For the next several weeks, in response to the COVID-19 situation, the EDC staff will be working primarily from their homes. Email is the most expedient way to reach staff. Email addresses can be found here in the Contact Info under the About Us section.

We are committed to providing full service and wish everyone safety in the coming weeks. 

 

Click here for our COVID-19 Business Resources Guide. 

Resources to help you and your business address COVID-19

This page will be updated with new and relevant resources for business as they become available. If you have information that you would like to share with Catawba County’s business community regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please email us.

On this page, you will find:

  Schedule Virtual Meeting: EDC Staff
  NC Stay at Home Orders - Executive Orders 135 & 121
  Lear’s Safe Work Playbook: Resource
  Business Safety Measures
  Assistance for Your Business
  Shifting Production to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  Unemployment Insurance Changes Due to COVID-19
  Covid-19 & Your Business Webinars
  We Need Your Feedback (Survey)
  Informational Resources for Your Business
  International Travel and Business Information
  Reliable Sources for COVID-19 Information and Updates

 

Schedule Virtual Meeting: EDC Staff

Since mid-March, Catawba County EDC staff have undertaken a significant 1-on-1 outreach program to area industry, calling and providing follow-up information to more than 300 companies. 

We continue to invite individual questions from local companies, but should you want to have a longer phone conversation or talk through a number of questions you and your team might have, please feel free to use this link to schedule a call (EDC also has GoTo Meeting capabilities) with Nathan Huret, Director of Existing Industries

 

NC Stay at Home Orders - Executive Orders 135 & 121

This past Thursday, April 23rd, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 135, extending North Carolina’s Stay at Home order through May 8th.  The orders extending closure of restaurants for dine-in service and bars and closure of other close-contact businesses are also extended through May 8. 

Governor Cooper also shared information about how North Carolina can gradually re-open over three phases to prevent hot spots of viral spread while also beginning to bring our economy back. These phases are based on the best information available now, but could be altered as new information emerges.

To read more about each phase and possible implementation of these phases, please click here for the Governor’s presentation.

On Friday, April 24th, Governor Cooper announced that public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Virtual learning will continue. Read more.


At 4:00PM on Friday, March 27th, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a Stay-at-Home order, effective at 5:00PM on Monday, March 30th and will last for 30 days. Additionally, the order prohibits gatherings larger than 10 people. It is important that you read the EO121 that is linked below.

Businesses deemed non-essential must cease operations at that time. "Essential Businesses" as defined in the order, and/or businesses with contractors/staff who operate solely out of their own residence and/or businesses who meet social distancing requirements may continue operations. See below AND review the order in it's entirety to determine if you meet these specifications.

Please note: No special documentation is needed from local or state authorities for a business that deems themselves to be essential or who falls under any of the categories stated above to continue operations. 

According to the Order, essential businesses and operations includes the following businesses, not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions. Review the order for details to self-determine if you meet these specifications.

  • Businesses that meet social distancing requirements
  • Businesses operating in CISA identified sectors
  • Healthcare and public health operations
  • Human services operations
  • Essential infrastructure operations
  • Essential governmental operations
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Religious entities
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial and insurance institutions
  • Home improvement, hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for COVID-19 essential businesses and operations
  • Transportation
  • Home-bases care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Defense and military contractors
  • hotels and motels
  • Funeral services
  • Additional COVID-19 essential retail businesses, which include electronic retailers that sell cell phones, book stores that sell educational material, beer, wine, and liquor stores, gas stations and convenience stores, pet and feed stores, lawn and garden equipment retailers

 

Lear’s Safe Work Playbook: Resource

Lear, a Tier One automotive supplier recently released their “Safe Work Playbook”, an interactive guide for Covid-19 pandemic preparedness and response.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Safe Work Playbook includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, that could be tailored by businesses to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the playbook based on real-time feedback.

The manual covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team
  • Cleaning and disinfection procedures
  • Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other social distancing strategies
  • On-site health screening
  • Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

As we look ahead to a time when shelter-in-place restrictions will slowly begin receding, reestablishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely will be a multi-faceted challenge – and this Playbook can be a tremendously thoughtful and detailed roadmap for management, HR and EHS team members. 

 

Business Safety Measures

With the potential for less staff on-site or even a temporary closure, the likelihood for property crime at your business is increased during this time.  Below are some security recommendations your business can take during this time to safeguard your property (those marked with an “M” are intended for larger facilities):

CLOSED BUSINESSES

  • Do not broadcast the closure of your business, which draws undue attention your facility’s vulnerability. (M)
  • Contact your local police department.  Let them know that your business has been closed and make sure they have an updated contact for the business. (M)
  • Review your security plans. (M)
  • Remove all cash from the business leaving cash drawers empty and open
  • Remove or secure items, especially those that can be seen and then grabbed by smashing an exterior window.  (M)
  • Lock up portable items stored outdoors, chaining them to one another or anchoring them to something immovable (M).
  • Check your security system is operational and accessible.  Arm it every time someone is not present.  Make sure the local police department has updated contact information for the business
  • Check to make sure security cameras are working (if applicable) and aimed at the right locations to capture suspicious activity and persons

REDUCED HOURS BUSINESSES

  • Review your security and staffing plans to ensure a sufficient number of employees are on site
  • Review plans for limiting opportunities for crime and insure staff know your procedures for robbery and theft incidents
  • Review your policies for cash on hand
  • Control access to the establishment for customers coming in for pickups; maintain safe spacing of at least six feet between people
  • Lock all doors that are not being used for the operation of your business
  • Secure access to non-public areas, bathrooms, and storage rooms
  • Train staff to be observant and report suspicious people within or around your business
  • Check to make sure security cameras are working and aimed at the right locations to capture suspicious activity

1

Assistance for Your Business

CONGRESS APPROPRIATES ADDITIONAL PPP FUNDS - As of April 24, lawmakers have approved $484 billion in funding for small businesses, including $310 billion for the PPP. SBA is expected to announce when it will take applications for PPP again. Check the SBA’s Coronavirus webpage for updates. While waiting for PPP funding to resume, businesses should collect all required documentation for the program and send it to their bank lender.

SBA PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) - The CARES Act funding for a federal small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program is designed to get cash in the hands of small businesses quickly, and incentivize business owners to keep employees on payroll by offering them loan forgiveness. This loan provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. SBA will fully forgive the loan if all employees are retained and if 75% of more of the money is used on payroll.  or answers to Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

LISC SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF GRANTS - The Local Initiatives Support Corporation grants will be made in the amounts of $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000. Applicants who applied in the first round must apply again by completing the application via the link below. Eligible Businesses - Small businesses and enterprises affected the COVID-19 across the country, especially those in under served communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for this funding. Application must be completed by Tuesday, April 28th, 11:59 p.m. ET. Read more here.

OTHER GRANT PROGRAMS - Inc. Magazine is maintaining a listing of grant opportunities for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Click here to review.  

COVID-19 CAPITAL RELIEF DATABASE - CASE at Duke launched #COVID19CapitalRelief, a searchable database for global, national and regional capital sources for profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs at risk due to #COVID19. It already contains over 90 capital offerings worth over $14.5 billion. To find capital, Click here

LOCAL BANK ASSISTANCE  - Many of our local banks are offering low interest loans, payment deferrals, lines of credit and more. Additionally, they will assist you directly with applying for the federal stimulus programs as indicated above. Contact your local banker to see what assistance they can provide. If you do not have a banker, our team can provide you with a list of our partners. 

 

Shifting Production to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

Economic Development Partnership of NC Guidance for Producers of Critical Medical Equipment and Supplies

  Want to make sure that others in the state know what you manufacture? Register on https://www.manufacturednc.com/. This site has existed for some time and is where we are directing individual hospitals and care providers who reach out to us seeking specific resources and items.

  Are you a manufacturer willing to help with production of finished PPE or materials? Is your business able to pivot to manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment? Manufacturers interested in contributing to textile PPE (gowns, masks, gloves, etc.) can contact the Carolina Textile District ((CTD is HQed in Morganton, NC)) for help in transitioning their production to prototype and producing medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. Contact Sara Chester. Carolina Textile District for more info at sara@theindustrialcommons.orgor by phone at 828-674-3141. The FDA has released guidance on masks (here), as well as hand sanitizer (here) in last couple of days.

  Are you a NC Manufacturer that can provide assistance producing critical healthcare products? Go to https://ncsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7R1zT6a3ffz96Hr and complete the form. The NC Manufacturing Extension Partnership will share the information with state and federal leaders who are seeking needed items. This includes parts or production of respirators.  If you have questions, please contact KeAnne Hoeg at ekhoeg@ncsu.edu.

  Looking for a site that facilitates connections for supplies and resources? BIO created the Coronavirus Hub to connect companies with capacity and resources with those that need them, including medical research centers, biopharmaceutical companies, testing developers and testing sites requesting supplies. The new hub will enable users to post requests for urgently needed items, as well as posting availability of supplies and capacity.



Unemployment Insurance Changes Due to COVID-19

The North Carolina Employment Security Division is publishing instructions and guidance on this page to help you understand new changes to the state’s unemployment system, due to the current impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus in North Carolina.

These changes were ordered by Governor Cooper on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, as outlined in his Executive Order 118.

The DES is working to ensure that necessary unemployment insurance benefits will be available to eligible North Carolinians affected by job loss due to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease in our state.

On this page, you will find answers and instructions:

 

Covid-19 & Your Business Webinars

In an effort to assist Catawba County businesses during this unprecedented time, local economic developer partners are continuing to host a series of webinars to provide beneficial health and business continuity information related to the Covid-19 virus.  In addition to this webinar series, the Chamber of Catawba County, Catawba County EDC (this page) and the SBTDC all offer Covid-19 Resource Pages for area business.  We hope you or representatives from your organization will be able to participate in these very important webinars.  The webinars will be recorded and placed online for viewing later if you are unable to make the presentation.

MOST RECENT WEBINAR

PPP Fund Utilization & Getting Back to Work: What You Need to Know
Presented by David Smith (Vice President of Compliance and Risk Management for EbenConcepts Company), topics include:

  • How to best manage PPP funds with the information we have today
  • New funding available – “Phase 4”
  • How to bring employees back to work and remain sensitive to health and safety concerns
  • Dealing with unemployment issues when rehiring employees

We Need Your Feedback (Survey)

In order to best understand how the EDC and other partners can assist you during this time - as well as gauge ongoing business impact from Covid-19 - we would greatly appreciate your 5-6 minutes to complete this IMPACT SURVEY by Friday, May 8th. 

Topics covered include: potential layoffs, year-over-year business comparisons, supply chain disruptions, & funding programs like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

 

Informational Resources for Your Business

National Association of Manufacturers: Coronavirus Resources
The NAM is in contact with federal officials who are overseeing the response to the coronavirus and they are working to share additional available information.

US Chamber of Commerce: Combatting the Coronavirus
The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact

COVID-19: FAQs on Federal Labor and Employment Laws
Ogletree Deakins provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus and guidance from federal agencies.

Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus
Fisher Phillips has assembled a cross-disciplinary taskforce of attorneys across the country to address the many employment-related issues facing employers in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The COVID-19 Taskforce has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, which has been continually updated since first published on March 3 and will continue to be updated as events warrant.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers (CDC)
The CDC provides this interim guidance to help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19. Let your employees know you are monitoring the situation and share best practices for prevention and treatment.

Coronavirus – FAQ for Employers (CAI)
CAI addresses some of the most common questions received during this period of rapidly changing information.

 

International Travel and Business Information

Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Assistance Importing Materials From International Locations
If your company is considering importing needed items or raw materials from overseas and you would like assistance vetting foreign sellers, please reach out to Michael Cole, International Trade Manager at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina at michael.cole@edpnc.com or by calling (919) 794-1158.

Travel > Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel (CDC)
This page offers current travel warning, alert and watches, as well as destinations with risk of community spread. RDU also has this page offering current information.

Pandemic Preparedness Planning For U.S. Businesses With Overseas Operations (CDC)
The United States Government has created the following guide to help U.S. businesses with overseas operations prepare and implement pandemic business continuity. This is a list of suggestions and can serve as a starting point for developing a comprehensive plan. The checklist highlights actions applicable to businesses of all sizes, although each item does not necessarily apply to every overseas business.

Getting Ahead of the Coronavirus Outbreak: A Checklist for Multinational Employers
Courtesy of a member company, a suggested macro-checklist for multinational employers designed to help plan for and respond to a potential pandemic.

 

Reliable Sources for COVID-19 Information and Updates

NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) COVID-19 Website: www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.  NC DHHS and NCAHEC Weekly Business Forum, Every Wednesday from 11:30am to 12:00pm beginning March 25, 2020.: The NC DHHS Division of Public Health (DPH) and NC AHEC will hold weekly forums for the NC business community. The forums will enable members of the business community to obtain timely information on COVID-19 and to pose questions directly to public health subject matter experts. Please submit any questions for subject-matter experts to prepare for in advance to questionsCOVID19businessforum@gmail.com. Questions must be received no later than 5pm on the Monday prior to the forum. Click here for call information.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Catawba County Public Health Website: www.catawbacountync.gov/county-services/public-health

Catawba County Public Health Facebook: @catawbacountypublichealth

North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline > 866.462.3821
The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, including daily updates.

World Health Organization: Video Explainer
Video from WHO explaining what’s currently known about the virus.

North Carolina AHEC Digital Library: COVID-19 Resources
A short, high quality list with selections from NC agencies and AHEC regions. Of note is this link to a list from the Eastern AHEC librarian containing a news feed for the latest information.