Individual Artist Relief GrantsThe Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of the Arts (LDOA) will open the application period for Individual Artist Relief Grants starting Monday, March 29, 2021. The purpose of this grant is to provide relief directly to individual Louisiana artists impacted during the current pandemic or other natural disasters affecting our state in 2020. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, April 16, 2021. Click HERE to read the full press release with application information.
COVID-19 Business ResourcesUpdates from Louisiana Governor John Bel EdwardsContinuous updates from the Governor's office : https://gov.louisiana.gov/
Paycheck Protection Program Information from the National Restaurant AssociationWith restaurants all across Louisiana and the nation taking a hit due to the COVID-19 crisis, the National Restaurant Association has issued a full summary of the provisions contained in the bill and how they will affect the food service industry. You can access the summary by clicking here.
Applications Remain Open for SBA Disaster Loans
In addition to the Paycheck Protection loans described above, the SBA has already begun taking applications from Louisiana businesses for Economic Injury Disaster Loans to address revenue losses related to COVID-19. Low-interest loans with long-term repayment programs are available up to $2 million at a fixed interest rate of 2.75% for non-profits and 3.75% for businesses with specific terms based on your situation.SBA staff advise the process will take approximately 30-45 days to begin receiving funds and are encouraging applications immediately. Apply online by clicking HERE. While all SBA applications MUST be completed ONLINE, you can access paper copies of the forms HERE, along with instructions, in order to gather information beforehand and streamline the online process.Whether you plan on taking out a disaster loan or a 7(a) loan, if you have a relationship with a bank in your community, you should ask your banker if they are an SBA authorized lender. If so, your banker should be able to discuss the SBA loan options available to you. To see a complete list of SBA lenders in Louisiana, click HERE. Small businesses are also advised to ask your current bank if they are able to offer immediate bridge loan assistance or defer existing loan payments.The SBA has announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020, for borrowers still paying back SBA disaster loans from previous disasters such as the 2016 floods and Hurricanes Gustav, Ike, Katrina, or Rita. Borrowers of home and business disaster loans do NOT have to contact SBA to request deferment.If you have additional questions - or questions specific to your business - you are encouraged to contact the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in your area. While their offices are closed, technical advice is available remotely with SBDC experts. Click HERE to request a consultation and schedule a virtual meeting with SBDC staff in your area and/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Chamber Coronavirus Emergency Loans Guide to
Help Small Businesses
The US Chamber of Commerce has provided some initial guidance for small businesses who may be eligible for assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program that was included in the CARES Act that became law. Click here
U.S. Department of Labor
Issues New Guidance and Information on Paid Leave
The U.S. Department of Labor issued new guidance Saturday on the paid leave program mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the "Phase II" legislation in Congress' COVID-19 relief package.The FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 workers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. In general, employers must provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work due to quarantine or illness or up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at 2/3 the regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because of care giving. Most employers must also provide up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at 2/3 the employee's regular rate of pay for care giving.
Employers must display the Labor Department's "Employee Rights" poster in their place of businesses in order to offer more information to their workers. You can access a printable copy of the poster by clicking HERE. You can also find the display guidelines HERE.You can also click HERE to see the USDOL's answers to frequently asked questions about the program.To see the USDOL guidance on the paid leave program issued for employers earlier in the week, click HERE.
To access a copy of the full guidance from the Labor Department, click HERE.
Resources from the National Association of Manufacturers
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, LABI's national partners at the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. have produced guidance and information for industry as they respond and adjust operations.Last week, NAM hosted a webinar to discuss the impact of Coronavirus on manufacturers, their workers, how precautions are being put in place, as well as addressing legal questions, time off, pay, and other concerns.To see NAM's slide deck from the webinar, click HERE.In addition, NAM has made the following resources available.
NAM's resources for manufacturers
NAM's Policy Action Plan in Response to COVID-19
For more information, including ways to contact NAM's COVID-19 Response Team, visit their Coronavirus website.More Information on Forgivable Loans is Coming SoonMore information will be coming next week on this new "Paycheck Protection" SBA 7(a) loan program, as the Department of the Treasury and SBA begin to advise lenders. We will share all information as we receive it, but all interested businesses are urged to contact their existing lender for details.
Employers Should File Separation Notices When Workers' Unemployment is NOT COVID-19 Related
As part of the federal government's response to the Coronavirus crisis, Congress has enacted legislation that will provide individuals unemployed because of COVID-19 an additional $600 a week above what they receive in benefits through their state unemployment programs. This enhanced benefit will be available through July.With the additional federal assistance, workers unemployed in Louisiana due to COVID-19 will receive a weekly benefit of up to $847. Some employers are concerned this may induce employees to quit their jobs to collect a larger weekly check while this enhanced benefit is available. Read more about this issue HERE.The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit is to be paid only to “persons whose unemployment is directly due to the impact of COVID-19 or due to their inability to get to their job or worksite because they are sick, isolated or quarantined, caring for a sick family member, or when an employees' child's school is closed as determined by the administrator of the state's unemployment compensation program (i.e., the executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission).”
Therefore, if a worker quits in the absence of these COVID-19 criteria, employers should immediately inform the Louisiana Workforce Commission via its Form 77 – Separation Notice.In these cases, employers will need to note the business is open, the employee's function is still required and that there are no COVID-19 circumstances necessitating the individual’s decision to leave. Please note that this Separation Notice must be filed within 3 days of the date the worker separates from the business.
Louisiana Department of Insurance Issues New Emergency RuleIn response to the impacts of the Coronavirus crisis, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has issued Emergency Rule 40, a moratorium on policy cancellations and non-renewal by insurers.The emergency rule:
The full text of Emergency Rule 40 can be found online. In addition, LDI has other insurance information and resources available on their website.
Suspends cancellation, non-renewal and non-reinstatement by insurers, or premium finance companies acting on behalf of insurers retroactively to the start of this emergency period. Additionally, this rule clarifies that no policy can be canceled or non-renewed because of a claim that is filed during this emergency.
Policies may continue to be canceled for fraud and material misrepresentation or upon written request by the consumer.
Insureds remain obligated to pay all premiums. Any property and casualty claim during this period are subject to a premium offset prior to payment. Health and accident claims related to a delinquent policy may be pended during the moratorium and will be paid in accordance with procedures established therein.
LABI President Will Join Cong. Garret Graves for Online Discussion of Federal ReliefLABI President Stephen Waguespack will join Congressman Garret Graves Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. for a webcast discussion of how the CARES Act and other federal legislation will provide relief to businesses amid the Coronavirus crisis.The webcast will be moderated by Baton Rouge Business Report's executive editor, JR Ball. Questions may be submitted during the live webinar using Zoom's Q&A.Click HERE to register for the webcast.
COVID-19 Resources from NFIBTo provide assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, the National Federation of Independent Business has developed a variety of specific resources for small businesses.
Information from the Louisiana Department of HealthWith 3,540 cases of the Coronavirus confirmed across 59 parishes, the Louisiana Department of Health has made resources available for the state's business community.
To see NFIB's answers to frequently asked questions about the Coronavirus for small business, click HERE.
To see information from NFIB's Legal Center about COVID-19, click HERE.
To see financial information and guidance from NFIB, click HERE.
In addition, LDH has also made printable items available that can be placed around your place of business and company facilities if needed.For more information, visit LDH's coronavirus website or you can call the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing 211. In addition, you can text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for regular text updates from LDH on the coronavirus in our state.
To see LDH's Guidance for Business and Employers, click HERE
To see LDH's specific Guidance for Restaurants, click HERE