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 Job Retention Grants
  NC Executive Orders
  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 Job Retention Grants

North Carolina businesses and certain nonprofits that missed out on other COVID-19 relief funds can now apply for a new state program offering up to $250,000 in grants to help companies maintain their workforce.

Applications for the Job Retention Grants are available here on the North Carolina Department of Commerce website. The short window for applying closes September 1st, so applicants should move quickly.

State lawmakers provided $15 million for the grants being awarded by Commerce. The funding is part of a larger $500 million Covid-19 relief measure signed by the Governor July 1st.

The new grants are an entitlement program - if qualified applicants request amounts that total more than the $15 million available, each grant award will be reduced proportionally.

Grant recipients must not have participated in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the federal Main Street Lending Program, or the North Carolina Rapid Recovery Loan Program.

In addition, an eligible business or nonprofit must meet the following conditions:
  • It employs at least 90% of the number of full-time workers during the COVID-19 period (defined as March 1 to May 31) in North Carolina as it employed at the end of February.
  • It demonstrates that it experienced an economic loss due to the pandemic. For a business, that means its sales for the COVID-19 period are at least 10% below sales for the same period last year. For a nonprofit, that requires its gross receipts for the COVID-19 period are at least 10% below its gross receipts for the same period last year. 

The maximum grant amount is up to two months of a company’s average monthly payroll costs from 2019, plus 25% of that amount. But the grant is capped at $250,000.

To learn further about the program, NC Commerce will offer two webinars next week: Monday, August 8th (11:00AM) and Thursday, August 13th (2:00PM). Registration has not opened for these webinars yet, please contact us and we will ensure you receive the information to participate.

NC Executive Orders

Wednesday, June 24th, Governor Cooper extended the Phase 2: Safer at Home order along with implementing a mask requirement while in public places. This new order went into effect on Friday, June 26th at 5 PM. Read the FAQ for Executive Order 147 here. 

Click here to download a digital face covering poster for free to print and display. A second option can be downloaded by clicking here

Monday, June 8th, state health and education leaders released interim guidance this week on how North Carolina public schools can reopen next school year from the coronavirus pandemic. Read the interim guidance here.

Friday, June 5th, The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), was signed into law by President Trump which includes a number of key provisions providing greater flexibility for the PPP Program. Read the PPPFA here; key points summarized below.

Wednesday, May 20th, Governor Roy Cooper announces North Carolina will move into Phase Two on Friday, May 22nd at 5 PM with Executive Order 141.
Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Roy Cooper announces North Carolina will move into Phase One on Friday, May 8 at 5 PM with Executive Order 138.  Business Guidance for Phase 1.
Monday, May 4th, Governor Roy Cooper signed SB704 & HB1043 into law which included a COVID-19 Relief package of $1.6B for critical expenditures related to public health & safety, educational needs, small business assistance, & continuity of state govt. operations.  
Friday, April 24, Governor Cooper announced that public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Virtual learning will continue. Read more
Thursday, April 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper announced that that his “Stay-At-Home” Order would remain in place through Friday, May 8, 2020. This order specifically continues his prior Executive Order 121. For more information, here is a link to today’s Executive Order 135 and here is a link to Executive Order 121 which was issued on March 27, 2020. 
Additionally, Governor Cooper 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 Cooper’s phasing approach to re-opening NC’s economy, click here.

Thursday, April 9th – Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order 121 that provides new required and recommended policies for retail establishments, addresses COVID-19 mitigation measures for long-term care facilities, and expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims by expanding availability of the attached claims process. To learn more or review some FAQs about Executive Order 131, please click here

Friday, March 27th – Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a Stay-at-Home order, effective at 5:00PM on Monday, March 30th.  Businesses deemed non-essential must cease operations.  Essential Businesses as defined in the order, businesses with contractors/staff who operate solely out of their own residence and businesses who meet social distancing requirements may continue operations.  Review the order for details to determine if you meet these specifications. No special permit is needed for a business deemed essential or who falls under any of the categories stated above to continue operations. Read Executive Order 121:  EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3

For a complete summary of all updates that have taken place since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in NC: Updates since March 3, 2020


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):


  • 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


  • 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


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 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 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

  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.


COVID 19 & Your Business Webinar Part 6: Open, Safe, & Profitable
As we enter into a phased reopening of our economy, the decisions and actions taken now will determine the success of your business in this "new normal". Thankfully, there are a host of partners ready to assist and are happy to provide the following webinar opportunity.

Ron Elmore, Regional Director, Small Business Technology & Development Center
Jeff Neuville, Director, Small Business Center at Catawba Valley Community College
Lindsay Keisler, President/CEO, The Chamber of Catawba County

Topics include:
What questions do you need to ask yourself to reopen profitably?
Communicating your reopening plans with your employees & customers
Sales forecasting and managing to cash
The Open & Safe Commitment

This series provided by: The SBTDC, The Small Business Center at CVCC, The Catawba County EDC & The Chamber of Catawba County


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 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:  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 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:

Catawba County Public Health Website:

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.