The topic on everybody’s mind is the novel (new) Coronavirus (COVID-19). As everyone is doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus, we here at Advance Iowa wanted to share resources available to small business owners in Iowa.
COVID-19 will affect your business in some way - from employees staying home sick, vendors unable to fill orders, and customers staying away - your small business needs to be prepared.
Resources in Iowa
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)
The IDPH has a wide range of topics and resources available to the public. This includes things like webinars to prepare your Iowa business during this time, press releases from the governor’s office and other government agencies, info on the food industry and current business guidelines, social distancing, and more.
Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)
The IEDA has collected multiple resources available from their partners across the state - including assistance for employers/employees affected by layoffs, access to disaster loan programs through multiple chambers of commerce, and more!
Iowa Workforce Development (IWD)
The IWD shares a variety of information regarding an unemployment insurance benefit overview for your workers, answers for questions regarding unemployment insurance benefits, and webinars that go into detail about those benefits as well.
The Voluntary Shared Work (VSW) program may be a viable option for employers dealing with challenges from COVID-19. The program is intended for use as an alternative to layoffs and can be an effective tool for Iowa businesses experiencing a temporary decline in regular business activity. Approved VSW plans may be valid for up to one year from the plan’s starting date. Learn more about how you can integrate VSW into your workforce.
Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS)
The CIRAS shares quite a few links regarding protecting your business in general, but goes into great detail when talking about protecting your supply chain.
Iowa State Bar Association (BAR)
The BAR has a range of information within the legal side of things, including an interesting article from the Harvard Business Review explaining your legal obligations as an employer during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI)
The ABI provides a list of resources that are available for employers to provide information and track the disease. One resource they list in particular, is through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, where you can learn about what businesses are doing to assist businesses / individuals at this time. Some examples include donated medical supplies, grants, free shipping/items, etc.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The Treasury Department and IRS are extending the due date for Federal income tax payments due April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, for payments due of up to $10 million for corporations and up to $1 million for individuals - regardless of filing status - and other unincorporated entities. Associated interest, additions to tax, and penalties for late payment will also be suspended until July 15, 2020.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE has provided a comprehensive list for small businesses to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Who are your employees with critical skills who can’t be easily replaced on short notice? Can you train someone quickly, perhaps even outsource their work? Their site also talks about preparing for cross training employees, remote working, and preparing for supply chain issues.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has put together a document outlining disaster assistance resources for businesses and the Coronavirus. Aquí está la Asistencia por Desastre de la SBA en Respuesta al Coronavirus en español. Feel free to check out their press release regarding Coronavirus disaster relief lending. Follow their guide for business and employers to plan and respond to the virus and the lending process.
Currently Iowa is not listed as eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. But, once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Check back regularly for updates.
US Chamber of Commerce
The US Chamber of Commerce has created a customizable flyer for businesses to display ways they are combating potential contamination of COVID-19 and other viruses. Here is a sample model pandemic flu policy for your business to incorporate now and in the future.