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COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

It’s vitally important to support local businesses when times are tough. In Lafayette, not only are we facing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are facing a new oil crunch just as the region is emerging from the 2014 downturn. We all have a role to play in supporting our local businesses and their employees—who are our friends, families and neighbors. We encourage you to support your favorite local retailer, service provider, or other business over the coming weeks and months.

Here are resources available to businesses and their employees. We will continue to update this list as we learn more.

<<Click here for Resources for Employees>>

What's New



Lafayette Business Recovery Program

In response to economic hardships experienced by small businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) and Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) have launched the Lafayette Business Recovery Program to stabilize local businesses and retain/create jobs. LCG is accepting pre-applications in anticipation of receiving HUD funds.

Businesses may apply for a forgivable loan or grant of up to $10,000 to assist with up to three months of costs associated with qualifying business expenses incurred not prior to March 27, 2020—including but not limited to rent, payroll, insurance, benefits, and utilities.

Begin your application here.


Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program

Louisiana small businesses can start applying for up to $15,000 grants on July 28 as part of the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program. Details will be released by the State Treasurer as they are finalized. To qualify, a business must be based in Louisiana, have suffered an “interruption of business,” be owned at least 50% by Louisiana residents, have filed taxes in 2018, 2019 or will file in 2020, have no more than 50 full-time employees as of March 1, have customers or employees visit a physical location, not be part of a larger business, not exist for the purpose of advancing political activity or lobbying and not derive income from passive investments without “active participation in business operations.”

Overview of the program based on information provided by the Louisiana Department of Treasury

 


COVID-19 Business Survey

Help LEDA and our partners understand how your business is operating during the Phase 2 reopening by completing this short survey. LEDA will gather this information in confidence and aggregate the data to share with local, state and federal sources—allowing them to provide informed and unified assistance to businesses.

Since organizations across Acadiana are partnering on one survey, you may receive this link from several sources. Please take the survey only one time.

Take the survey here.


Louisiana Moves to Phase 2 on June 5

On June 22, Governor Edwards announced Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 for 28 additional days. View the extended order here. The June 4 official order is here. An overview can be found in this news release.

 

Businesses that will be able to open at 50 percent occupancy include:

  • Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops
  • Shopping malls (including food courts, following restaurant guidance)
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Barber and beauty shops and nail salons
  • Movie theaters
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)
  • Museums (including children’s museums), zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Bars and breweries with LDH food permits
  • Massage establishments, spas, and tattoo establishments (under strict guidance from LDH), esthetician services (under strict guidance from the Cosmetology Board)
  • Pool halls, bowling alleys and skating rinks (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Event Centers and wedding venues
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play centers (children must be accompanied by an adult)

 

The following businesses remain closed: carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, contact sports, children’s indoor play centers, theme parks, concert and music halls, and other similar businesses. Live entertainment is not permitted inside any building or indoor function.

Download documents related to Phase 1 and Phase 2 opening for specific business types here.

To begin receiving notifications and guidance for safely opening or operating your business, click here to register at Open Safely.

See other official government issued orders and guidelines here


Safe Shop Guidelines
Effective April 17, 2020, the Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish enacted a “Safe Shop” policy for businesses that are not deemed essential OR prohibited under the Governor’s existing orders. Essential and prohibited business have existing guidelines that they must adhere to. Safe Shop businesses are authorized to be open and to operate subject to specific conditions. Get details here.

Open Safely

This site allows you to register your business to receive updated communication, notifications, and helpful guidance via email from the State Fire Marshal’s Office specific to your business type. These notifications will answer the important questions:

  • When can I partially or fully open my business?
  • What are the steps to open my business?
  • What changes can be expected for businesses that have been operating, but with restrictions?
  • What restrictions are my business subject to, if any?
  • Are there any new sanitation requirements for my business?
  • Are there any personal protective requirements (masks, gloves, etc.) for my employees?

To begin receiving notifications and guidance for safely opening or operating your business, click here to register.

Download documents related to Phase 1 opening for specific business types here.


Safe at Work Framework

LEDA, along with 50 business organizations across Louisiana, has endorsed the Safe at Work Framework issued by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) in partnership with the Louisiana Association for Business and Industry (LABI). The Safe at Work Framework lays out a plan that will continue to be modified as new information is gathered from government, business and health officials.

The Louisiana economy has seen job losses top 300,000 with thousands of businesses shuttered entirely. While the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality, retail, and healthcare sectors the hardest, as time goes on, consumer spending will stall and companies will begin to retain capital and cut costs as they attempt to prepare for an unpredictable future. No industry sector is unaffected. The coronavirus epidemic necessitated an unprecedented shut-down of the economy to manage the virus. While Louisiana is succeeding at “flattening the curve,” the consequence has been staggering job and business losses. Federal aid, combined with state programs, is providing some short-term relief, but it is critical that we restart the economy as soon and as safely possible. Not doing so will have grave economic and health consequences of its own.

Read the full document here.


Resources for Business

Please consult with your banking, accounting, legal or tax professional to determine how these programs may impact your business and employees. Information is subject to change as rules are developed and finalized.

USDA Business and Industry Loan Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon offer guaranteed loans to help businesses hurt by COVID19. The loans are for:

  • Businesses, public bodies, cooperatives, and nonprofits in rural areas
  • Rural areas include towns and cities with 50,000 or fewer population
  • Approved loan uses include acquisitions, equipment purchases, debt refinancing, job creation
  • Lenders include federal and state banks, farm credit banks, and credit unions
  • Interest and principal payments are deferred for three years

Where to find Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 6/8/20 update

SBA Coronavirus Relief Options
In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak including: Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL Loan Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief.

Which program might be best for your business? View a comparison here.

Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act

The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid 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.

COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave

The FFCRA provides businesses with tax credits to cover certain costs of providing employees with required paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program

Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program 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. The Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, or LPGP, is a partnership of Louisiana Economic Development, which will provide a loan guaranty fund; the Louisiana Bankers Association, whose membership will provide the loans; and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority, which will administer the program. A total loan pool of $50 million will be quickly disbursed to eligible small businesses across Louisiana.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act  |  FAQs

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides economic assistance to workers, families, and small businesses. This document provides a high-level summary of the individual, workforce, small business, revenue, and education provisions contained within H.R. 748, which passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 25th. The full legislative text of the CARES Act will be posted on Congress.gov and will be accessible by searching H.R. 748. Information about Economic Impact Payments to individuals is here.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, includes a key provision—the Paycheck Protection Programthat expands the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) existing 7(a) loan program. The program provides $349 billion for small businesses to cover near-term operating expenses and keep their employees. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are also eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. Applications for small businesses and self-employed individuals/independent contractors are being accepted through commercial lenders. Applicants can apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program if there are different uses of proceeds for each loan. Funds from the loans cannot be co-mingled.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The act went into effect on April 1, 2020 and provides for paid leave under the Emergency Paid Leave Act and the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.


U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

COVID-19 Help Wanted

LEDA launched www.lafayette.org/helpwanted to identify businesses hiring additional workers to meet customer demand during the COVID-19 public health emergency. If your business is hiring, let us know the details by emailing our Workforce Development team.

Louisiana Workforce Commission  |  Frequently Asked Questions 4/10/20
For Employers: Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) Guidance for Employers  |  FAQs for Employers

If you are temporarily closing or reducing your hours of operations due to COVID-19, please contact the LWC to discuss how they can provide assistance and answer your questions about unemployment insurance and other programs and resources available. Contact LWC by email with your unemployment insurance questions. Be sure to provide your company’s name, a point of contact, telephone number and email address, as well as specifics on the assistance you are requesting.

Louisiana employers will not be impacted by unemployment benefits paid to workers due to COVID‐19. Governor John Bel Edwards issued proclamation (JBE 2020‐27) to relieve employers of benefit charges associated with COVID‐19. This means that any unemployment benefits workers collect as a result of the pandemic will not be charged to individual employer UI tax accounts.

FAQs

Q: How do I make the State aware I am bringing an employee back from a lay off or work reduction?
A: Complete the New Hire Form for rehires on the Department of Children and Family Services website. This helps identify those who continue drawing benefits after returning to work.

Q: How do I make the State aware that I attempted to bring an employee back, but they refused?
A: Refusal of work issues should be reported through the File a Separation Notice on a Former Employee (Form 77). Select “File Employee Separation Notice” under Employer Services. You may indicate "quit-refusal of work" for each employee who does not return to work.

Q: What do I do if I find out that one of my workers is continuing to file for unemployment benefits although they have returned to work or I am paying them from a PPP loan?
A: If someone is drawing benefits while being paid and not reporting those wages to LWC, this should be reported here

Minor Work Permits

In response to the current COVID-19 event, pursuant to La. R.S. 23:184.1 the Louisiana Workforce Commission will begin issuing 60 day blanket Employment Certificates for employers desiring to employ minors in the State of Louisiana. Employers desiring to obtain an Employment Certificate pursuant to this memorandum must submit via email a completed and signed “Application to Employ Minors under 18” along with proof of age. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Employers should allow three (3) days for processing.

Deferral Announced for 2020 1Q Unemployment Wage and Tax Reports

Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced the deadline for first quarter 2020 wage and tax reports will be deferred to June 30, 2020. 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.

Louisiana Department of Revenue

The Louisiana Department of Revenue have made extensions to several required filings. The latest information on extensions and deadlines can be found here.

IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief

As part of the federal government's response to the Coronavirus crisis, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance allowing all individual tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments originally due on April 15 until July 15 without penalties or interest. Similarly, the new deadline for corporate tax payments up to $10 million is also July 15.

Louisiana Economic Development

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is currently monitoring the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. LED is focusing on business continuity aimed at safeguarding economic, as well as physical health. This information is in addition to that found on the Governor’s website; it will focus on useful resources and information for businesses and individuals.

LED Help Desk for Louisiana Businesses

Louisiana Economic Development has opened a help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19. For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at [email protected] or via the toll-free hotline, (833) 457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be aware that high call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voice mail or contact LED via email.

Resources for Restaurants

The LRA.org website has information for restaurants to make fact-based decisions during the COVID-19 event. The site has links for employers, employees, and links to interim work opportunities for those facing decreased work opportunities.


Acadiana Business Resource Webinars

To support Acadiana's business community – particularly our small businesses – LEDA and our partners will host a series of webinars on timely and relevant topics related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Click here to see scheduled webinars, slides and recorded video.


Guidance for Business

Resources, guidance, and information available for businesses and workers.  

Services for Business

Learn about various free or discounted services for business, including communication services and educational opportunities.


Resources for Employees

Get the latest information on various programs in place to assist employees impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Programs include:
  • Louisiana Workforce Commission: Unemployment Claims
  • LEDA Virtual Job Fair
  • COVID-19 Help Wanted
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
  • LA Wallet
  • LPSS Minor Work Permits
  • Resources for Restaurant Workers
  • Assistance for Artists, Musicians, and Service Industry Workers
  • Federal Housing Finance Agency

Additional Resources and Information

Local

State

Federal


Local News Sources

KATC
KLFY
KADN
The Daily Advertiser
Acadiana Advocate
The Current

Questions?

Do you have questions or something to add? Email us.