As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., it's important for Louisiana businesses to be nimble and think outside-of-the-box to keep their operations afloat. Thanks to internet, business owners have free access to a slew of online resources that can help them overcome the challenges caused by the COVID outbreak.
Here's a list of some of the most handy resources available to help guide your business decisions during this difficult time.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends employers begin implementing the following steps now:
- Encourage employees with acute respiratory illnesses to stay home
- Separate sick employees
- Emphasize cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene
- Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Advise employees about the risks prior to traveling to countries that have had a significant outbreak
- Consider informing employees in the case of possible exposure in the workplace
PLANNING AND RESPONSE
- Guidance for employers to plan and respond to coronavirus — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's recommended strategies for protecting your business from the virus while ensuring continuity of operations.
- Ready.gov business continuity plan — A collection of emergency toolkits hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. The kits offer business leaders a step-by-step guide for building preparedness within an organization.
- Restaurant owner information and resources — Industry-specific guidance for restaurant owners and operators.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — The Treasury Department and IRS just announced a three-month delay for any tax payments owed up to $1 million. You’ll still need to file your returns by April 15, 2020 but will have until July 15 to pay. This will apply to individual tax returns but should also cover many pass-through small businesses.
- Employees 1st — If your employees have been impacted by COVID-19, you can set up a grant account to provide financial assistance directly to your employees and receive beneficial tax deductions while doing so. This grant program is administered by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program — Facebook recently announced its $100 million grant program for small businesses. Applications aren’t open yet, but the company says the goal of the grant program is to help small businesses with rent and operational costs.
- [PENDING] Small Business Administration (SBA) — While not currently available in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The loan program would provide qualifying small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome temporary loss of revenue.
- Louisiana Office of Public Health
- International Economic Development Council
- Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LABEOC)
- Louisiana Workforce Commission
- OSHA Guidance
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCS)
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