COVID-19

COVID-19 Resource Center

 

 

Bay County and the municipalities within it have declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in response to the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) globally and specifically in the United States.  For the latest national health advisories and notices, please click here.  For the latest State of Florida advisories, please click here. For the latest Bay County Health Department advisories, please click here.  

To assist our local companies, the Bay Economic Development Alliance (Bay EDA) is compiling resources to assist our businesses and their employees during this fast-changing situation. The situation is unique in that it has affected everyone in their daily life and caused nearly all companies to make unexpected changes to their operation. On this COVID-19 Resource Center, you will find information on federal, state, private financial resources to help our companies’ weather this ‘storm’. You will also find additional information to assist employees if their employment has been impacted. We have also included specific demographic information to help our companies and community leaders make informed decisions as we all work to stop the spread of COVID-19. As this situation evolves, this page will be updated to provide new information on resources that will be available to assist you operation and employees. 

 

Business Damage Assessment

Additionally, the State of Florida has requested all companies completed the Business Damage Assessment. This assessment can be accessed by clicking the header above or the photo below. Once enough information has been compiled, new programs and resources can be developed to assist our companies through this period of uncertainty. 

 

 

 

CARES Act Information

 

Our Bay EDA Investor, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale has compiled a comprehensive summary of the Federal CARES Act that became law on March 27th. March 27, 2020, the CARES Act became law providing an unprecedented $2 trillion in aid and stimulus funding to battle the national threat of the COVID-19 emergency.

 

The Act itself is some 880 pages with many programs addressed. The programs discussed in this Alert are those that will be of most interest to businesses and individuals. There are dozens upon dozens of additional appropriations for use in programs and departments of the federal government, the branches of the military, the courts, the legislature, and the VA that appear intended to support governmental operations impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which are not discussed below. As always, we encourage you to reach out to one of their lawyers if you would like to learn more. If interested, we can put you in contact with their local representatives. We have extracted some of the exerts, however if you would like to full summary please see below. 

 

For Full Summary Please Click Here 

 

BUSINESS PROGRAMS & TAX ISSUES

Paycheck Protection Loans & Loan Forgiveness

The Act provides for “paycheck protection” loans to be made by Small Business Administration (SBA)-approved lenders and guaranteed by the SBA. $349 billion is allocated for these loans. 

 

Eligible Recipients

In addition to already qualified “small business concerns” (as defined by the Small Business Act), any business concern, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, veterans organization, or Tribal business concern which employs not more than 500 full-time and part-time employees (or the SBA size standard for the industry, whichever is greater) during February 15, 2020, to June 30, 2020, shall be eligible to receive a favorable-term loan made under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)) up to $10 million. 

Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals are eligible to receive a Paycheck Protection loan.

In evaluating eligibility, a Lender will consider whether the borrower was in operation on February 15, 2020, and whether the borrower (i) had employees for whom the borrower paid salaries and payroll taxes, or (ii) paid independent contractors as reported on IRS Form 1099.

Certain hotel and restaurant-type businesses with more than one physical location are eligible if not more than 500 are employed at any physical location. The business must have an NAICS Code beginning with 72, which relates to the Accommodation and Food Services Sector.

 

Loan Amount and Terms

The maximum Paycheck Protection loan amount shall be the lesser of:

(i) the sum of:

1). the outstanding amount of a loan under subsection (b)(2) of Section 7 of the Small Business Act (a disaster loan) made between January 31, 2020, and the date on which Paycheck Protection loans are made available to be refinanced, and

2) 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll costs, OR

(ii) $10,000,000.

For the calculation of the loan amount above, “payroll costs” is the sum of payments of any compensation with respect to employees that is: (A) salary, wages, commission, or similar compensation, (B) cash tip or equivalent, (C) vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave, (D) allowance for dismissal or separation, (E) the provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums, (F) any retirement benefit, and (G) State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees. The average total monthly payroll costs are determined by looking to the applicant’s monthly payments incurred during the 1-year period before the date of the loan application. 

For new employers and seasonal employers, the 1-year period used to determine the monthly average of payments is modified. For seasonal employers, the monthly average is determined using the twelve-week period beginning either on February 15, 2019 or March 1, 2019, at the applicant’s election, and ending June 30, 2019. If the employer was not in business during the period from February 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, then the period from January 1, 2020 to February 29, 2020 is used. 

For sole proprietors and independent contractors, “payroll costs” means the sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation. 

The salary component of payroll costs is capped at $100,000 per employee, and the compensation of a sole proprietor, self-employed individual or independent contractor is capped at $100,000 for purposes of determining eligible payroll costs.

Loans shall be for a term of no more than 10 years from the date borrower requests loan forgiveness (described below) and shall bear interest at a rate not to exceed 4%. Personal guaranties and collateral are not required.

Borrowers may defer repayment for a period of 6 months to a year. Prepayment is permitted without penalty.

 

Allowable Uses of Loan Proceeds

During the covered period (February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020) a borrower may, in addition to other allowable uses for these types of SBA loans, use the proceeds of the loan for payroll costs (subject to a $100,000 annualized per employee limit in the definition of payroll costs), costs related to the continuation of group healthcare benefits during periods of leave and insurance premiums, employee salary and commissions and similar compensation, payment of interest (but not principal) on any mortgage obligation, rent, utilities, and interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period.

A loan made under Section (b)(2) of Section 7 of the Small Business Act (a disaster loan) on or after January 31, 2020 and until the time when Paycheck Protection loans are made available may be refinanced as part of a Paycheck Protection loan.

 

Loan Forgiveness

A Paycheck Protection loan recipient shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a Paycheck Protection loan in an amount equal to payments made over the course of the 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan for: (A) payroll costs, (B) interest on covered mortgage obligations, (C) covered rent obligations, and (D) covered utility payments.

Payroll costs eligible for calculating the forgiveness amount are limited to compensation not in excess of $100,000 annualized per employee, self-employed individual or independent contractor.

The amount of forgiveness cannot exceed the principal amount of the loan.

Loan forgiveness is reduced if the borrower’s number of full-time equivalent employees decreases from a prior period and if the borrower reduces total salary or wages of any employee whose annualized compensation during any pay period of 2019 is $100,000 or less. 

If headcount and/or salary or wages are reduced between February 15, 2020 and 30 days after enactment of the CARES Act, the borrower can negate the effect of that reduction on loan forgiveness by eliminating the reduction through hiring and salary increases prior to June 30, 2020.

If a borrower has tipped employees, it may receive forgiveness for additional wages paid to those employees.

The borrower must apply for loan forgiveness and provide supporting documentation. The lender must make a decision on the application within 60 days.

Loan forgiveness shall be excluded from gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

“Employee retention” Tax Credit 

In the case of an eligible employer, there shall be allowed as a not-to-exceed credit against applicable employment taxes for each calendar quarter (from March 13, 2020, to December 31, 2020) an amount equal to 50% of the qualified wages with respect to each employee of such employer for such calendar quarter. Qualified wages include group health plan expenses paid by the employer that are excluded from the gross income of employees. An employee’s eligible wages for all quarters claimed is capped at $10,000. 

“Eligible employer” means any employer who with respect to any calendar quarter in 2020 is fully or partially suspended during the calendar quarter due to orders from an appropriate governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings (for commercial, social, religious, or other purposes) due to COVID-19 or has experienced a significant decline in gross receipts (i.e., less than 50% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year until the next calendar quarter that gross receipts are 80 percent of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year). Tax-exempt organizations described in Section 501(c) of the IRS Code are eligible. 

 

For eligible employers with more than 100 employees, the employee must not be providing services for the employer to receive the tax credit. However, employers cannot receive a tax credit for paying employees more than they would have received if they had been working. For employers with less than 100 employees, the employer can receive the tax credit even if the employee is providing services.

Employers that receive a Section 7(a) Small Business Act loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program are NOT eligible for this tax credit.

Employers would also be able to defer payment of applicable employment taxes from the date of the enactment of the Act until December 31, 2021 with respect to 50% of the amounts due and until December 31, 2022 with respect to the remaining amounts due. However, employers that receive loan forgiveness pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program would not be eligible for such a deferral.

For Full Summary Please Click Here 

 

State and Federal Financial Resources

To help our local companies and their employees, new programs are opening through the State and Federal government which can help companies access capital. These programs are designed so companies can meet financial obligations and pay ordinary expenses during this disruption period. More information about these programs are below and can be accessed by visiting their respective websites.

 

 

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.

 

 The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the bridge loan program is a short-term, interest-free loan program designed to help businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term U.S. Small Business Administration loans.

 

 More Information can be found here

 

 

The SBA is opening the eligibility for Economic Disaster Loans to companies in Florida who have been impacted by COVID-19. If you have suffered a substantial economic injury, you may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Eligible entities include, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations.

Loan Amounts and Use: Substantial economic injury means the business is unable to meet its obligations and to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses. EIDLs provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Your loan amount will be based on your actual economic injury and your company's financial needs, regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

 

More Information can be found here

 

Workforce and General Information

During this time, our workforce partner, CareerSource Gulf Coast is managing the COVID-19 response for all workforce related items for employees and employers who have been impacted by the coronavirus. To support your impacted workforce CareerSource GC has put together the following resources. The information can be accessed here. CareerSource is updating this information several times daily as new information is provided regarding workforce resources. Starting March 25th, out of EXTREME caution for staff members and customers, CareerSource is operating by appointment only. If you need assistance, you can schedule an appointment here.  

 

To assist businesses and employees, on Friday, March 20th, the Federal Government announced that the federal tax filing deadline was being extended from April 15th to July 15th. This will allow all taxpayers the additional time to complete filings and make payments, if needed, without penalties or interest.  Additional information on this will be forthcoming. An initial news report can be found here. 

 

On Friday, March 20th, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-71, directing all restaurants and food establishments within the State of Florida to suspend on-premise food and alcohol consumption for customers. The listed establishments may, however, operate their kitchens for the purpose of providing delivery or take-out services. 

 

This Executive Order lifts the restriction that prohibits a specially licensed food service establishment from selling package sales of alcohol for delivery, take-out or consumption off-premises for restaurants complying with Executive Order 20-68, through the expiration of the state of emergency declared in Executive Order 20-52. Alcohol sales to go with food that is pick-up or delivered will be permitted and I.D. will be required for orders including alcohol.

 

Additionally, the Executive Order requires the closures of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) shall utilize its authorities under Florida law to further implement and enforce the provisions of this Executive Order and shall take additional measures as necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare

 

Both the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce are playing instrumental roles in supporting our local communities and companies.  Each Chamber has set up a specific information portal that provides specific information that will support our communities.  We  encourage you to visit their respective pages by following the links below.

Bay County Chamber of Commerce

Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce 

 

From The White House: Manufacturers Survey

 

To prepare for the critical needs of this national healthcare response, the National Association of Manufacturers, on behalf of The White House, is seeking information from manufacturers on what critically needed items they have the ability to produce. Due to the urgency of the matter, The White House and the National Association of Manufacturers are requesting this survey be completed as soon as possible. When you have availability, can you please complete by clicking here. 

 

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact the National Association of Manufacturers COVID-19 response team at responseteam@nam.org.

 

Private Financial Institutions

We are working closely with our private financial institutions to help our companies access capital and learn of new programs that may be of assistance for their operation and employees. As new programs are released, we will continue updating this section to keep our businesses and organizations informed of resources available to assist them.

 

 

 
 
  Hancock Whitney  
 Hancock Whitney is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of health and safety. They are also working closely to ensure service is not disrupted in their financial services. Hancock Whitney is also services related to market and economic update and loan deferral assistance.
 
 
 

 

 

Regions Bank Announces Special Financial Assistance amid Coronavirus Concerns

On Friday, March 20, Regions Bank announced special financial assistance to help customers experiencing financial hardships related to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

In addition, the Regions Foundation, a nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank, is initially committing $2.5 million toward organizations that support small-business sustainability and recovery.

More Information can be found here

 

 

FACEBOOK Small Business Grants Program 

 To assist companies that may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19, Facebook has started the Small Business Grants Program. The company is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. To learn more about this program and to sign up to receive updates please see below. 

More Information can be found here

 

Bay County Community Information

To assist our companies and community leaders make informed decisions regarding COVID-19 response and resources below is a Bay County Community Impact Planning Report from ESRI. This profile provides a summary of the population and key healthcare indicators that are relevant for informed decision making.