COVID-19 Coronavirus and Resources for Your Business

Note: This post was originally published on March 18 and has been periodically updated as additional information has become available.

First things first: Kelcey and David and their families are currently well. We have relatives who are currently in self-isolation due to suspected contact with COVID-19, but so far, these relatives have no symptoms.

Second, we are continuing to work remotely and can work with clients by email, phone, or video chat. We are suspending all in-person meetings for the moment. You can contact us as usual to work on your legal matters.

Third, we know this is a very scary time for many of our clients. We hope that you are staying home and staying safe. Small business owners are expecting to be particularly hard hit in this crisis, so here is a list of resources for your business and your personal life (which we will update as we learn of additional resources):

National and International Resources

The Small Business Administration is offering the following assistance:

  • Disaster loans, low-interest loans to help small businesses cover operating expenses after a declared disaster.
  • Local assistance in the form of free counseling, mentoring, and training services nationwide.
  • Paycheck Protection Program, loans designed to give employers incentive to keep employees on the payroll; they will be forgiven if your business keeps all of its employees on the payroll for eight weeks and meet other criteria.

The Internal Revenue Service has set up a Coronavirus Tax Relief page to help individuals and businesses explore their options for addressing tax issues. For the moment, the tax payment deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020, as has the filing deadline. You can also find general information about disaster assistance and emergency relief for individuals and businesses on the IRS website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have set up a page to help explain how to clean and disinfect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in households with suspected or confirmed infections as well as specific recommendations for high-risk populations and travelers.

The World Health Organization has an information page on the COVID-19 pandemic with travel advice, situation reports, media resources, information about research and development, frequently asked questions, and mythbusters.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set up a page with guidance about how to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in various types of workplaces.

The Department of Labor has a page with guidance about how to handle employment issues relating to workplace safety, wages, paid leave, and unemployment insurance. With respect to the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law No. 116-127, DOL has announced that it is working with the IRS regarding the tax-related provisions and will be providing emergency guidance for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees regarding exemptions. We will update with links when the guidance becomes available.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a page dedicated to its Coronavirus response.

You can also check, a one-stop Web portal that consolidates information from 17 US government agencies, and, an online resource to help you find federal benefits you may be eligible for in the United States, for information about individual and business assistance that may be available in your area.

The United Way is offering assistance finding food, paying housing bills, accessing free childcare, or other essential services, through some of its local affiliates.

Iowa Resources

The State of Iowa has created a general information page for coronavirus in the state.

Iowa Workforce Development has a page for employers and employees with questions about unemployment insurance. Governor Reynolds has announced that the due date for unemployment taxes is being extended from April 30 to July 31 to help small businesses. As of March 30, unemployment insurance will soon be available to self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers; you can file a claim now.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority has grants of $5,000 to $25,000 available for small business relief (application deadline: March 31 at noon) for businesses that meet the criteria: 1) suffering COVID-19-related economic damage; 2) had 2-25 employees prior to March 17, 2020; 3) physical location in Iowa. There are also grants of $5,000 to $10,000 available to support targeted small businesses with no employees. To be eligible, your business must be certified or have a certification application in process by April 10; the fund will accept applications until it is exhausted. There is also a page for general information and updates. Be sure to check regularly for updates on resources available to small businesses such as webinars about how to apply for loans or grants.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has the following resources:

Check for your local Iowa United Way to see what resources are available in your area.

Minnesota Resources

The Minnesota Governor’s Office has issued a stay-home order effective March 27 – April 10. There is an FAQ page about this order so you can figure out whether and how your business can continue to operate.

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development has a general information page with information for both employees and employers linked, including information about unemployment insurance. Minnesota is waiving raises to unemployment taxes for employers whose employees are collecting unemployment because of COVID-19; the FAQs in the previous link suggest strategies for avoiding layoffs. As of March 27, Minnesota will be making Small Business Emergency Loans available in the near future (check regularly to see whether the program is in effect now). As of March 30, unemployment benefits will soon be available to the self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors, but the state is awaiting federal guidance for implementation; you can learn more at this page.

The Minnesota Department of Public Health has the following resources:

Minnesota nonprofit WomenVenture has compiled lists of resources for child care providers, for small businesses, and for peace of mind.

Check for your local Minnesota United Way to see what resources are available in your area.

Other Resources

Biomedical illustrator Assata Worrell of Legacy Biostudios created a free poster showing proper handwashing technique that you can download and hang at your office or home, or share with your community.

Facebook is offering cash grants to small businesses worldwide.

Todoist has these tips for parents working from home with kids present.

Google is offering ad credits to small and mid-size businesses for Google Ads.

If you know of any other resources that we missed, please comment below.

Originally posted 3/18/20. Updated 3/19/20, 3/21/20, 3/23/20, 3/24/20, 3/26/20, 3/27/20, 3/30/20, 4/2/20, and 4/3/20.

Kelcey is a business attorney practicing internet law for clients in Iowa and Minnesota. If you have any questions about this post, please feel free to reach out to her via the Contact section of the site.