Updated 5/29/2020 at 9:30 a.m. Updates in bold
Business Reopening & Operating
Montour County moved from the yellow to green phase on May 29th. Columbia County moved from the red to yellow phase on May 22nd.
These changes lift the stay at home order for individuals and allows more businesses to resume operations, with safety protocols in place. Businesses that remain closed under the yellow phase include indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, personal care services (salons, barber shops, spas), entertainment, indoor malls, and restaurants and bars for dine-in.
Updated guidance for yellow and green phase operations is below. (Updated 5/27/20)
Guidance for general business operations in the green phase is provided here.
A FAQ issued by the Wolf Administration provides additional guidance for business operations.
Specific guidance for restaurants and bars is provided here.
Specific guidance for the summer recreation industry is provided here.
Specific guidance for the construction industry is provided here.
A required notification poster for employees is provided here.
A FAQ providing additional clarification on cleaning and safety is provided here.
Protection Equipment and Cleaning Supplies & Services
Hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning products, plastic barriers
(Contact individual stores for in-stock items)
- Coles Hardware – 1089 Columbia Blvd., Bloomsburg
- Commercial Stainless – 570-387-8980 (glass/plexiglass barriers only)
- Renco Ace Hardware – 2251 Columbia Blvd., Bloomsburg
- Wal-Mart – 100 Lunger Drive, Bloomsburg
- 3B Consultant Services – 570-799-5774
- MaxWorx – 272-202-4435
- Marr Development – 570-416-0570
- ServPro of Columbia Montour & Sullivan Counties – 570-759-0966
Members that provide these products or services and are not listed should contact the Chamber.
A webinar discussing the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Credit, and other resources is available on the Chamber’s YouTube channel.
Federal loan programs
PPP and EIDL loans are being processed. Local financial institutions are still accepting PPP applications. The EIDL application portal has been reopened for agricultural businesses only including those engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
– The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to small businesses, including sole proprietors and self-employed individuals, as well as some non-profit organizations, that maintain their payroll during the emergency. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
- The most up to date information and application form are available on the U.S. Treasury’s website.
- Considerations for non-profit organizations are available here.
Applications can be submitted to approved lenders. Contact your commercial lender or banking institution for specific application requirements.
The SBA has provided information regarding how to apply for loan forgiveness.
- The loan forgiveness application is available here.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a guide to help borrowers understand the process by which their loan forgiveness amount will be calculated and the overall approach of the forgiveness process.
– The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides businesses with less than 500 employees working capital loans of up to $2 million. Click here for basic details about the program.
Applicants can obtain up to a $10,000 advance on EIDLs. The advance is available as part of the full application and will be transferred into the account provided after the application is submitted. The amount of each advance will be determined by the number of the applicant’s pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000.
Click here for additional information about the advance.
Businesses needing assistance in applying for an SBA loan can contact the Small Business Development Center network.
Federal tax credit programs
– The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allowable qualified health plan expenses) that eligible employers pay their employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an eligible employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000.
Click here for details from the IRS.
– SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has created a loan program with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. For-profit businesses can apply for loans of at least $10,000 with an interest rate of 3.25%. Funds can be used for working capital and can be disbursed based on past working capital expenses. No payments are due in the first six months. There is a limited pool of funds available so interested businesses should apply now as soon as possible.
There is a $500 underwriting fee and a $100 filing fee.
– The Chamber’s low-interest loan program is offering loans of up to $10,000 for members at 3% interest for 30 months, with interest only payments for the first 12 months. If you are interested in the Chamber’s loan program, contact Fred Gaffney at the Chamber of Commerce at 570-784-2522 as funds are limited.
– The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation has activated its Disaster Relief Fund to support 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Lower-Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties. The Foundation is specifically interested in helping front-line organizations maintain their operations and respond to increased demand from clients during this critical time.
A second grant round will be announced on June 1, 2020.
Donations to the Fund can be made online at csgiving.org/disaster-relief or mailed to Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, Attn: Disaster Relief Fund, 725 West Front Street, Berwick, PA 18603.
– Employees of bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs might be eligible for a grant through the Restaurant Strong Fund, a partnership between the Greg Hill Foundation and Sam Adams. To learn more and apply, visit: restaurantstrong.org/apply-for-grant
– A growing number of companies have set up relief funds, online tools, classes, and other resources at no cost in response to the impact on small-business owners. This link contains a list that Inc. is curating and continuously updating.
Business Tax Deadlines Extended
In addition to extending tax filing and payment deadlines for individuals, the Commonwealth has also extended a number of business tax deadlines, including moving the due date for corporations with tax returns due in May to August 14, 2020 and removing the requirement for some businesses to make prepayments of Sales and Use Tax for April, May and June 2020.
Full details are available on the PA Department of Revenue’s website.
Unemployment, Benefits & HR Issues
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to individuals not eligible for regular benefits, including the self-employed and those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Click here for more information and to apply for PUA. Qualifying self-employed individuals will need to submit a copy of the Governor’s order closing businesses, available here.
The PA Department of Labor and Industry provides additional UC guidance for employers with impacted employees.
New temporary paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act programs are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire December 31. Both programs are in addition to any leave the employer already offers. Click here for a guide for employers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Click here for details from the IRS about the tax credits for paid leave.
The U.S. Department of Labor has released a required posting and FAQ regarding the FFCRA which went into effect April 1.
• Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
• Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions
Small Business Recovery Program
The Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Zeigler College of Business is establishing a Small Business Recovery Program (SBRP) to assist local businesses in recovery from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know these are challenging days for small businesses throughout the region, and the Zeigler College of Business wants to be a partner to help solve those problems,” said Todd Shawver, dean of the Zeigler College of Business.”
The SBRP will assist regional small business with any aspect of their business, except for financial assistance. These services can include, but not limited to:
• Professional sales assistance
• Social media and marketing strategy
• Business strategy redevelopment
• Cost structures and monitoring
• Tax guidance
• Open to customizing services depending on business needs.
“This will be a fabulous learning opportunity for our students, under the supervision of our amazing faculty,” said Shawver. “It will provide the subject matter expertise necessary to provide guidance for our small business and assist them in recovering from this negative economic impact.”
Anyone wishing to access the services of the SBRP can do so by filling out a request form that can be found here.