Gary L. Herman
With the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, non-essential businesses have been forced to close and employees are out work in Alexander County, North Carolina, and across the country. The Alexander County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) offers the following information to assist local businesses and citizens.
As part of the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security) Act passed recently, Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support small businesses and nonprofits in need of working capital for payroll and basic overhead expenses during this time. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%. The PPP loans are being made through local banks and lenders. Visit www.bitly.com/sbapaycheckprotection to learn more and find a lender near you.
The SBA’s Economic Impact Disaster Loan (EIDL) program offers low-interest loans for working capital to small businesses and nonprofits which have been impacted by COVID-19. Applicants can request a $10,000 advance/grant which the SBA will pay within three days of the application. Loans up to $2 million are available. Visit https://covid19relief.sba.gov to complete the application.
For additional information about SBA resources and financial assistance, visit www.bitly.com/sbacoronavirusrelief.
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina has business resources and assistance information online at https://edpnc.com/covid-19-resources. In addition, Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) has dedicated staff for phone inquiries at 800-228-8443. BLNC staff, who are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 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.
The CVCC Small Business Center supports businesses in Alexander and Catawba counties. The SBC is working to support start-up and small business clients in the current COVID-19 coronavirus environment. The SBC is shifting the majority of its programs to webinar format, and will continue to provide confidential business counseling via telephone and video conferencing. If you have questions, visit www.bitly.com/cvccsbc or call 828-327-7000 ext. 4102 to schedule a free confidential counseling appointment.
For employees who have been temporarily laid off or lost a job, the NC Division of Employment Security is working around the clock to process unemployment insurance claims. As of April 3, DES has sent out more than $10 million in unemployment benefits for claims related to COVID-19; however, many are having trouble contacting DES due to the volume of claims. Individuals can file for unemployment benefits online at des.nc.gov. People without internet access should call 888-737-0259 for assistance.
Locally, visit www.alexandercountync.gov/news for additional information.