It goes without saying that we are weathering some very difficult and unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus, has in many ways changed everything, including the state of our economy.
On March 19, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, ordered that all non-life-sustaining businesses in the state close. His order was carried out beginning on Monday, March 23rd. Additionally, Wolf and Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine have issued “Stay at Home” orders to 26 counties across the state.
The “Stay at Home” order has recently been extended through the end of April.
Without functioning businesses, some industries have more or less shut down, leaving many with no source of income and/or the heart-wrenching decision of whether to lay off employees.
As the owner of a B2B business that works directly with other small businesses, I have seen the devastation that this pandemic continues to cause. Families unable to pay their mortgage or even put food on the table. Our hearts are breaking for each person who has been affected by this crisis.
General Business Resources
It is truly an uncertain time. But while all of this can be extremely overwhelming, there are resources available to help reduce some of the stress on small businesses. Resources for general business issues include:
- The Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) is a network of business experts who offer education, training, and support to help Pennsylvania businesses.
- The Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop is a state government office that serves as the first point of contact for development concerns pertaining to Pennsylvania businesses.
- The PA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), is a nationally accredited program that provides resources to small businesses across the state.
- The Industrial Resource Centers (IRC) are a network of private, nonprofit centers across Pennsylvania, which help manufacturers respond to changing global markets.
- The PA Chamber of Business and Industry helps provide PA businesses with many resources and guidance during this time.
- The Strategic Early Warning Network (SEWN) provides consulting services to support small-to-medium sized PA manufacturers that are experiencing economic difficulty.
Filing for Unemployment
If you are the owner of a corporation and your business has been impacted by COVID-19, you may be able to apply for unemployment by filing an initial case. Additionally, all is not lost if you are a sole proprietor; there may be opportunity for you to receive unemployment compensation as well.
The federal CARES Act is to provide unemployment benefits for those who are either gig workers or self-employed. However, the government has not yet provided instructions regarding how eligible individuals can access these benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to update the relevant information as it becomes available. You can stay abreast of the situation by visiting the official website of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Though you may be able to financially survive these trying times, there still remains the issue of how to help your employees to do the same.
If no other payment options, such as paid leave, are available for employees who have experienced job loss (either temporary or permanent) or a decrease in job hours, they too should consider filing for unemployment compensation benefits.
Additionally, the unemployment compensation tax rate for your business will not increase if your employees file for benefits due to COVID-19. Businesses that are closed temporarily due to the coronavirus will receive Relief from Charges.
Other resources for financial guidance include:
- The PA Department of Labor & Industry offers the Shared-Work program, which can help employers refrain from laying off their employees by temporarily reducing work hours.
- The Rapid Response Assistance Program offers an array of services and resources to assist businesses that had to close temporarily – or possibly permanently – or that must consider laying off employees.
Loans & Economic Support
Loans can be used to pay for many things that cannot otherwise be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.
- The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance with low interest rates and long-term payment options and can provide vital economic support to small businesses in order to help rise above the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- The COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program is administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) and provides critical working capital financing to small businesses located within PA that have been affected by the outbreak. Find your local certified economic development organization
- The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) offers low-interest loans and lines of credit for businesses that qualify and commit to the creation and maintenance of full-time jobs for the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities. Find your local certified economic development organization
Veterans can also apply for assistance. Although the financial needs of applicants has exceeded the PENFED Foundation’s Military Heroes Fund’s fund capacity (thus suspending the application process), there are other resources available to our country’s bravest. Such resources include:
- Air Warrior Courage Foundation
- Army Emergency Relief
- Code of Support
- DoD Hardship Duty Pay
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
- Operation Home Front
- Semper Fi Fund
- USA Cares
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Yellow Ribbon Fund
- Yellow Ribbon Fund Network
Calculating Destiny is Here for You
During this difficult time the team at Calculating Destiny remains deeply committed to helping our clients. If you are a small B2B business that has now lost everything, we can help you to brainstorm other opportunities, answer any questions you may have, and help you to redirect your business efforts in order to grow your business in another direction.
While we feel for everyone impacted by COVID-19, it is important to note that given the changing nature of the law, we cannot provide advice on how to best proceed to those whose books we have not seen.
If we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out at 215-674-3430. We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe.
CEO, Calculating Destiny, LLC