• COVID19 Information for Businesses

  • Briefing on COVID19 Situation by Local Government & UVBA, March 13, 2020
  • May 15 Update - Main Street Relief Funds Announced for NH Businesses

    Governor Sununu authorized the allocation and expenditure of an initial $400 million in emergency funding from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (“flex funds”) to provide emergency financial relief to New Hampshire small businesses due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. 
     
    Called the Main Street Relief Fund, NH businesses with less than $20 million in revenue are eligible to apply. Businesses need to apply for prequalification between May 15 to May 29. This is a grant program.
     
     
     
    Important Dates & Timeline
    • Mandatory Prequalification Period
    • May 15, 2020 – May 29, 2020
    • Deadline to Submit Completed Prequalification Form May 29, 2020
    • Announcement of Program Specifics June 1, 2020
    • Formal Application Period June 1, 2020 – June 8, 2020
    • Deadline to File Completed Application -June 8, 2020
     
    Businesses will be required to provide information concerning their possible COVID-19-related lost revenues and receipt of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or any other federal relief. 
     
    Healthcare, childcare, and agriculture businesses will not be eligible for this program, however the state has allocated those businesses funds through through other programs.  Information will be forthcoming.
         
    •  
    If a business does not submit a completed prequalification form in a timely manner, it will not be eligible to receive relief under this program. The prequalification form must be submitted online through the website of the    Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery    (GOFERR). In the event that a business does not have access to a computer, with prior notice, they can utilize the public computer in the lobby of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (“DRA”). To seek relief, your business must submit a completed prequalification form by May 29, 2020. However, submitting the required information does not guarantee that your business will receive relief. The final eligibility criteria will not be determined until all prequalifying information is received, after May 29, 2020.
     
    Following the mandatory prequalification period, GOFERR will review all information received and quickly determine relief criteria and amounts that effectively meet the needs of as many New Hampshire small businesses as possible. The specifics of this funding opportunity will be announced on June 1, 2020, and any eligible businesses will need to submit a formal application within one week, by June 8, 2020. The application must be submitted through an online portal administered by DRA. More information about filing the application will be made available at a later date. The DRA will begin processing relief payments shortly after the filing period closes.

     

    May 1 Update

    Governor Sununu issued Stay at Home Orders 2.0. The Stay at Home Order has been extended to May 31 . However, some businesses will be allowed reopen with specific guidelines and protocols. Below is the schedule with links to the guidelines for each industry.

    Allowed to open on May 11:
    Golf Courses - Open to members and NH residents only
    Barbershops & Salons - Services shall be limited to haircuts and root touch-up color services, No blow-drying of hair. 
    Retail Stores - may open their physical facilities to workers, customers, and the public and resume in person operations if they operate in accordance with guidelines.
    Drive In Movie Theaters

    Allowed to open on May 18:
    Restaurants - may open for outdoor dining. Outdoor areas must
    be able to be cleaned and disinfected, as appropriate. The outdoor space must be
    clearly delineated and distanced from the general public. Seated indoor dining is not permitted.

    The State issued general guidance documents for reopening to the following sectors.

    Universal Guidlines for all businesses

    Manufacturing
    Guidelines for Businesses, Organizations and Sectors Continuing to Operate (food service, hospitals, campgrounds).

     

    April 3 UPDATE

     
    Synopsis of EIDL and PPP:
     
    Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL):
    • The SBA is accepting applications for EIDL now. You must apply for this loan online at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
    • If you applied for this loan prior to March 30, and you want to access the $10,000 forgivable funds (essentially a grant), you must apply againonline.
    • EIDL is available to cover loss of revenue, inventory, operating costs.You may borrow up to $2 million at a fixed rate of 3.75% for up to 30 years. $10,000 is forgiveable emergency funds and you will receive these funds within just a few days.
    • EIDL is open to 501c3 nonprofit organizations.
    • You do not need to upload documentation when applying.
    • If you applied before and the system crashed, try again. Clear Your Cache!
     
     
    Existing SBA borrowers (if you had an SBA loan pre-COVID19) - the SBA has a Debt Recovery Initiative whereby you will be able to forgo payments on your loan for 6 months - the SBA will make those payments. This is not a deferrment and will not add extra payments or interest onto your loan. Contact your local lender.
     
    Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
    • This program opens for applications for businesses and 501c3 nonprofit organizations on Friday April 1
    • 1099/Sole Proprietors may begin filing on April 10
    • You apply for this program through your local SBA approved lender. Click Here for List (all our local banks and credit unions are listed).
    • PPP covers payroll and payroll expenses, plus items such as rent/mortgage and utilities.
    • You will need to provide documentation on your average monthly payroll for the last 12 months and most recent tax return.
    • You are allowed to apply for up to 250% of your average weekly payroll + payroll expenses. If at the end of 8 weeks, you have used these funds to keep your employees on payroll (even if they have not been actively working), you may be forgiven the portion of the loan for payroll.
    • If you have already laid off or furloughed employees, you may still apply for PPP and hire them back (again, even if they do not actively work until the Stay at Home order is lifted). The goal of the program is to keep employees on payroll so when we can get back to normal, they are ready.
    The SBA is holding twice daily webinars on these programs.
     
    You may also have some questions if you have laid off employees as to whether it is better to file for PPP or have your employees file for the expanded unemployment benefits. A counselor from the Small Business Development Center can walk you through the programs - contact them here .
     
    It is highly recommended you also talk to your bank. Many are offering special programs, deferred payments and other methods of helping both their existing and new customers.

     

    March 30 UPDATE

    The NH SBA reports that they are waiting for direction as to how the new loan programs associated with the CARES Act will be administered, and are also waiting clarification as to who is eligible. Only those local lenders who are in the Preferred Lender Program will be providing these loans. See List Here.

    Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

    FAQs for Small Businesses

    Information For NonProfits on the CARES ACT

    The US Chamber of Commerce has put out a very easy to understand synopsis of applying for the Emergency Loans. 

    March 27 UPDATE Governor Sununu amended his Stay At Home Order to allow nonessential retail businesses to continue offering curbside pick up of goods or delivery. He also is allowing real estate showings to continue, closings if done virtually and property inspections/appraisals to continue.

    March 26 - Governor Sununu Issues Stay At Home Orders

    List of Essential Businesses that may remain open or operating with conditions.

    On March 13, UVBA held a briefing for businesses with the City of Lebanon and Town of Hanover on local efforts to respond to the spread of COVID19. Many thanks to CATV for the video footage.

    UVBA is currently watching proposed legislation at the federal level concerning a rollback of payroll taxes for both employers and employees and also proposals from Governor Sununu to make temporary changes to NH unemployment benefits. Neither federal nor state proposals have been enacted at this time. When new information is available, we will share links and information at that time.

    Current Resources for Businesses:

    March 19 UPDATE:

    From Senator Shaheen's Office:
     
    Small Business Disaster Loans:
    The NH’s emergency declaration has been approved by the SBA so all counties are EIDL eligible for businesses and nonprofits  Press release . Businesses and nonprofits requiring emergency capital are encouraged to complete the online  loan application  form . These loans have interest rates of 2.75% for nonprofits and 3.75% for small businesses for up to a 30 year period. The first $25k can be loaned without collateral so paid out immediately and there is a 4 month deferment. Businesses do not have to prove that they sought other lenders first.
     
    For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov and website:  www.sba.gov/disaster
     
    The State is asking all impacted businesses and constituents are highly encouraged to report to the Office of Emergency Management’s Joint Information Center by phone at 603-223-6169, or by email at  jic@dos.nh.gov . The report will go on record and fielded to the appropriate response agency. The information collected at the JIC will be instrumental in developing state strategies.
    Unemployment Benefits News from Grafton RDC:
    New Hampshire is making immediate and broad expansions to its unemployment benefits program. This will enable more people to access resources quickly and is information you can pass along to businesses and employees. This information is evolving, so we are bringing you what we know now and encourage you to keep checking New Hampshire Employment Security’s website for more details:   LINK
     
    Layoffs and business closures: If your business faces a potential layoff, the State of New Hampshire offers services through its   Rapid Response program Rapid Response is a comprehensive, collaborative and immediate initiative to respond to and mitigate layoffs and closures. Rapid Response benefits both employers and employees through services to workers who are laid off, as well as layoff aversion information for businesses.
    Employers facing potential layoffs or closures should contact Joe Doiron at  Joseph.Doiron@livefree.nh.gov , 603-271-0146, to activate a Rapid Response team. More information can be found at  NH Works .
     
     
    Vermont businesses should contact https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19
    The Vermont House passed a bill on Friday 3/13/2020, H.681, that makes several changes to the unemployment compensation statutes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill:
     
    • Eliminates the experience rating charge to an employer based upon an employee’s claim due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
    • Provides for no charge for unemployment benefits paid up to a maximum of four weeks because – The employer ceases operation due to COVID-19; or
    • The individual has been requested by a medical professional or the department of health to be isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.
    • An individual must be rehired when the employer resumes operations or upon completion of an individual’s isolation.
    • An individual is not disqualified for benefits if they leave employment to care for a family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
    The bill is now pending in the Senate.
     

    On March 17, Governor Sununu announced that New Hampshire is expanding unemployment benefits. Businesses should file at https://www.nhes.nh.gov/. A hotline has been set up for questions at 603-271-7700. Governor Sununu has temporarily suspended the one-week waiting period for those filing for unemployment benefits per Executive Order #5

    NH Department of Labor – Suspension of Workplace Audits and Inspections

    New Hampshire’s Department of Labor is suspending all workplace audits and/or inspections for the duration of the state of emergency. Exceptions will be if a complaint is filed for non-payment of wages for hours worked or for not having Workers Compensation Insurance coverage for employees working.

     

    NH Employment Security - NHES has programs in place to help businesses who may need to reduce their staffing due to loss of business or because of quarantining. Businesses may be eligible for assistance. Questions should be directed to:

    Deputy Commissioner Richard Lavers, 603-228-4064 or richard.j.lavers@nhes.nh.gov

    NH Working Program

    Small Business Administration - The SBA is offering Economic Injury Diaster Loans to help businesses overcome temporary loss of revenue. Contact the Office of Emergency Management at 603-223-6169 or email jic@dos.nh.gov.  Download SBA info here

    Centers for Disease Control - Download Pandemic Flu Checklist for Workplace Administrators

     

    FEDERAL RESOURCES:

    Federal Resources:
    The US House has unanimously passed H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the US Senate is expected to quickly follow suit. The House passed version includes the following:

    Mandatory Paid Sick Leave/Paid Family Medical Leave:
    Up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave, equal to no less than two-thirds of pay. These benefits only apply to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees, or the government, who are infected by the virus, quarantined, have a sick family member or are affected by school closings. Large employers are excluded, and the Labor Department will have the option of exempting workers at any company with fewer than 50 employees, if it determines that providing paid leave “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” Companies covered by the policy will not foot the bill for paid leave. The government is providing new tax credits to both help offset the costs of accommodating the new mandate and the economic impact of the outbreak.

    No Cost Coronavirus Testing:
    Coronavirus testing will be provided at no cost for individuals. HB 6201 includes waivers to allow the costs of tests to be covered by insurance and federal government programs. It also includes a 6.2-percentage point increase in federal payments to Medicaid for states.

    Emergency Unemployment Insurance Grants:
    $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states to assist with processing and paying unemployment insurance. Half of those funds would be used to provide immediate additional funding to all states for staffing, technology and other administrative costs. The other half would be used for emergency grants to states that experienced at least a 10-percent increase in unemployment.

    Food Security Funding:
    $1 billion for food security programs. Aimed at helping those who may struggle to get access to meals during the pandemic, including those who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks, and the 22 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunch at school.