance for employers with impacted employees.
New temporary paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act programs are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire December 31. Both programs are in addition to any leave the employer already offers. Click here for a guide for employers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Click here for details from the IRS about the tax credits for paid leave.
The U.S. Department of Labor has released a required posting and FAQ regarding the FFCRA which went into effect April 1.
• Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
• Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions
Small Business Recovery Program
The Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Zeigler College of Business has established a Small Business Recovery Program (SBRP) to assist local businesses in recovery from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know these are challenging days for small businesses throughout the region, and the Zeigler College of Business wants to be a partner to help solve those problems,” said Todd Shawver, dean of the Zeigler College of Business.”
The SBRP will assist regional small business with any aspect of their business, except for financial assistance. These services can include, but are not limited to:
• Professional sales assistance
• Social media and marketing strategy
• Business strategy redevelopment
• Cost structures and monitoring
• Tax guidance
• Open to customizing services depending on business needs.
Anyone wishing to access the services of the SBRP can do so by filling out a request form.