COVID-19 Resource Center

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*** Udpated April 4, 2020***

RESOURCES FOR IMPACTED BUSINESS

North Louisiana Economic Partnership is working with the State of Louisiana to monitor and assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. NLEP is supporting the efforts of Louisiana Economic Development (LED) to promote business continuity, aimed at safeguarding economic, as well as public health. To provide assistance to our impacted businesses, NLEP has created this information hub to provide useful information about resources available to businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.  Some important links to key disaster relief programs follow to help you quickly browse the Resource Center:

Business Assistance Programs

Paycheck Protection Program

***SBA Paycheck Protection Program Applications NOW being Accepted***

Following the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Treasury rolled out the $34 billion Paycheck Protection Progam (PPP) to help small businesses, 501(c)3 nonprofits and other qualifying organizatons and individuals maintain their payrolls and keep workers on staff amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The 100% federally guaranteed, low-interest loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterwards, essentially converting the loans into grants for eligible expenditures. The SBA has begun accepting applications from lenders to small businesses and sole proprietiors on April 3rd. Applications from independent contractors and self-employed individuals will be accepted, starting April 10. Read Details>>>

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. You can apply for the loan at any SBA 7(a) lender or FDIC insured bank. The 5 percent processing fee will be paid by the SBA and interest rates range from 1 to 4 percent.  

  • THE APPLICATION FOR BORROWERS CAN BE FOUND HERE>>>
  • For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE>>>

  • SBA interim rules HERE>>>

  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE>>>
     

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

The U. S. Small Business Administration issued an official disaster declaration for Louisiana small businesses, adding a link to their website to begin receiving applications to address revenue losses related to COVID-19. Low-interest loans with long-term repayment programs are available for up to $2 million for impacted small businesses. To get started immediately, visit SBA.gov/Disaster>>>.  For a summary of SBA disaster loans, Read Details>>>.  SBA staff advise the process will take approximately 30-45 days to begin receiving funds and are encouraging applications immediately. Small businesses are also advised to call your lenders. Your current bank may already be able to offer immediate bridge loan assistance or defer existing loan payments.

SBA Tax Deferment: SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020 for borrowers still paying back SBA disaster loans from previous disasters such as the 2016 floods and Hurricanes Gustav, Ike, Katrina, or Rita. Borrowers of home and business disaster loans do NOT have to contact SBA to request deferment.

SBA has shared the following information related to the COVID-19 disaster loans:

Contact: SBA Louisiana District Office, 504-589-6685

If you need help applying for the SBA disaster relief loan, small businesses can obtain assistance to apply for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the Louisiana Small Business Development Centers.  In Northeast Louisiana, call the LSBDC at ULM at 318-342-1224 or register online. In Northwest & Central Louisiana, call the LSBDC at BPCC at 318-678-6142 or register online.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Read Details>>>

Terms:
  • Up to $25,00
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office>>>.
 

Loan Support for Larger Entities (500–10,000 Employees)

The stimulus bill also calls for the creation of a loan and loan guarantee program via a new Industry Stabilization Fund specifically targeting “mid-size” organizations, defined as having between 500 and 10,000 employees. This provision, unlike the emergency SBA loan program, does not provide loan forgiveness, but does mandate an interest rate of no higher than two percent and would not accrue interest or require repayments for the first six months. 
 

Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To help Main Street and rural businesses sustain operations, the loans will require no payments for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent. Read Full Press Release>>>

For Businesses:
Interested businesses can learn more about these loans by clicking here, and a list of participating bankers will be posted on the website by Friday as banks complete their participation agreements.

For Lenders:
Other lenders interested in participating should contact LED by calling Business Development Manager Kelly Raney at 225.342.0411 or by emailing her at LEDSmallbizloans@la.gov
 

Tax Credit and Deferment Programs

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit 

This federal payroll tax credit allows a credit of up to $5,000 for each employee on the payroll when certain conditions are met. The entity had to be an ongoing concern at the beginning of 2020 and had seen a drop in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019. The availability of the credit would continue each quarter until the organization’s revenue exceeds 80 percent of the same quarter in 2019. For tax-exempt organizations, the entity’s whole operations must be taken into account when determining the decline in revenues. Notably, employers receiving emergency SBA 7(a) loans would not be eligible for these credits. Section 2301.

Refundable Payroll Tax Credits

The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, March 18, 2020. Read Details>>>   

Employer Portion of Federal Payroll Deferment 

Delays Payroll Tax Payments for Employers. Employers will be able to delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, leading to approximately $300 billion of extra cash flow for businesses.
 

How You Can Help: Become a Vendor for Disaster Relief

State of Louisiana

Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center Vendor Information: Businesses seeking to help meet the needs of the state during this challenging time, should access the following link and register as a vendor in the LaGov vendor system. Read Details>>>>   During the registration process, you will be able to select all of the commodities that your company is able to provide. Read A step-by-step guide for contracting during disasters>>>.  

The State of Louisiana will be issuing a Request for Quotes (RFQs) through the Louisiana Procurement and Contract Network (LaPAC), through an on-line electronic bid posting and notification system, for the supplies/services currently needed.  LaPAC will automatically send an e-mail notification to all of the vendors registered for that specific commodity.  You will then be able to submit your pricing and availability electronically.

Federal Government

Federal Emergency Management Agency is directing suppliers and donors that have asked how they can help in the COVID-19 relief efforts to the following website: Read details>>>

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov.

  • If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.

SBIR/STTR  Phase I Proposals Responding to COVID-19 Crisis

The Division of Innovation and Industrial Partnerships (IIP) of the Engineering Directorate invites U.S.-based small businesses to submit Phase I proposals focused on the development and deployment of new technologies, products, processes, and services with the potential to positively impact the nation’s and world’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Areas of research that might be considered include, but are not limited to: artificial intelligence, digital health, diagnostics, distributed ledger, environmental technologies, medical devices, pharmaceutical technologies, disinfection and sterilization, and filtration and separations. Interested proposers are invited to submit to the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Program. Learn more here>>>

A webinar to discuss this opportunity is Tuesday, 3/31 at 1 pm (CST)  Register here>>>

Employer FAQs

Kean Miller is maintaining a Louisiana Legal Blog for employers. Learn More
Butler Snow addresses frequently asked questions for employers. Learn More
Carr, Riggs, and Ingram is maintaining an active list of resources. Learn More
Thomas, manufacturing resources. Learn more


Government Actions

State Governments/Louisiana Economic Development

Governor Edwards formally extended his Stay at Home order until April 30, as Louisiana works to slow the spread of COVID-19, extending the length of time that schools and some businesses are closed. The order also continues to limit the size of gatherings. 

The updated proclamation unites several proclamations the Governor issued in March, extending them to April 30th. A separate order relating to unemployment is forthcoming. Guidelines for funeral services and licensure for healthcare workers were already extended to April 30th in the proclamation that was issued earlier this week. School closures will continue through April 30 and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is in the process of determining what could potentially happen beyond April 30.

  • To read the updated order, click here>>>.

  • The definition of essential personnel has been tightened in the newest set of guidelines issued by Homeland Security. Read updated guidelines>>>

  • Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new text alert system that will provide timely COVID-19 updates and other critical guidance directly from the governor’s office to Louisiana residents.Louisianans can opt-in to the new system today by texting ‘LACOVID’ to 67283.

Travel Restrictions

Texas Governor Abbott issued an executive order restricting all personal travel into Texas from anywhere in Louisiana. Commercial traffic is not being impeded. Every person who enters the State of Texas through roadways from Louisiana, or from any other state as may be proclaimed hereafter, shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter.  Oklahoma and Florida are also restricting travel from Louisiana. 

State Tax Deferments & Relief

  • The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) extended the deadline for state income taxes to July 15, 2020. The extension applies to Louisiana individual, corporation, fiduciary and partnership income tax returns and payments.Read Details >>>

  • Louisiana  extended the deadline to file and pay the February 2020 sales tax returns to May 20, 2020. This is an automatic extension and no extension request is necessary. 

Moratorium on Policy Cancellations/Non-Renewals for Policyholders

  • Defines the insurance carriers and the kinds of insurance coverage governed by this order as well as the Louisiana policyholders entitled to the benefits and protections of this rule.

  • Suspends cancellation, non-renewal and non-reinstatement by insurers, or premium finance companies acting on behalf of insurers retroactively to the start of this emergency period. Additionally, this rule clarifies that no policy can be canceled or non-renewed because of a claim that is filed during this emergency.

  • Policies may continue to be canceled for fraud and material misrepresentation or upon written request by the consumer.

  • Insureds remain obligated to pay all premiums. Any property and casualty claim during this period are subject to a premium offset prior to payment. Health and accident claims related to a delinquent policy may be pended during the moratorium and will be paid in accordance with procedures established therein.

  • Emergency Rule 40 does not apply to new policies issued after the effective date of the rule.

  • The full text of Emergency Rule 40 can be found here.

  • State Business Support Task Force Update (March 16th-20th)-  LED and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness office, with the assistance of Genea Lathers, Planning Branch Manager prepare a weekly document with updated information for various state agencies to keep business and industry stakeholders informed on current activities.  Read Here>>>

Other State Resources

  • LED has set up a business hotline 225.342.4321 that will be open daily from 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. help address questions businesses have related to the impact of the coronavirus.  

Federal Government 

New Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family & Medical Leave Implementation The U.S. The Department of Labor issued new guidance on how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective , April 1, 2020.

The FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 workers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. In general, employers must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work due to quarantine or illness or up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 2/3 the regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because of caregiving. Most employers must also provide up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee's regular rate of pay for caregiving. As of April 1st, employers must display the new law on a poster in their workplace. Download here>>

Passed Legislation

The U.S. Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which the President signed into law, providing disaster relief to businesses and individuals. NLEP has joined with our state Regional EDOs to push for the Payroll Protection Act, the centerpiece of the stimulus package. Read details>>> Factsheet here>>>. Bill section by section here>>>. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here>>>. 

  • Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)
  • Supplemental I – Coronavirus Supplemental
  • Signed by the President March 6. Read Details>>>, summary here>>>

Regulatory Relief & Deadline Extensions

  • The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available. Learn more here>>

  • OMB issued M-20-17 on March 19, 2020, which allows federal agencies to ease administrative requirements and offer extensions for reporting procedures and other requirements.  Read Details>>>

  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have issued Questions and Answers for their various programs. Read Details on Multifamily Housing Program>>>
  • Technology Resources Federal Emergency Management Agency extends grace period for flood insurance renewal premiums. Read details>>>

Other Resources 

COVID-19 Cyber Alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

  • On March 6, 2020 the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an alert reminding individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19. Review CISA Insights on Risk Management for COVID-19 for more information.

Telework Guidance

  • On March 13, 2020, CISA released an alert encouraging organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity when considering alternate workplace options for their employees. Remote work options—or telework—require an enterprise virtual private network (VPN) solution to connect employees to an organization’s information technology (IT) network. 

  • Review Enterprise Security VPN Alert for more information.

 


WORKFORCE

State Government / Louisiana Workforce Commission 

**Updated 4/3/20**

Unemployment Insurance Policy Changes for Employers

  • (New) LWC announces additional deferral for 2020 first quarter unemployment wage and tax reports to June 30. The LWC previously announced that it was granting Louisiana employers a temporary deferral from paying their first quarter 2020 unemployment taxes until June 30. The latest deferral now makes both the wage and tax reports and the 1Q 2020 unemployment tax payment due at the same time, rather than having an earlier deadline for wage and tax report submissions.Learn more here.

Unemployment Insurance Policy Changes for Employees

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has released its newest policies amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and more people may be eligible for unemployment insurance under those rules. You MAY be eligible for unemployment insurance, if the following situation applies to you: 

  • If your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • If your workplace closes temporarily, and you are not being compensated.

  • If you have been instructed not to go to work, and you are not being paid while at home.

You can file a claim at www.louisianaworks.net/hire or by calling a LWC Claim Center at 866-783-5567. Effective March 17, 2020, LWC Claim Centers have extended hours to 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Read Details about Louisiana Workforce Commission COVID Assistance for Employers and Workers>>>

Read Details on Employers Frequently Asked Questions>>>

La Workforce Commission Survey

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has developed a brief survey in order to collect information and data that will allow LWC to better support the state's employers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Take the Survey Here>>>

Federal Government

Federal Stimulus Checks

Direct payments ranging from $1,200 for single filers and heads of household or $2,400 for joint filers, with an additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child will be going out in a few weeks. Recipients must have adjusted gross income (AGI) under $75,000 (single), $150,000 (joint), or $112,500 (heads of household) using 2019 tax return information. Use this Tax Foundation Rebate Calculator to see potentially how much you could be receiving. (When visiting the Tax Foundation webpage, scroll to the bottom for the calculator.)

Expanded Unemployment Insurance

Changes in the this federal unemployment insurance expands eligilibity, including coverage for workers who are furloughed, gig workers, and freelancers. The program Increases payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what state unemployment programs pay.

Federal Student Aid COVID-19 Response

To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers can be placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. Read the borrower Q&As on the website of the Federal Student Aid office to learn more, and contact your loan servicer to find out your specific options.

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL)

The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) provides funds of up to $2 million to help an eligible small business meet its ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to, because an essential employee was called-up to active duty in his or her role as a military reservist. Learn More about Reservists Economic Injury Loans

Who is Hiring 

**Updated 4/3/20**

We will be regularly updating a list of companies that are surge hiring because of COVID-19 impacts. If your company is currently hiring, please email Angie White at awhite@nlep.org. We will be sharing these opportunities on our social media pages. Click on the links below to learn more about these job opportunities:

Job Boards:

La Workforce Commission Survey

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has developed a brief survey in order to collect information and data that will allow LWC to better support the state's employers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Take the Survey Here>>>
 

Community Resources

Parish/City Government

  • Bossier Parish: Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting and all committee meetings scheduled for April 1, 2020 are canceled due to Governor Edwards Statewide Stay At Home Executive Order. The parish courthouse remains closed to the public.

  • Bossier City has closed the Bossier City Municipal Complex  to the public. The City departments and divisions can be contacted by phone. Additionally, the Bossier City website should be used to make payments and set up new water services. The self-service online resources are available 24/7 here

  • Bossier & Webster Parishes:  Both the Clerks of Court’s office and the Judges’ offices in Bossier and Webster Parishes will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Clerks’ office will be open during those hours to receive emergency filings such as Protective Orders, Emergency Custody Orders pursuant to Code of Procedure 3945, emergency interdictions, and matters of public health related to COVID-19. Protective Order hearings will be held as scheduled. Contact those agencies at 26th Judicial District Judges Office: (318) 965-2217; Clerk of Court: (318) 965-2336; www.bossierclerk.com.

  • Caddo Parish: The Parish of Caddo has limited access to the 8th floor of Government Plaza until further notice. Parish services in Government Plaza (8th floor) such as adjudicated properties, all permits, and all licenses will be processed by phone, online or mail. The Parish will only be collecting payments for these services by phone or by mail, online

  • Caddo SheriffCommunity  Updates 

  • The City of Monroe has dedicated a webpage to information regarding COVID 19. An extensive listing of business assistance resources, information on community resources and information on the various departments of city government can be accessed here

  • The City of Ruston Customer Service and Utility Billing office has temporarily closed its indoor payment collection counter.  All payments by cash, check and credit/debit card can be made through the drive-through from M-F 7:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M, or by dropbox, phone, or on Ruston’s online payment portal at www.ruston.org. Credit/debit card payments can be paid  24/7 via the automated phone system at 1-866-890-5755. Call 318-251-8675 for more information.

  • City of Shreveport
    • Mayor Adrian Perkins Orders Issues Emergency Declaration, declaring a Public Health Emergency for the City of Shreveport. This declaration was filed with the Clerk of Court's office earlier today. It takes effect April 2, 2020 at 6:00 PM and remains in effect until May 2, 2020 at 6:00 AM. The Mayor's Emergency Declaration includes the following order: "Restaurants, as defined in the Unified Development Code, shall limit their operations to curb-side or drive-thru pickup, with patrons remaining in their vehicles at all times." Read Press Release
    • Shreve.biz, a help desk for Shreveport and Caddo area businesses navigating the economic strains imposed by the COVID-19 crisis. The Shreve.biz website contains useful information about the various forms of financial assistance available to businesses, and in-depth support for small businesses is available via phone and video. A volunteer team consisting of local professionals with banking, accounting, legal, and business backgrounds will offer free, private, one-on-one counseling for local business owners and managers. These volunteers will be equipped to answer common questions and help business owners understand and access SBA Disaster Loans, federal stimulus dollars, and private credit options.
    • The  City of Shreveport has scaled back to essential personnel at Government Plaza and all government facilities. Citizens are encouraged to contact City Departments by phone.
    • Click to file permits electronically: E-Permitting
    • The City of Shreveport is encouraging citizens to pay their bills online

  • The City of West Monroe City Hall will be closed to the public, but employees will still be available to answer questions and provide services. Call City Hall at (318) 396-2600 for assistance. Other city buildings will have limited access by the public. Other city offices and programs will continue to operate.  Citizens should contact each city department for any questions about services available: 318-396-2600.

  • City of Natchitoches: All access to city buildings are  restricted to the public for the safety of the employees and citizens until further notice. 

  • Natchitoches Parish Property Taxes:
    • There are two options to make parish property tax payments:  Mail-in payments. Payments may be cashier’s check, money order, or personal checks. Payments should be made payable to the NPSO and mailed to P.O. Box 266, Natchitoches, LA 71458. 
    • Online payments:  There is a service fee for processing payment(s) online. The total charge amount will be displayed prior to submitting the payment. The fee is 3.45% of the total amount being paid with a minimum charge of $3.95

Other Community Resources

COVID-19 Impact Survey

Please complete this 3-minute survey by clicking on the link below. The survey is critical to helping North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) and state leaders establish a baseline of impacts to businesses in North Louisiana from the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working closely with local, state and federal leaders to determine to best courses of action to assist impacted businesses and employees.

TAKE SURVEY>>>

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