City of Lincoln and Lancaster County Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Resources
For information on how you can help support our local businesses, visit our How to Help page.
COVID-19 Related Guidance for Employers and Employees
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance for employers to plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), including tips related to telework/telecommuting, business continuity planning, leave policies, and other workplace measures. The CDC has also issued guidance for employees on healthy workplace habits, including commonsense hygiene practices. Other business-related guidance can be found at the CDC.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has compiled a Business Pandemic COVID-19 Planning Checklist to assist businesses with planning for the impact of the virus on business operations, employees, and customers. This checklist is intended to help businesses prepare and respond to COVID-19 at an organizational level.
Other resources along these lines can be found at the US Chamber of Commerce.
Federal COVID-19 Relief and Requirements
SBA loans – the US Small Business Administration is offering immediate cash flow assistance to businesses through a couple low-interest loan programs.
- Economic injury disaster loans – businesses, nonprofits, and independent contractors impacted by COVID-19 can get up to $2 million in assistance with these loans, at a low interest rate. Apply now and get up to a $10,000 cash advance for emergency capital.
- Express bridge loans – if you have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender, your business may qualify for an express bridge loan of up to $25,000.
- Paycheck Protection Program loans – businesses, sole proprietors, nonprofits, and independent contractors impacted by COVID-19 can get up to $10 million in assistance with these loans, at a low interest rate. These loans are offered through SBA approved lenders, and if you retain your employees through June, part of your loan may be forgiven. Learn more and apply now.
NMotion, in partnership with gener8tor and the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, is helping small businesses by offering free coaching and information on SBA loans, changes in employment law, relief programs, and mental health resources. To join, visit gen8lnk.com.
Required paid leave (subject to federal reimbursement) – businesses with fewer than 500 employees must provide a certain amount of paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave to employees who are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. Private employers will receive reimbursement for this expense through payroll tax credits. Learn more by reviewing the US Department of Labor’s employer paid leave requirements and FAQs. Make sure you post this notice of employee rights in your workplace in order to satisfy the new law.
- If you’re self-employed, you may be able to claim a tax credit for paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave related to COVID-19.
Unemployment compensation – the COVID-19 relief packages passed by Congress include a number of changes to unemployment compensation. For more information, see Unemployment Assistance on the Resident Resources page.
Tax relief for businesses – the federal CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020 includes several key changes to the tax code, to the benefit of the business community. Here is a helpful summary of this federal tax relief.
Short Time Compensation (Prevent Layoffs)
The Nebraska Department of Labor offers a Short-Time Compensation program that is designed to prevent layoffs by allowing employers to uniformly reduce affected employees' hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated unemployment benefit. Application information can be found at the Nebraska Department of Labor.
Unemployment benefits are typically paid with contributions from employers. The Nebraska Department of Labor is temporarily waiving charges incurred by employers for claims filed by former employees related to COVID-19. For more information on unemployment compensation in light of COVID-19, see Unemployment Assistance on the Resident Resources page.
Employment and Hiring
EmployLNK is a mechanism whereby job seekers can be matched up with employment opportunities. It enables the sharing of hiring information between businesses and workforce-related agencies. Participants on the workforce side include 20+ agencies representing 5,000 job seekers, with participation from the Nebraska Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance, ResCare/American Job Center, Lutheran Family Services, Catholic Social Services, the New Americans Task Force, and many more.
Hiring information is specifically shared with 900+ case managers and human service workers to ensure that it reaches job seekers and those assisting them. If your organization is still hiring, contact Bryan Seck, email@example.com, to share your organization's information.
- Facebook announced $100 million in cash grants for small businesses. Details have yet to be announced on what businesses are eligible for the grants. There is a link you can use to sign up for updates and information when it becomes available.
- Google is supporting small and medium-sized businesses by offering free ad credits, so you can stay in touch with your customers during this challenging time.
- If you’re a bar or restaurant owner, Uber Eats is waiving the delivery fee for many businesses.
- The Zoom Basic Plan allows you to host up to 100 participants in a meeting and hold unlimited one-on-one meetings with the video-conference provider's complimentary plan. Note that there is a 40-minute limit on group meetings, though you're not limited to the number of meetings.
- The Main Street Initiative is offering eligible businesses zero-interest $2,000 loans.
- Read this legal analysis to understand how "force majeure" or the concept of "act of God" applies to contracts affected by the coronavirus.
- The Insurance Federation of Minnesota put together a Frequently Asked Questions document on business interruption insurance.