03/30/20: WBE Tools, Resources, Information and Connections Bulletin March 30 – April 3, 2020

General

  • COVID-19 and Cyber Security
  • Capital One: Small business owners show an incredible amount of courage and grit to run their business every day—and we understand it’s taking every ounce of that strength to problem solve in today’s uncertain time. We want to provide immediate ways to help.
  • Please see a compilation of resources at this link.
  • A licensed psychotherapist and financial wellness advocate for WPO sponsor Prudential offers guidance on managing financial decision-making and maintaining well-being during the unprecedented market turmoil triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Leading through uncertain times requires agility, empathy, and transparent communication. This Crisis Survival Toolkit will help you adapt to changing circumstances. We’ll be making additions to this toolkit daily.
  • The Wage and Hour Division, of the US Department of Labor, provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
  • The Wage and Hour Division, of the US Department of Labor prepared a one-pager on Employee Rights which outlines the new guidelines for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the families first coronavirus Response Act.
  • Kaufman & Canoles, Attorneys at Law discusses Inventory and Analyze Insurance Coverage and Relief Solutions Upfront in the latest Business Client Alert.
  • ProjectN95 launched The National Clearinghouse to connect healthcare providers with critical equipment.

Connecticut

  • The COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit, under the CT state Department of Economic and Community Development, has a phone line dedicated to providing assistance to small businesses. It can be reached at 860-500-2333. Questions specific to small businesses may also be answered by the Joint Information Center at JIC@ct.gov.
  • Governor Lamont launches the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. This is available for businesses with 100 or fewer employees, has a 0% interest rate and has a 12-month term with a 5-month extension per request.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development – NJDOL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Employers & Businesses Should Know.
  •  COVID-19 JOBS & HIRING PORTALThe State is building a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.The first crucial step is to gather details on employers’ immediate hiring needs. We’ve built an intake tool for employers to share this information which can be directly accessed here: https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov/intake.

    You can find more information on intake process on the State’s COVID-19 Business Information Hub: https://cv.business.nj.gov.

    We’re starting the roll-out of this new tool with critical industries like grocery stores, shipping and logistics, healthcare, janitorial services, and warehousing, but over time we’ll expand to work with all industries that need to tap extra deep into New Jersey’s best-in-class talent pool during this extraordinary time.  New Jersey’s  COVID-19 Business Information Portal

New York

  • The State of New York’s disaster declaration was approved on March 19th, which means that the entire state is eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration working capital loans available to small businesses and most private non-profit organizations that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Department of Labor is reminding businesses of its Shared Work Program that can provide an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you’re able to reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group.
  • Many businesses and organizations have expressed a desire to support New York State as it responds to the virus outbreak. Individuals or groups looking to volunteer or contribute to the State’s effort should contact the Governor’s Office at covid19assistance@exec.ny.gov.
  • Empire State Development has set up a web portaland FAQ page for individuals and businesses with business-related COVID-19 issues and questions on this website with all COVID-19 info.
  • New York is taking on coronavirus on all fronts, using digital products, data science, & other tools to ensure we keep New Yorkers safe. If your organization is interested in being a part of the NYS Tech SWAT team.
  • APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF PROGRAM: NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop and NYC Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett announced today that loans are available for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Small businesses have begun applying for relief and can access the application here. The Small Business Continuity Fund offers financial assistance to small businesses in New York City as they deal with various challenges in response to the novel coronavirus.

Maryland

  • Employees are creative protective face shields for hospitals in Maryland
    • I run a call center where employees usually work in an office setting. To support social distancing, I’d like my employees to work remotely, which will require equipment such as reliable headphones and laptops for each employee. If they do not have this equipment, I will need to layoff my staff.
    • I could ask employees to use their personal phones and work remotely, but I do not have the funds to support the cell phone packages. If provided funds to reimburse employees for the increased data usage, my business could avoid layoffs.
    • My employees could work remotely if they had a specific software or computer application, but I cannot afford to purchase. Without this software, I will need to layoff my workforce until we can go back to the office.
    • I need my 8 employees to continue to work on site, but I am concerned about their potential exposure to COVID-19 and cannot afford frequent deep cleaning to help limit potential exposure. If I had funds to support the deep cleaning, it would allow my workers to continue to work and would foster a safer work environment.
    • Due to the impacts of COVID-19, my employees have more down time than usual. If I were able to offer the opportunity for them to take project management training online during this down time, they will increase their skillsets, making them a valuable asset to our company and less likely a candidate for layoff.
      • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund – This $75 million loan fund (for for-profit businesses only) offers no interest or principal payments due for the first 12 months, then converts to a 36-month term loan of principal and interest payments, with an interest rate at 2% per annum. Learn more.
      • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund – This $50 million grant program for businesses and non-profits offers grant amounts up to $10,000, not to exceed 3 months of demonstrated cash operating expenses for the first quarter of 2020. Learn more.
      • Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund – This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) that is urgently needed by hospitals and health-care workers across the country. More details are expected to be announced by Friday, March 27, 2020.UPDATE: Governor Hogan announced new COVID-19 business relief programs on March 23. These resources are available through the Department of Commerce and the Department of LaborThe entire state of Maryland has received designation for SBA assistance. Small businesses can apply here.https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-fund-programsMaryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Programs for Businesses Maryland has authorized $130 million in loan and grant funding for small businesses and manufacturers that have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This emergency assistance provides interim relief and proceeds that can be used to pay cash operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, fixed debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs.If you are a Maryland-based business impacted by the Coronavirus with under 50 full- and part-time employees, or a Maryland manufacturer, check out the programs below to see if you qualify for assistance.

      http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml

      COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund – Workforce Development and Adult Learning

      Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Department of Labor have launched the new COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, which is designed to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs. The award (up to $50,000 per applicant), will be a quick deployable benefit and customizable to the specific needs of your business to minimize the need for layoffs.

      Labor is accepting grant applications from small businesses for awards from now through 30 days after the State of Emergency ends (subject to funding availability).

      How can it help me?

      ✔ Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing remote access (ex. computers, printers, etc.) equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home versus being laid off;

      ✔ Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home;

      ✔ Supporting businesses that take advantage of the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program by supplementing the employee’s income and benefits;

      ✔ Providing funds to cover the costs of cleaning/sanitization services so that small businesses are able to keep employees at work on site, but only if a frequent deep cleaning to prevent exposure occurred;

      ✔ Paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under emergency circumstances;

      ✔ Providing funds for training or professional development opportunities for employees to avoid layoffs; and

      ✔ Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs in the small business community.

      Examples of how a business may demonstrate the need for layoff aversion funds:

  • Get Started Now!View the One PagerCOVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund Policy

    COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund Application (Excel)

    Submit your completed application to: LaborCOVID19.layoffaversion@maryland.gov.

    Labor staff will process applications within two business days of receipt. Upon approval and receipt of signed contract, payment will be expedited.

    For More Information…
    Contact the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning.

Virginia

  • Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. The Governor has also outlined these additional measures to ensure the health and safety of all Virginians. Effective at midnight on Tuesday, March 24 certain non-essential businesses must close or have restricted operations.
  • The Virginia Chamber of Commerce has a comprehensive overview of resources developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to ensure your business and your employees have the necessary information to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Washington, DC

  • Mayor Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia are investing $25 million in the COVID-19 Recovery Effort and the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program, which will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

  • On March 24th, 2020, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed  “Mayor Order 2020-053 Closure of Non-Essential Businesses and Prohibition on Large Gatherings.”  This order defines essential businesses and remains in effect through April 24, 2020.
  • A message from the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA), Director Elliot J. Tommingo – DC veterans, veteran family members, and their caregivers, I know these are trying and uncertain times.  As veterans, we are used to overcoming hardship, but that shouldn’t discount the new challenges we face as a community.  I am proud of Mayor Bowser and HSEMA’s leadership, the DC VA Medical Center response, and most importantly our first responders and medical professionals risking their own health as our “boots on the ground”.  MOVA’s office remains open at 441 4th St NW, Suite #707N, M-F 9am – 5pm.  We are accepting walk-ins for VetsRideprogram enrollment, computer lab usage, and scheduling appointments for claims, pathways to work, and vocational rehabilitation occurring after April 24th, 2020.  Please give us a call at 202-724-5454 for any questions.
  • Small Business Relief: The Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia are investing $25 million in the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program, which will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The microgrants will be available to businesses, non-profits, and independent contractors or self-employed individuals. Grants will provide financial support for expenses such as employee wages and benefits, rent, and other operating costs. The program will provide support up to $25,000.

Applications and information on the microgrants program can be found at:

https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business.

    • Federal SBA Support: Last week, Mayor Bowser also announced the S. Small Business Administration (SBA) accepted the District of Columbia’s declaration for assistance in the form of economic injury disaster loans following the advent of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and DC businesses can apply. While the SBA directly administers this loan program, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), led by Director Kristi Whitfield, is the liaison with the SBA on behalf of the District of Columbia. More information on SBA loans can be found at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business.
    • Unemployment Benefits Waivers: The Department of Employment Services (DOES) is taking action to allow more workers to file for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits during the public health emergency. DOES is in the process of updating statutory eligibility requirements for workers impacted by COVID-19. Updates will include waivers for:
    • the seven-day waiting period to receive benefits
    • the work search requirement for those affected by COVID-19 (included in Council emergency legislation); and
    • additional flexibility with the requirement to be able and available to work.

These waivers will expand coverage and ensure a faster turnaround period for District workers who have become unemployed or partially unemployed, as a result of COVID-19. When implemented, the waivers will remain in effect until the end of the public health emergency.

Based on the increase in call volume and wait times, DOES encourages residents and workers to visit does.dc.gov to review important information with regard to UI benefits and workplace rights. Similarly, claimants are encouraged to apply for unemployment insurance benefits online at dcnetworks.org, using a desktop or laptop.

    • For Veterans in the DC Area: If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, call 202-745-8000, option 3, before you visit the medical center. Consider using virtual care options such as telehealth or My HealtheVet Secure Messaging. To minimize risk for Veterans and employees, everyone who enters the DC VAMC campus will be pre-screened for COVID-19. This may lengthen entry times, so please plan accordingly.

The SE DC Community Clinic located on 820 Chesapeake St., will be temporarily closed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 to protect the health and safety of Veterans co-located on the campus.

Coronavirus can spread not only illness, but stress and anxiety, too. If you’re feeling uncertain or fearful, see these practical steps you can take to improve your well-being. https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/72665/veterans-stressed-coronavirus/.

If you feel you are in crisis, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/ 7 by phone, chat or text.  Visit: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.

Webinars and Townhalls

  • WPEO Lunch with the Experts: Join WPEO for a Lunch with the Experts webinar each Tuesday. Hear from an expert and submit your questions for a Q&A session as we navigate business challenges during this unprecedented time.
  • WIPP Webinar: The Intersectionality of COVID-19 and the Small Business Community. COVID-19: Monday March 30, 2:00pm EST presenters Barbara (Barb) Carson, Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Government Contracting at the U.S. Small Business Administration and Courtney Fairchild, President & CEO, Global Services, Inc; Vice Chair, WIPP Board of Directors. COVID-19: Managing Team Dynamics & Morale.
  • Navigating a Disrupted Workforce: A Discussion on Procurement’s Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic Tuesday, March 31 from 2PM – 3:30PM(brought to you by NIGP) Register Today
  • The Corona Virus Impact on Global Supply Chain– What you can do to help mitigate risk for your organization. (brought to you by ASCM, the Association for Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Canada – Available on YouTube)
  • Leadership Communication in a Crisis Thursday, April 2 11:00am EST.
  • Navigating Your Business Through Turbulent Times. a special thought leadership webinar to learn how small and midsize business leaders can navigate the current economic climate to stabilize operations, survive a downturn and position your business to take full advantage of a recovery. Thursday April 2, 1:00pm EST.
  • Webinar – Why Remote Work Makes Teams and Leaders Better Thursday, April 9 11:00am EST.

Tools You can Use

  • How to conduct a remote interview  – As a potential employer, you may already be used to conducting remote interviews, but when all your interviews are remote, what are things you should keep in mind to still get the same impact? Find out in this blog.
  • Why and how to measure disengagement right now – Administering an engagement survey is a great way to get the clarity and data needed to help you navigate uncertainty and make the right decisions for your business.
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