UPDATE: Florida Governor Rob DeSantis activates emergency bridge loan program to get interest free short-term loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Read more here.
Like all of you, Florida SBDC at FIU has been following developments with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’d like to share updated information on COVID-19-related resources with small businesses. We will be rolling out a webinar soon and will bring you updated information on applying for disaster loans as soon as it is available.
SBA Disaster Assistance
- As announced, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be providing up to $2 million in low-interest Disaster Loans in designated states and territories for business impacted by COVID-19.
- The loans will be available for economic injury caused by COVID-19. Small businesses can use loan proceeds to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Eligible uses include paying fixed debts, payroll, accounts receivable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of COVID-19 impacts.
- Loan terms can be up to 30 years and the interest rate is 3.75% for businesses determined to not have credit available elsewhere. Nonprofits are eligible for loans at 2.75%. More information is available here: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
- Although the program has been activated, Florida businesses cannot apply for assistance yet. The next step will be for Governor DeSantis to request an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration after conducting a business damage assessment survey of the state’s businesses.
Economic Impact Survey
- The State of Florida has activated a survey which will help determine the economic impact of COVID-19 on the state’s businesses.
- This survey is now live. If your business has been impacted by COVID-19, we encourage you to fill out the survey. This will assist State/local authorities in determining the scope of impact and what type of financial assistance to provide to businesses.
- The survey is available online here: https://floridadisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments
Symptoms & How to Protect Yourself
- COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear between two (2) days or as many as fourteen (14) days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive information on the symptoms of this virus and how best to protect yourself and what to do if you have Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
- If you are looking for more information on how to protect your workers and employees, you can refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website
- It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- The most common question is performing environmental cleaning in your facilities. Currently, the CDC is recommending the following:
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfectionbeyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
- This guidance is from the CDC Interim Guidance for Business and Employers, which is available here.
Virus Survival on Hard Surfaces
- In terms of how long the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the World Health Organization has provided guidance, which is: “It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses.
- Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
- If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.”
- This question is on the WHO FAQ page (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also provided a list of disinfectants to use.
- Once an employee is tested and they are confirmed to have COVID-19 the Health Department will begin contact tracing. This involves asking the person who is infected who they came in contact with over the period in which they were infected.
- The Florida Department of Health has provided a diagram of how contact tracing is conducted, it is available here.
Florida SBDC at FIU Resources
- Our team of experienced business consultants is available to offer confidential, no-cost advising to business owners impacted by COVID-19. More information on our program and the services we offer can be viewed here: fiu.edu
- Florida SBDC at FIU has also set up a special email list for businesses that would like to receive regular updates from us on disaster-related information on the COVID-19 virus. If you would like to receive these periodic updates with additional COVID-19-related resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your preference to be added to COVID-19 resources email list.
Additional Business Resources
- Florida Short-Term Compensation: The Short Term Compensation Program is a voluntary employer program designed to help employers maintain their staff by reducing the weekly working hours during temporary slowdowns instead of temporarily laying off employees. More information is available here: http://www.floridajobs.org/office-directory/division-of-workforce-services/reemployment-assistance-programs/short-time-compensation-program-for-employers
- CareerSource South Florida: CareerSource South Florida administers programs to assist businesses with training needs and employees with re-employment. Contact CareerSource South Florida to learn more about its One-Stop services that may help you. More information is available here: http://www.careersourcesfl.com/
- S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
- Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
- Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/index.html
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
- S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Website: https://www.uschamber.com/coronavirus
- National Grocers Association COVID-19 Guidance: https://www.nationalgrocers.org/news/national-grocers-association-coronavirus/
- Food Industry Association COVID-19 Guidance: https://www.fmi.org/food-safety/coronavirus