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March 17, 2020 11:30am

Important COVID-19 Updates for Small Businesses

Actions taken to contain COVID-19 are and will, for some time to come, be disruptive and economically damaging.  But the consequences of not taking such actions with a strong sense of urgency far outweigh the temporary pain and inconvenience they cause. In the short time we can and will adapt our behavior, address our supply chains, preserve our businesses and thrive again. That is what we have done in every crisis before, and we will do it again, together.

Small business help is on the way – Yesterday, Governor Andy Beshear filed an application for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Once processed and approved, small businesses and private, non-profit organizations can apply for up to $2 million in assistance to help alleviate economic losses as a result of COVID-19. For more information, please visit SBA.gov/disaster or contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

For Hoosier small businesses, the Indiana Small Business Development Center is collecting small business economic impact data from every county so that Governor Eric Holcomb can declare an economic injury disaster. For those businesses impacted or anticipating impact by COVID-19, please fill out this form. Information given will only be used to assist in this process and identifying areas of greatest need. For more information, please visit www.isbdc.org.

Here are some additional tips to support our local businesses. For the most up-to-date information on local services, hours and offerings visit LIBA.

  • Give the Gift of Business: Buy a gift card that would cover your usual patronage over the coming weeks. (This can often be accomplished by phone or online.) Then spread out the use of those gift cards to support them as normal or give them away as gifts to people who haven’t been to the business before.
  • Buy Now, Pickup Later: If you had planned on purchasing a manufactured item like clothing or appliance, give the business a call. Pay for it now and have them set it aside for later pickup.
  • Keep Your Membership: If you have a membership to a gym, special class, dance studio, exercise class, Chamber of Commerce, etc. keep it going. Many small businesses count on that constant support to keep their doors open. Your continued support might be what keeps their business alive.

In more news, additional resources are popping up every day to help keep our community informed:

  • GLI’s Advocacy team unpacks what employers need to know about the current version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Stay updated on all of the new news with Mayor Fischer’s latest posts.
  • JCPS will open 43 sites for families to pick up breakfast and lunch while schools are closed.  The district will operate 37 school sites and eight mobile sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only one meal per child present will be allowed. You can access a list of open sites here.
  • Fisher Phillips has recently published a comprehensive guide for best practices and workplace rights/laws now that Coronavirus has been officially designated as a pandemic. They put together a task force of attorneys and others to develop what they think are the best ideas as they relate to employer responsibilities.
  • From crisis management to business impact to managing the health and wellbeing of your workforce, learn what strategies and policies the top employers of the CHRO Roundtable are employing to sustain business function.
  • What is the best way for leaders to manage their teams remotely? Setting expectations, communicating with your team and providing support when needed is critical for success. Learn how to lead your team remotely here.
  • COVID-19 is changing the way we work for the foreseeable future. That means we need to learn to manage differently, including how to manage the loneliness and isolation that can come with remote working.

We asked, and you submitted your questions, so we’ve decided to turn them over to the experts:

Investor Question of the Day: As an employer, we have chosen to pay our hourly staff even though they will be working fewer hours.  For example, if someone normally works 35 hours and now there is only 20 hours of work, we will be paying them for 35 hours.  Will we be the one seeking reimbursement from the federal government or state government (assuming the relief bills at the federal and state level get passed) or should we not do what we are contemplating and have the employees seek relief?

If there’s any possibility employers can keep employees “whole” with respect to their paycheck during this situation, we recommend it. Not every employer will have the financial ability to do this, and that will create hardships for employees living paycheck to paycheck. At this time, the details of federal relief packages are still being developed, and we expect those details to be released in the upcoming days. We expect the relief packages would come in the form of tax reduction for employers on a federal level, and increased state unemployment benefits. As of today (March 17) there’s not been specific details released, so this would be our speculative guess of what may be coming. Amy Letke, Founder & CEOIntegrity HR

At GLI, our mission is to provide value for our investors and we want to hear from you. What questions do you have about how your business should prepare or respond during this COVID-19 crisis?

We will continue to work diligently to present the best, most informative information to you on a regular basis.

Stay safe & healthy,
Sarah Davasher-Wisdom