COVID-19 Resources for Businesses & Employers

Business Interruption Grants

The Arkansas CARES Act Committee has established the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program to support businesses in the service & hospitality industries negatively impacted due to government COVID-19 directives. Eligible businesses include business that were closed and/or had restricted operations due directly to Executive Order by the Governor or a Directive by the AR Department of Health. Impacted businesses can apply for up to $250,000 in funds to help with a variety of businesses expenses incurred during COVID-19 including payroll, PPE expenses, utilities, and marketing. Business that may have received funds from previous programs such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Paycheck Protection Program, and Ready for Business grants are eligible to apply, but BIG grants cannot be used for expenses those programs already covered (NO DOUBLE DIPPING).

The application period for the BIG program begins Monday November 16, at 8:00 am and runs through Wednesday November 25, at 11:59 pm.  While this is not  a first come first served basis and will not be reviewed until after the application period has ended; you should apply as soon as possible to ensure you have all the required documents.

Click here to apply.

Free resources available to help explain the BIG program:

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center Webinar (click here to access just the slides)

Downloadable PDF of Grant Rules

Applicant Checklist

FAQ Sheet

BIG Help Hotline: 888-722-1554

 

COVID-19 Business Tax Relief Tool 

The Taxpayer Advocate Service, a division of the IRS, has launched a new business tax relief tool to assist businesses in understanding new laws that provide tax relief and assistance to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). To see if your business can take advantage of this assistance and relief you just need to do is answer a few questions about your business by clicking the link below.

COVID-19 Business Tax Relief Tool 

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application and Guide

The Treasury has released a streamlined PPP loan forgiveness application for loans under $50,000 (Form 3508S). The application is a simple two-page form that requests basic information like EIN, SBA loan number, and PPP loan amount. You can find a copy of the application and instructions at the links below. Applicants must make the following certifications:

  1. The forgiveness amount requested doesn’t exceed the original loan amount AND the loan was used for eligible costs (payroll, eligible interest, rent, utilities), 60% or more is payroll costs, and the funds did not exceed the 8-week or 24-week covered period compensation caps.
  2. Acknowledgment that the federal government can pursue recovery for fraud.
  3. Calculations and amounts are certified to be accurate.
  4. Supporting documentation (payroll summaries, tax forms, bank statements, invoices, etc.) has been submitted to the lender.
  5. The information and documentation provided is true and correct.
  6. The tax forms submitted to the lender are consistent with what will be reported to the IRS and state agencies.
  7. Acknowledgment that the SBA has the ability to request additional info.

Chamber member Landmark Certified Public Accountants has provided a guide on how to fill out the loan forgiveness application for PPP loans.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Guide--Provided by Landmark Certified Public Accountants

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application--Provided by Landmark Certified Public Accountants

Arkansas Department of Health--Steps to Take When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

The Arkansas Department of Health recently issued a checklist of steps a business should take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.  You can access the guide by clicking here or the link below.  Thank you to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce for providing this file.

Steps to Take When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

CARES Act Related Resources and Programs

Update from the US Treasury Dept. on Small Business Programs.

Financial Resources for Small Businesses

The CARES Act has approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses to help them keep workers employed. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some—or possibly any—of the loan. We encourage you and your members to utilize the U.S. Chamber's Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist to help answer common questions and navigate the process.

Arkansas Executive Orders

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed three new Executive Orders on June 15, 2020 related workman's compensation, access to healthcare during COVID-19, and protecting Arkansas businesses from liability related to COVID-19.  You can read each of the Executive Orders below:

Click here to read EO 20-33: For the Purpose of Protecting Arkansas Businesses from Liability Related to COVID-19

Click here to read EO 20-34: For the Purpose of Ensuring Access to Healthcare During COVID-19 

Click here to read EO 20-35: For the Purpose of Clarifying Worker's Compensation Law

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The Chamber has compiled a list of local companies that have self-identified as providers of PPE. Click here to access the resource list.

Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Updates

The US Small Business Administration has made updates to the PPP program to reflect changes addressed in the recently passed PPP Flexibility Act of 2020.  The follow changes can be reviewed by clicking the links below.  Thank you to Chamber member Landmark CPA for putting together the relevant documents for use.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application (Revised June 16, 2020) and Instructions for Borrowers (Revised June 16, 2020)

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508EZ and Instructions for Borrowers 

Information on the SBA's Interim Final Rule for PPP Loans

 

Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 

The US Small Business Administration has released a loan forgiveness application for any businesses that received a PPP loan. To apply for forgiveness of your PPP loan, you (the Borrower) must complete this application as directed in these instructions, and submit it to your lender (or the lender that is servicing your loan). Borrowers may also contact their lender directly to complete this form.

Click here to access the application and worksheet.

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

US Chamber of Commerce PPP Forgiveness Guide

This morning, the U.S. Chamber published a new Paycheck Protection Program Guide to Forgiveness. Like our previous guides, this document provides businesses with an easy to understand explanation of what they need to do to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans. Please note, this guide will be updated as new guidance is issued by the Dept. of the Treasury.

You can access the US Chamber's PPP Forgiveness page by clicking here.

You can download the guide directly by clicking here.

Arkansas Ready for Business Grants

The Arkansas Ready for Business Grant program will provide direct grants to businesses for expenses associated with ensuring the health and safety of employees and patrons.  The program will utilize federal funds provided to the State of Arkansas through the CARES Act and provides funds for Arkansas business to receive funds to help ensure health and safety of employees and patrons.

 

The US Chamber of Commerce has released a new information website and downloadable information on Unemployment Insurance under the CARES Act, Health Coverage Options, and a resource on OSHA's Response to Workplace Safety and Coronavirus Exposure.  You can access these pages by clicking below.

 

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program

The Senate passed a nearly $500 billion coronavirus "Phase 3.5" relief bill that would replenish the small business rescue program known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), provide hospitals with another $75 billion and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy.  We will keep this page updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

As part of the CARES Act a program called the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows for businesses to receive traditional loans that can be converted into forgivable loans under certain circumstances. The following links have additional information on the PPP.  

Congressional Action

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a $2.2 trillion relief package that will provide loans to small businesses, direct financial checks to many Americans, expanded unemployment insurance and much more. Chamber members Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP has issued guidance for businesses on the CARES Act:

 

Small Business Administration Resources and Programs

Small Business Administration Financial Resources

The Small Business Administration has a variety of programs designed to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus. You can speak directly to an SBA representative by calling (800) 621-3362 or click the links below for more information.

SBA Express Lending

This is a program through SBA that matches companies with SBA-approved lenders based on needs. Quicker turnaround for more immediate needs. Loan program through a private lender.

 

Other Resources and Programs 

US Chamber of Commerce 

The US Chamber of Commerce has created a resource page for small businesses that explores alternative funding options for businesses impacted by COVID-19.  You can click the link below to access this information.

State of Arkansas Funds

Governor Hutchinson has allocated $16 million in funds to help Arkansas small businesses reduce the economic impact brought about by the COVID-19 virus. You can apply by calling 501.682.1121 or by e-mailing COVID19.businessinfo@ArkansasEDC.com.

Quick Action Loan Program 

  • Allocates $4,000,000 from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund
  • Eligible companies may apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000.
  • Prioritize small to medium-sized companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services (including healthcare, food manufacturing, logistics)

 

 

Guidance for Employers

Plan and Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following guidance may help prevent workplace exposure to acute respiratory illnesses, including the coronavirus, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 

Recovery Readiness: A How-To Guide For Reopening Your Workplacefrom Cushman & Wakefield

 

 

 

Resource for Employers

Arkansas Sales and Use Tax Portal

Essential Critical Workforce Guidelines

 Department of Labor Fact Sheets regarding FMLA

 Department of Labor Workplace Posters

 

Resource for Employees

Unemployment Insurance

If you become separated from employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may file an unemployment insurance claim immediately through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (DWS). New laws have streamlined this process for employees furloughed or laid off to waive the waiting period for unemployment filing as well as other restrictions that normally apply.

To file your claim online, visit the DWS EZARC page: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ezarc/ or call 1-855-225-4440 or 501-682-2121

The State of Arkansas has set up a hotline to assist people in making unemployment claims by calling 844-908-2178 

For more information, visit the DWS website: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment

 

Hark Organization 

The Endeavor Foundation's Hark Organization is dedicated to connecting people to vital community resources, including the Catalyst Fund financial assistance program.  You can learn more about these resources here:

 For employees needing access to health insurance during this time, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

Hand Washing Tips from Medical Professionals

 

 

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Workplace Tips for Employees

The following are links are for general workplace health and safety information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Get the latest Arkansas specific information from the Arkansas Department of Health:

Click below for the latest Coronavirus updates from the US Chamber of Commerce:

Have Business-Related Questions, Ideas, or Stories to Share with the Arkansas State Chamber about the Coronavirus?

AEDC is committed to helping businesses and employees combat the effects of COVID-19 and to that effort, has compiled a list of programs and resources we will continue to update as additional resources become available:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

 

 

 

 

 

Congressional Action

The Senate and House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and President Trump signed the measure into law. The $2.2 trillion relief package will provide loans to small businesses, direct financial checks to many Americans, expanded unemployment insurance and much more. 

Chamber members Friday Eldredge & Clark LLP has issued guidance for businesses, banking, and healthcare industries on the CARES Act:

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was recently signed into law and provides paid leave, establishes free testing, protects public health workers, and provides important benefits to children and families.  You can read the US Chamber's summary of the Act and its provisions by clicking the link below.

 

State of Arkansas Business Resources

The Governor has allocated $16 million to help Arkansas small businesses reduce the economic impact brought about by the COVID-19 virus. Companies can contact the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Business Development team to answer specific questions and to begin the application process at 501.682.1121 or by e-mailing COVID19.businessinfo@ArkansasEDC.com (these platforms are live and being monitored continuously)

A break down of the available programs and how to apply to receive funding is directly listed below:

Quick Action Loan Program 

  • Allocation of $4,000,000 from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund
  • Eligible companies may apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000.
  • Prioritize small to medium-sized companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services (including healthcare, food manufacturing, logistics)

 

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Up to $12 million in CDBG assistance will be made available for COVID19 relief and recovery. This money will be used to provide grants to eligible local governments with which to provide direct economic assistance in the form of loans to companies impacted by COVID19 and grants to clinics, hospitals and other non-profits who are working hard to provide care in rural Arkansas and to vulnerable populations such as the homeless. AEDC is undertaking necessary regulatory steps required by the federal government to implement this assistance. You can visit the AEDC resource page (www.arkansasedc.com/COVID-19) to stay updated as more information becomes available.

 

Statement from NWA Healthcare Providers:

The healthcare community of Northwest Arkansas issued a joint press release regarding the COVID-19 virus along with resources and best practices to stay healthy. You can read this statement by clicking here.

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