COVID-19 Business Resources
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.
Paycheck Protection Program and Families First Coronavirus Response Act sponsored by ECS
DAY: Thursday, April 9
TIME: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program
The Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program offers loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The loans require no payments for 180 days at interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent. The total loan pool is $50 million. FAQs, a list of participating banks, and additional information is available on LED’s website.
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.
CARES Act Information
The CARES Act passed on March 27. Congress put together this overview for small business owners. The provisions include the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Recovery Loan advances, and small business debt relief for existing SBA loans. Detailed information on each, including FAQs, is available in the overview link above, and in the drop down menus below. America’s SBDC has created a spreadsheet that compares all of the currently available SBA programs; access the document here.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans are forgivable, which helps workers remain employed, and helps affected small businesses and our economy snap-back quicker after the crisis. The program application period opened on April 3. Borrowers are urged to apply immediately and for the full loan amount of $10 million, as only one loan per borrower will be allowed. For a quick guide on the differences between the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
Economic Injury Disaster Recovery Loan Grants (Advances)
Details on this program begin on page 7 of this this overview from Congress. These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Businesses may also roll the advance into a forgivable PPP loan (although that $10K will be deducted from the forgivable portion). Businesses may take both an EIDL and a PPP, but if they do they cannot use the two for the same purpose.
- Eligibility: businesses with 500 employees or fewer, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives and employee-owned businesses, tribal small businesses. Small businesses and agricultural coops that meet the size standard are eligible, as are most private non-profits of any size. Eligible businesses must have been in operation since January 31, 2020, when the public health crisis was announced.
Working Capital Loans (Economic Injury Disaster Loans)
Details on this program begin on page 7 of this this overview from Congress. Louisiana businesses are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million, with interest rates of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits, and terms of up to 30 years. The loans 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. These loans are not forgivable. The application is available through the Small Business Administration. For detailed program information including loan eligibility, criteria, terms, and a step-by-step guide on how to apply, click here.
- Eligibility: businesses with 500 employees or fewer, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives and employee-owned businesses, tribal small businesses. Small businesses and agricultural coops that meet the size standard are eligible, as are most private non-profits of any size.
For a quick guide on the differences between the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
Small Business Debt Relief for Existing SBA loans
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will defer all loan payments, including principal, interest and fees for six months. Eligible loans include SBA 7(a) (unless made under the PPP), 504, and microloans.
SBA-Approved Lenders in the Capital Region
Banks and Credit Unions in the Capital Region
Loans made under the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (part of the CARES Act) are made by banks, Credit Unions, and other private lenders. This list includes BRAC investor lenders and is not exhaustive. Contact your preferred lender directly.
The SBA is adding lenders daily here: https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find
Anthem Bank & Trust
Bank of St. Francisville
Campus Federal Credit Union
Citizens Bank & Trust Co.
6500 Corporate Blvd.
Guaranty Bank & Trust Co.
Gulf Coast Bank & Trust
LA Capitol FCU
Pelican State CU
Peoples Bank & Trust of Pointe Coupe
Plaquemine Bank & Trust
Red River Bank
Current RRB Clients will Receive Priority
State Bank & Trust Company
Hotline for Louisiana Businesses
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. If you closed because of the Governor’s Stay At Home order, but aren’t sure if your business qualifies as essential, call the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to ask at (833) 457-0531 or via email at LEDbiz@la.gov. There are many businesses allowed to remain open, but must do so following safety protocols.
Tax Filing Extensions
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has unemployment insurance information for both employers and employees available at laworks.net.
Click here COVID-19 FAQ’s for an FAQ sheet for employers.
If a worker quits in the absence of the COVID-19 criteria, employers should immediately inform the Louisiana Workforce Commission via its Form 77 – Separation Notice.
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:
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
- Businesses or makers with technical abilities to innovate needed items through 3D printing should contact Stephen Loy with the Louisiana Tech Park at email@example.com.
COVID-19 Government Contracting
The State Procurement website maintains a regularly updated list of open and closed bids. To register as a vendor with the State of Louisiana, click here. During the registration process, you will be able to select all of the commodities that your company is able to provide. The State of Louisiana will be issuing Request for Quotes (RFQs) through the Louisiana Procurement and Contract Network (LaPAC), the 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.
The Louisiana Procurement and Technical Assistance Center is available to assist businesses with government contracting. Businesses interested in competing for disaster response and recovery contracts should review this flier for steps to ensure that they are procurement ready. Businesses with existing government contracts seeking an equitable adjustment due to COVID-19 should take the following steps:
- Communicate with your contracting officer (CO), by email for record-keeping, as soon as you think your situation has changed from when your initial contract was negotiated or bid on.
- Partner with your CO to get authority to deliver late and try to negotiate a revised delivery schedule, extension, and/or revised costs. This may occur with subcontractor disruptions necessitating different subs or sourcing.
- If you don’t get a response from your CO, email the agency small business representatives for help in getting your CO’s attention.
- Keep good records including dates of conversations and names of people you spoke or emailed with.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Under CARES, the definition of eligible individuals has been extended beyond hourly and salaried employees to also include the self-employed, gig workers, and those with limited work history. Benefits are also available for those unable to work after contracting COVID-19, or those caring for a family member who contracted COVID-19.
For additional details on unemployment insurance, click here.
Eligible workers can apply for unemployment insurance through the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) at laworks.net.
Capital Area United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund
Capital Area United Way has established a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to aid the residents and organizations of its 10-parish region. The fund will be used to assist in the recovery from the pandemic’s impact to the local area. The dollars raised will be used to support its 2-1-1 and Crisis Call operations, funding for COVID-19 expenses as well as the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population who have been greatly impacted by business closures during this time.
Keep BR Shopping initiative for Retail
This free online business directory allows retailers greater visibility amid the crisis and provides shoppers access to interact with retailers in ways that follow health and safety protocols. Interested retailers can add their business to the site through the form on the home page.
Keep BR Serving initiative for Restaurants
This area-wide gift card campaign directs 30% of gift card purchases to service staff at participating restaurants. The Keep BR Serving sitehas a list of participating restaurants, and a registration form for restaurants interested in participating.
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.
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.
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.
As part of BRAC’s business recovery priorities, we will be producing and distributing a weekly economic indicator dashboard to examine and assess the impact of COVID-19 on the regional economy. The indicator dashboard takes into account fuel sales, oil prices, hotel occupancy rates, enplanements, employment, and more, to illustrate the economy’s current state, and keep businesses informed on when it begins to steady and rebound.
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.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Coronavirus Resources & Guidance
- Louisiana Economic Development, COVID-19 Business Assistance
- Governor’s Stay at Home FAQ Sheet
- Governor’s Essential Infrastructure Fact Sheet
- Louisiana Department of Health
- COVID-19 Small Business Resources (America’s SBDC)
- Small Business Information on the CARES Act
News, Research and Analysis
- COVID-19 Briefs
- COVID-19 News
- COVID-19 Research & Analysis