Business Resources for COVID-19

Update 4/3/20

1st Lee County, Iowa case of COVID 19 is confirmed. The Lee County Health Department released a statement at 3:45 pm on 4/3/20 that a case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Lee County, Iowa. See full release here

Update 4/2/20

Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration - The proclamation orders the closure of schools until April 30th, waiving time requirements as long as school districts put in place a continuous learning plan. 

Update: 3/31/20

CARES Act Loans NOT YET Available
SBA Will Notify Iowa Lenders as Soon as Program Details Become Available: learn more here

NOTICE: The CARES Act has been signed into law, but those benefits are not yet available and IWD is awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.  IWD is now accepting applications for CARES Act benefits, and those claims will be processed as soon as IWD receives additional guidance.  For those who were previously eligible and have already applied, please continue to file your weekly claim. For those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers, or requesting an extension of benefits and are not currently filing weekly claims, please submit your initial application now. You may file a claim here.  If you have already filed a claim, you do not need to take any action at this time. Please continue to check this website daily for updates. Additional information and FAQs on the CARES Act can be found here

Update 3/26/20: 

Here are the changes Reynolds outlined Thursday as part of the expanded Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation:

  • All existing closures, including restaurants and bar closures, were extended an additional week to April 7. That is effective as of 10 p.m. Thursday.
  • She also ordered the closure of additional retail — book stores; clothing and shoe stores; jewelry stores; luggage stores; cosmetics, perfume and beauty supply stores; furniture stores; florists and home furnishing stores.

 View full proclamation here or the Official Press Release here

IEDA COVID Response Summary 


As we follow public health guidelines and common sense, we will give Lee County the best opportunity to stay resilient during this challenging economic time. We are embracing state guidelines to limit gatherings and social distancing practices. 

Our top priority has always been the health and safety of our community including employers, educators, residents and staff.

Let us know how this is affecting your business by completing the survey below

If we follow public health guidelines and these common-sense economic rules, we will give our county the best opportunity to minimize the economic impact. Follow the guidance of trusted sources. In a public health emergency, the sources of choice are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Iowa Department of Public Health


Small Business Assistance 

Iowa Small Businesses Affected by Coronovirus (COVID 19) Can Apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

 


What should employers do?

Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.

Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.

Encourage sick employees to stay home:

Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).

Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick. All sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.


Unemployment Benefits

If you are laid off due to COVID-19 or have to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, you can receive unemployment benefits, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements. 

Eligibility: Claimants that file will be eligible if they are out of work due to:

  • Caring for a family member with COVID exposure/illness
  • Loss of childcare or school closures
  • Employer shut down (temporary layoffs have always qualified)
  • Self-quarantine need
  • Ill with COVID-19 and unable to work due to sickness or quarantine

More specific explanation of benefit eligibility can be found at: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/2019-unemployment-insurance-claimant-handbook

Claims that are filed and identified as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, will not be charged to employers. Fact-finding interviews for these claims will be waived and not be held although employers will be notified of claims received.

Can an employee stay home under FMLA leave to avoid getting pandemic influenza?

The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with the flu where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition.  Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to the flu would not be protected under the FMLA.  Employers should encourage employees who are ill with pandemic influenza or are exposed to ill family members to stay home and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees in these circumstances. 

More Information here


Coronavirus-related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small - Midsized Businesses

Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

 Key Takeaways

  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers
    • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
    • Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the act.
    • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
    • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
    • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Fast Funds
    • Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
    • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
    • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Small Business Protection
    • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.

The act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

Find out more here


Additional Resources

Press Conferences

March 26th Press Conference March 23rd Press Conference   

   

March 20th Press Conference

March 19th Press Conference   
 

Helpful Websites:

Iowa COVID 19 Website 

Governor Reynolds Press Releases 

Small Business Resources 

How to Prepare Your Small Business for COVID 19

COVID 19 Fact Sheet

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Employers

 

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