/ Big Events. Small Business.
Small businesses can stand significant impacts when faced with large-scale disasters, such as global pandemics, unexpected or severe weather conditions, political upheaval, or acts of terrorism. These big events can affect small businesses and their surrounding communities for weeks or months following the catalyst event.
This includes the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whether you’re seeking information about the virus or in need of federal, state, or local support, these resources can help your small business respond effectively to support the economic health and well-being of the Charlotte business community.
You and your employees are encouraged to check the Mecklenburg County webpage for ongoing updates from the County Health Director: https://www.mecknc.gov/news/Pages/Update-on-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx
A great resource for information at the national level is the Center for Disease Controls information page on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Please be sure to check out the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides a comprehensive list of steps you can take to reduce the risk of spread in the workplace: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
FEMA Emergency Planning – This link has few exercises to help businesses walk through creating emergency plans, https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises
The Small Business Administration is regularly updating its services related to small business assistance and support. A full list of assistance is provided at, https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources. This link also contains all of the President’s guidance around COVID 19.
Most notably, the SBA will be working with states on providing low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
The Small Business Administration has partnered also with private industry to create a comprehensive website focused on planning for and responding to disasters including pandemics: http://www.preparemybusiness.org/planning.html
Be sure to check out the SBA’s archived webinars, http://www.preparemybusiness.org/education.html
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a very comprehensive checklist for creating a business continuity plan: https://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-plan
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also prepared guidance to help ensure employers are aware of Americans With Disability Act requirements and privacy requirements: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/pandemic_flu.html
The U.S. Chamber has compiled CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations for businesses and workers in a Coronavirus Response Toolkit with key messages and sharable graphics for social media, websites, and other channels.
IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief
- Small and midsize employers can claim two new refundable payroll tax credits to reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing employee leave related to the COVID-19 outbreak
- Businesses with less than 500 employees can get funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.
- To take immediate advantage of new paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes.
- Tax Deadline Changed: The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020.
Learn more about this and other IRS info related to the COVID-19 outbreak at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
Governor Cooper’s Executive Orders include,
- March 17: Executive Order Open PDF closes restaurants and bars for dine-in service, makes unemployment benefits more widely available. More.
- March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people.
- March 14: Executive Order Open PDF closes K-12 public school statewide.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services has a comprehensive page that gives summaries of the three executive orders issued by the Governor that relate to the coronavirus as well as other statewide planning tools: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina
North Carolina Department of Department of Health and Human Services COVID19 update page that provides specific advice to businesses and employers: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/businesses-employers
North Carolina Department of Revenue will not impose late payment penalties for income tax due on April 15 if the tax is paid by July 15. Read the full notice.
NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program helps support entrepreneurs like you and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector. Businesses are eligible for bridge loans up to $50,000 with six months of no interest and no payments. Click here to apply for an NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan.
The Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), Women’s Business Center, and SCORE can help you apply for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue during COVID-19.
The Charlotte LGBT Chamber of Commerce provides a comprehensive site for small business owners, non-profit leaders, and those unemployed or furloughed to access: https://www.supportclt.com/. The information has been vetted and is updated daily. The Chamber also offers a communal hotline to answer your questions (M-F, 9 AM-6 PM).
In addition to tourism-related disruptions, Charlotte is growing really big, really quickly. With this rapid growth, comes a wave of big events: national conventions, concerts, festivals, and sporting events. These gatherings can draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Charlotte region and have the potential to boost the local economy and aid in job creation. However, this surge in tourism can also lead to unexpected or unforeseen local events, which can disrupt small businesses in many ways.
As big events bring both opportunities and threats to small business, how do you best plan for big events that come to the city? You prepare.
Subscribe to local event calendars such as charlottesgotalot.com to stay in the know about upcoming planned events, such as the 2020 CIAA Basketball Tournament and the Republican National Convention. For planned events such as these, find out which neighborhoods, streets, and venues will be utilized. For emergency and disaster response information, follow Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Emergency Management social media channels: @CharMeckEM and @charmeckem.
Prepare your business even further and attend seminars and workshops at the Small Business Center (SBC) at Central Piedmont.
Make a Plan
Once informed on local events, you can identify opportunities to leverage planned events to help boost your business. You can also research potential obstacles and steps you can take to minimize them. For unplanned events, establish a timeline and create a plan to maintain business continuity throughout various scenarios. Determine which, if any, business channels and resources may be affected, such as the storefront, potential customers, staff, and/or product availability.
Smart leaders have a business continuity plan in place for any large event that can pose a threat to the flow of operations – sporting events, festivals, political events, and hurricanes as examples.
Take this free assessment to see if your business is prepared.
Ready for more? Visit Open for Business to develop a free, customizable toolkit to help your small business plan for any type of business interruption and quickly re-open and resume operations following a disaster.
When creating your business continuity plan, remember to take into consideration the most important thing to execute such a plan – people! People who are prepared for changes and/or crises in business give that business the best chance of mitigating negative impacts and recovering quickly.
Make sure your employees, clients, and vendors are aware of upcoming planned events and potential unplanned events likely to disrupt business – specifically parts of the business that will affect them. For example, if a large sporting event is coming to town and road closures are expected during business hours, you may need to reschedule or relocate deliveries, meetings, and/or adjust employee work schedules. Be sure to share this information in a timely manner.
For unplanned events, be sure employees have the proper tools and training to promote emotionally intelligent behavior when under pressure.
To minimize risk and negative impacts of business disruption, monitor events as they occur and make adjustments to your continuity plan, as needed. Stay informed and understand the complete operating picture of big events as they unfold: What is happening? When and where is it happening? Who is it affecting?
You’ve achieved your dream of owning a small business – Don’t get caught unprepared.
Your response to events big and small can mean the difference between servicing the community or shutting down operations.
For more information, visit our Disaster Preparedness and Recovery page.