BRAC is regularly updating this page with relevant resources and information for businesses.  

Business Impact Survey

BRAC has released a business survey to help evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and the regional economy. 

Upcoming Business Webinars

Navigating the SBA 7(a) Process and the Latest Information on Economic Injury Disaster Loans

DAY: Monday, March 30
TIME: 10 – 11 a.m. 

Positive Productivity in a Pandemic

DAY: Friday, April 3
TIME: 11 a.m. – Noon 

How to Use SBA, Economic Incentives, and Non-Bank Lenders to Obtain Commercial Capital

DAY: Monday, April 6
TIME: 10 – 11 a.m.

Business Resources

Hotline for Louisiana Businesses

Louisiana Economic Development has launched a new hotline for Louisiana businesses. Companies can call 225-342-4321 between 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m. with their questions related to the impact of COVID-19.

Working Capital Loans through the Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans through its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to designated states and territories. Louisiana businesses are eligible for the program, which offers up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome temporary loss of revenue. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the situation around COVID-19. The loans are available to business with fewer than 500 employees at a rate of 3.75%. For detailed program information including loan eligibility, criteria, terms, and a step-by-step guide on how to apply, click here. 

Employees First Program

Employers with employee(s) impacted by COVID-19 can set up a grant through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s (BRAF) Employees First program to provide financial assistance to those employees and receive beneficial tax deductions while doing so. 

CISA's Guidance on Identifying Critical Infrastructure

On March 22, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a Stay-at-Home order for the state of Louisiana, limiting those that will go to work every day to Louisiana citizens in “essential industries” only, as defined by CISA. CISA’s guidance on identifying critical infrastructure can be found here, or via this downloadable guide. BRAC also issued this guidance to help regional businesses determine whether they qualify as “essential” for this order.

Tax Filing Extensions

Both the federal and state governments have extended the filing deadline for taxes to July 15.  Click here for more information on federal deadlines, and here for state information. The state has also extended sales tax filing to May 20.

Unemployment Insurance

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has unemployment insurance information for both employers and employees available at laworks.net. Any business with hourly workers who are temporarily not working (but not necessarily “out of work”) CAN apply for unemployment insurance.

Click here COVID-19 FAQ’s for an FAQ sheet for employers.

BRAF Emergency Relief Fund

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has established an emergency relief fund to help people in Louisiana who are affected by the current public health emergency. Businesses and individuals in a position to donate are encouraged to do so. 

PPE Donations

Our region is experiencing a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) needed by front-line healthcare workers in their COVID-19 response. Of particular need are germicidal wipes, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, procedure masks, N95 masks, gowns and protective drapes, goggles, and latex and non-latex gloves of all sizes. Regional leaders are looking for business assistance in the following ways:

  1. Businesses with the above-mentioned items available to donate may do so Monday through Friday, 9 – 11 a.m., at 9455 Plank Road. Contact 225-763-4240 or PPEdonations@brhealthdistrict.com for further instruction. This is an initiative organized by the Baton Rouge Health District, and is currently primarily intended for business to business donations. Please make sure to only include clean, boxed, sealed, and unused containers.
  2. Manufacturers who are interested and able to transition their production to one of the needed items are encouraged to do so. Contact Donnie Miller at donnie@brac.org for guidance.
  3. Businesses or makers with technical abilities to innovate needed items through 3D printing should contact Stephen Loy with the Louisiana Tech Park at stephen@latechpark.com.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA)

EFMLEA expands the existing federal medical leave program. Currently, the program provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave without pay. The new legislation requires companies under 500 employees to provide 12 weeks of leave with the first 2 weeks unpaid, and the final 10 weeks paid at two-thirds of their regular pay for both part-time and full-time employees in the event an employee needs to care for a child because daycare or school is closed. 

Each employee is limited to $200/day to a $10,000 maximum. Employers will receive a tax credit on their portion of Social Security taxes capped at $200/day per employee and $10,000 overall per quarter. Importantly, he Secretary of Labor has the authority to exclude employers with fewer than 50 employees under certain circumstances. 

Click here to view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act fact sheet for more information.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)

EPSLA applies to only companies with under 500 employees. This new mandate requires companies to pay full wages to employees for up to 2 weeks because of Coronavirus-related leave. The EPSLA applies to both full-time and part-time workers only if the employee is unable to work or telework when: 

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee. 
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee. 
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to seek a medical diagnosis. Generally, payments are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 per employee. 
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order similar to those set forth in 1 and 2 above. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee. 
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter because school is closed, and the usual child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee. 
  6. The employee experiences a substantially similar condition as specified by the government. Generally, payments are capped at $200 per day and $2,000 per employee. 

Like with the EFMLEA, employers will be eligible for tax credits on their Social Security taxes cap at $511/day for the first three types of events and 200/day for the last 3 types of events. 

Click here to view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act fact sheet for more information.

Unemployment Insurance

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has unemployment insurance information for both employers and employees available at laworks.netAny business with hourly workers who are temporarily not working (but not necessarily “out of work”) CAN apply for unemployment insurance. 

LWC has produced a video on how to file for unemployment insurance benefits. Click here for additional information from LWC.

Louisiana 211

The Capital Area United Way’s 211 public resource directory houses employment, food, health, housing, re-entry, and transportation information, searchable by location. Residents may call 211 or text your zipcode to 898-211 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for resource assistance. 

Supporting Local Restaurants

While local restaurants are no longer able to serve dine-in guests, take-out and delivery options are still available. 225 Magazine put together a comprehensive list of restaurants providing those options. A “Tip it Forward” campaign has been launched to support the men and women of the service industry, LABI launched a #giftcardchallenge to encourage employers to sponsor gift cards for employees to local restaurants, and a Keep BR Serving initiative has been launched to encourage gift card purchases, with 20% of proceeds going back to service staff.

BR Works

The shifting jobs landscape caused by COVID-19 has resulted in quick workforce changes. Some companies are forced to turn to layoffs and furloughs, while other industry sectors are increasing hiring to meet growing demand. BR Works was established to help laid off community members find new opportunities.

Important Links

News, Research and Analysis

  • All
  • COVID-19 Briefs
  • COVID-19 News
  • COVID-19 Research & Analysis

BRAC’s March 27 COVID-19 Brief: Here’s what’s in the CARES Act for Small Businesses

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has passed. The historic stimulus package includes important provisions for small businesses.

Small Business Provisions in the CARES Act

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) on March 27. The historic stimulus package includes important provisions for small businesses, outlined in this post.

LED Opens COVID-19 Help Desk for Louisiana Businesses

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

BRAC’s March 26 COVID-19 Brief: How businesses can assist PPE shortage

Our region is experiencing a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) needed by front-line healthcare workers in their COVID-19 response.

BRAC Pivots to Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced it has formally paused its 2020 strategic goals and retooled its priorities to support the regional business community through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period.

BRAC’s March 25 COVID-19 Brief: Workforce Shifts: Needed and Displaced Workers

The shifting jobs landscape caused by COVID-19 has resulted in quick workforce changes. While some companies are forced to turn to layoffs and furloughs, some other industry sectors are needing to quickly ramp up hiring to meet increased demand.

ICYMI: Gov. Edwards’ COVID-19 Major Disaster Declaration Request Approved by President Trump

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that his request for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana was approved by President Donald Trump last night. The declaration allows the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health emergency.

BRAC’s March 24 COVID-19 Brief: Ask Congress to pass the CARES Act

Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus’ effect on the economy. The Senate finally looks to be in a position to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) either later today or tomorrow, providing much-needed relief for businesses across the U.S.

Ask Congress to Pass the CARES Act

Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the Coronavirus’ effect on the economy. The Senate finally looks to be in a position to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) either later today or tomorrow, providing much-needed relief for businesses across the U.S.

BRAC’s March 23 COVID-19 Brief: What is an “Essential Industry?”

Yesterday, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a Stay-at-Home order for the state of Louisiana, limiting those that will go to work every day to Louisiana citizens in “essential industries” only. But what exactly is an essential industry?

Louisiana Opens Child Care Assistance Program To Critical Personnel Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

BATON ROUGE, La. — In response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) today opened the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to support essential critical infrastructure personnel. By simply completing an application PDF (will open in new tab), these families can access subsidized care for children age 12 and under at licensed childcare centers participating in the program, or through registered and certified family childcare and in-home providers.

Mayor Broome’s Statement on Fatalities Attributed to COVID-19 in East Baton Rouge Parish

Baton Rouge, LA – March 23, 2020 – I am deeply saddened to learn of the first fatalities attributed to COVID-19 in East Baton Rouge Parish today. On behalf of our community, I share our love and condolences with the patients’ family and friends.

LDR extends state income tax deadline due to coronavirus public health emergency

BATON ROUGE – Due to the public health emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) is extending 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.

BRAC’s March 22 COVID-19 Brief: Business Guidance for Stay-at-Home Order

Today Governor John Bel Edwards announced a stay-at-home quarantine for the state of Louisiana.

Gov. Edwards Issues Statewide Stay at Home Order to Further Fight the Spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, as the number of confirmed cases have topped 800 and spread to more than half of our parishes.

Mayor-President signs Executive Order temporarily waiving sign ordinance as a show of support for small businesses

Today, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued an Executive Order temporarily suspending the parish’s sign ordinance for 120 days, providing businesses an opportunity to advertise adjustments to their services on signs in the public right-of-way.

BRAC Releases Analysis of Updates to Federal and Local Resources for Businesses

Baton Rouge, La. (March 19, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today released the following analysis of new federal legislation and updates to existing federal and local resources for businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Louisiana Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Louisiana small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. John Bel Edwards on March 16, 2020.

Tax Return Extensions and Other Matters Related to COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a statewide public health emergency as a result of the imminent threat posed to Louisiana citizens by the outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus known commonly as COVID-19. The Department of Revenue continues to actively monitor this ongoing situation in concert with the Governor’s Office.

Federal Support in the Wake of the Coronavirus

Businesses across Louisiana are being impacted by the Coronavirus, and those for which business must be transacted face-to-face are the hardest hit. Service and other key members of our state’s workforce and their employers are looking for relief from the economic gut-punch the Coronavirus is delivering.

BRAC Releases Business Survey for COVID-19

Baton Rouge, La. (March 13, 2020) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced it has opened a survey designed to gather the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and the regional economy. The survey, and recommendations and resources for businesses, is available at brac.org/recovery.