The Halifax County Economic Development Commission partners with regional, state and national organizations to provide support to businesses and our economic development efforts.
“These partners are critical to our community, especially in these uncertain times,” said Cathy Scott, county economic development director. “This information is provided as an overview of resources available to businesses as we cope with the effects of the COVID-19.”
Details will be updated regularly as new information is provided.
For more information contact the HCEDC office at office by calling 252-519-2630 or by email to cathyscott@halifaxdevelopment.
Updated information will be distributed regularly and will be posted to the EDC website
A webinar on preparing businesses for the threat of coronavirus will be held March 25 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
It is offered through the North Carolina Small Business Center and is facilitated through the Halifax Community College Small Business Center.
Register at this link
This webinar will feature a panel of experts in business continuity, supply chain, and healthcare to help your business respond to and prepare. Experts will take questions and discuss how to ready existing business owners for the effects of the novel Coronavirus.
Supply chain needs
Is your business experiencing supply chain disruptions due to the impact of COVID-19?
Find the manufacturer or supplier your business needs at this link
This database of suppliers contains every kind of thing produced in the state.
Whether you’re a manufacturer who wants to localize your supply chain or a business searching for packaging suppliers, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here. If you are a NC. manufacturer, please register your business at the website.
State employment benefits relating to COVID-19
Contact the N.C. Division of Employment Security at this link or call 888-737-0259
For employees, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security is working to ensure necessary unemployment insurance benefits are available to eligible North Carolinians whose employment is temporarily affected by the coronavirus disease with several specific “flexible interpretations or waivers” as follows:
The one week waiting period for benefits
The able to work and available to work requirements
The work search requirements
The actively seeking work requirements
The “lack of work” requirement of the unemployed provisions
For employers, DES has been directed to not allocate charges to employers’ accounts for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19.
Employers responding to requests for separation information should indicate that the separation was due to COVID-19.
Specific details, including FAQ’s are available at this link
Department of revenue special penalty relief
In response to the federal payment relief, the state Department of Revenue will not impose a penalty upon individuals and businesses who do not pay their outstanding state income tax liability on tax returns due on April 15, 2020, so long as the taxpayers pay the tax due by July 15, 2020
Small Business Administration
SBA approved North Carolina’s disaster declaration related to COVID-19 on March 18. This means that additional SBA resources will be available to help small businesses, small aqua-cultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and/or most private nonprofit organizations.
Eligible applicants may now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans as a result of the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
A business may begin the application process. Applicants are encouraged to apply online at this link
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
These 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. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent.
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Signed by President Trump on March 18, this Bill provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. Major provisions are:
Requires private health plans to provide coverage without cost sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing authorized or approved by the FDA as well as the cost of the visit, including a telemedicine visit.
Requires Medicare Advantage plans to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and the visit that results in the order for the test without cost sharing.
Waives cost sharing for Medicare beneficiaries’ doctor visits to receive or order a COVID-19 diagnostic test. Currently Medicare covers diagnostic laboratory tests with no cost-sharing.
Requires Medicaid and CHIP to cover diagnostic testing for COVID-19, including the cost for the provider visit, with no cost sharing. State expenses for the uninsured for diagnostic testing and the associated provider visit would be covered by the federal government through Medicaid.
The bill provides $1 billion to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, available until expended, to reimburse providers for diagnostic testing for people who are uninsured.
Classifies personal respiratory protective devices for which the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization as “covered countermeasures” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act until October 1, 2024. PREP allows the Department of Health and Human Services to provide liability protections for emergency countermeasure products.
Ensures TRICARE beneficiaries, covered veterans, and federal employees are covered for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of the physician visit.
Provides the Indian Health Service $64 million to cover COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related services.
Each state, including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, may receive an emergency federal medical assistance percentage increase of 6.2 percentage points for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
To be eligible, states are required to provide coronavirus testing coverage with no cost sharing to beneficiaries and meet certain other requirements without placing undue burden on states to change their Medicaid operations in the middle of this crisis.
$500 million for the special supplemental nutrition program for women infants and children.
$400 million for the emergency food assistance program, which helps states and food banks distribute food for low-income people through local agencies.
$250 million for nutrition programs for seniors, including home-delivered meals.
For fiscal year 2020, allows the secretary of agriculture to approve state plans to provide additional, temporary SNAP benefits to families with eligible children, when their schools close for at least five days in a row during a public health emergency.
The amount will be based on the reimbursement value for free or reduced-price meals for each eligible child in the household.
$100 million for nutrition assistance grants for Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
$15 million for the Internal Revenue Service’s taxpayer services or operations support activities for carrying out this act.
Allows the agriculture secretary to grant COVID-19 waivers for certain school meal program requirements to ensure meals are provided despite school closures.
Can waive nutritional content requirements if food supply chains are disrupted. Also allows child and adult food program centers to serve food without requiring participants to gather and eat.
Waives federal SNAP work requirements temporarily but maintains work training program requirements. Provides that the three-month SNAP participation limit for people who do not satisfy the work requirement will restart one month after the declared pandemic emergency has been lifted.
Coronavirus Related Leave
Sets up a paid sick leave requirement for employers with fewer than 500 employees to give to their employees who have the virus; are in quarantine or caring for someone in quarantine; or are caring for a child under 18 whose school is closed.
Full-time workers receive 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time workers receive time equal to the average number of hours they work in each two- week period.
Pay is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for employees with the virus or in quarantine.
Pay is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for employees caring for someone in quarantine or for a child whose school closed.
The required sick leave and family leave are paired with a refundable payroll tax credit to cover these amounts, and the requirement ends December 31.
Amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to set up a temporary emergency paid leave program through December 31.
Requires private employers with fewer than 500 workers and government employers to provide employees up to 12 workweeks of leave, for those who have worked at least 30 days.
Applies if the employee requests leave to take care of a child under 18 whose school or day care facility is closed.
The first 10 days may be unpaid but generally would be covered by the emergency sick leave requirement, or the employee could use vacation leave or other eligible paid leave for these days.
For the rest of the leave, employees would be entitled to at least two-thirds of their regular pay, up to $200 per day and $10,000 total.
Employers will be fully reimbursed for these amounts.
Employers with fewer than 25 employees do not have to reinstate an employee who takes leave if the position no longer exists and the employer tried to put the person in a similar position. Allows the Labor Department to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from this new leave requirement if it would put them in jeopardy.
Provides payroll tax credits for employers required to provide emergency paid sick leave or family medical leave under the bill.
The emergency paid sick leave credit provides a maximum credit ofm $511 per day, for up to 10 days or two weeks, for employees on leave because they have the virus or are in quarantine.
If the employee is on leave to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed, or to care for a person who is in quarantine or seeking medical care, the maximum credit per employee is $200 per day, for up to 10 days or 2 weeks.
The payroll credit for family leave applies to leave required to be paid to employees beyond the 10 sick days, but it only covers wages paid to an employee on leave to take care of a child whose school or day care facility is closed. The family leave credit provides a maximum credit of $200 per day, up to $10,000 or 10 weeks.
Both credits apply against the employer’s portion of the Social Security tax and cover 100 percent of wages required to be paid. Both credits are fully refundable.
Establishes comparable sick leave and family leave income tax credits for self-employed workers, to cover the same coronavirus-related circumstances, days of leave, and wage amounts as the employer credits. The self-employed tax credits are also 100 percent refundable.
Employers in the U.S. possessions and territories are subject to Social Security tax and therefore will be eligible for the employer tax credits on the same basis as U.S.-based employers. Special rules provide for the Treasury to make payments to U.S. possessions and territories to cover the cost of administering comparable sick and family leave credits for the self-employed.
Provides the Treasury with broad authority to issue rules and guidance, including to help businesses manage cash flow to meet the sick leave and family leave requirements.
Provides that the Social Security Trust Fund and Railroad Retirement Fund are held harmless through a general fund transfer.
$1 billion for emergency administration unemployment insurance grants to states.
The states will receive half of their funds within 60 days after meeting conditions, such as requiring employers to tell employees about UI benefits when they separate and letting people apply remotely as well as in person.
States that see at least a 10 percent increase in unemployment claims will receive the rest of the funds.
States are also given authority to make changes to their regular UI practices considering COVID-19, such as waiving job search requirements and eliminating any waiting period.
Provides 100 percent federal funding, up from 50%, for extended unemployment benefits. These additional weeks of benefits begin when a state has a high unemployment rate and when a recipient has exhausted benefits in his or her state.
Lawmakers are now working on the “Phase Three” economic package that is expected to focus on stimulating the US economy. Additional details will be provided as they materialize.
Federal coronavirus tax relief
The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are offering special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020.
The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible.
Although the IRS extended payment deadlines, it did not extend filing deadlines.
For those who can't file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.
Business Link North Carolina Phone: 800.228.8443 or at this link
BLNC staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.
BLNC staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance. All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days.
Halifax Community College, Small Business Center
Phone: 252-536-7274 or on the web at this link
N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services: COVID-19 Recommendations for Businesses and Employers can be found at this link
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers can be found at this link
U.S. Small Business Administration: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
OTHER FUNDING RESOURCES