The Cobb Chamber has assembled some helpful resources to assist you while navigating the new realities and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. Check back here often, we'll be adding content to this page as news develops and needs throughout our community are realized.
SBA announces when the PPP portal will open.
The Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program will officially reopen Jan. 11, the agency confirmed today.
The agency will only be accepting what its calling "first-draw" loans from small businesses that have yet to receive a PPP loan, and it will only be accepting those applications from lenders it has signaled as "community financial institutions." The agency has defined those as Community Development Financial Institutions, minority deposit institutions, certified development companies and microloan intermediaries, which means those lenders will be able to process applications and submit them to the SBA first.
On Jan. 13, small businesses applying for a second PPP loan will be able to do so, but once again only with community financial institutions.
The PPP will then open up to all participating lenders "shortly thereafter," the agency said as part of its announcement, though it did not specify an exact date. We have asked for additional details on that timeline and will update this story when we hear back. The $284.45 billion program, funded by the new $900 billion federal stimulus bill that passed in December, will run through March 31, according to the agency.
"The historically successful Paycheck Protection Program served as an economic lifeline to millions of small businesses and their employees when they needed it most," said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza in a statement. "Today's guidance builds on the success of the program and adapts to the changing needs of small business owners by providing targeted relief and a simpler forgiveness process to ensure their path to recovery."
The new program allows small businesses to apply for their first PPP loans, largely under the program's original rules when it rolled out last year, including a $10 million loan cap and a roughly 500-employee size limit, though that can change depending on the type of business and industry. PPP borrowers can choose between an eight-week or 24-week "covered period," in which to spend the PPP loan proceeds, of which up to 40% can be used on such business expenses as interest on mortgages, rent and an expanded set of costs, including property damage, supplier costs and personal protective equipment.
Small businesses that have seen at least a 25% quarterly revenue reduction in 2020 compared with the same quarter in 2019 will also be able to apply for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million, according to agency guidance. Small businesses of up to 300 employees are eligible for those. The program has also expanded to include news organizations, destination marketing organizations and nonprofits categorized as 501c(6), which includes local chambers of commerce and trade organizations.
We have already detailed some of the ins and outs of this upcoming PPP round and who qualifies, as well as which lenders will be able to access the portal first when it does go live. This is in addition to a separate $15 billion grant program for live venues and theaters — applicants can only apply and receive funds from one or the other.
The announced opening date comes after the agency released a new set of guidance Wednesday to help govern the program, including that small businesses that are temporarily closed or suspended are still eligible for a second PPP loan. But businesses that are permanently closed are not. It is unclear what criteria SBA will use to differentiate between the two, though the "certification" that business owners make includes a pledge that they do not permanently shutter.
Financial Assistance for Powder Springs Residents
Powder Springs residents negatively affected by COVID-19 can now apply for financial assistance for mortgage or rent and utilities.
The City of Powder Springs Financial Assistance Program is aimed at city residents negatively impacted due to employer shutdowns, furloughs, school closures, layoffs or illness during the pandemic. Funded by federal dollars through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and given to the city by the county, the one-time assistance for eligible individuals or families would cover up to two months of mortgage/rent and utilities.
Individual and family households may be accepted in the assistance program, with households required to have a combined household income below 200% of federal poverty guidelines and lack sufficient resources to maintain permanent housing. Evidence of "lacks sufficient resources" includes but is not limited to source documents such as notice of termination from employment, unemployment compensation statement, bank statement, health care bill showing arrears or utility bill showing arrears.
The program is being administered by the Center for Family Resources, which will make payment(s) of each assisted household covered debts directly to the owed vendor(s).
Assistance funding is capped at $111,000, with the application cutoff date set for Dec. 15, 2020, or when all funds are used.
Additional eligibility details can be found on the city's website, cityofpowdersprings.org, with applications available through the Center for Family Resources by calling 770-428-2601.
Congressman David Scott’s Drive-Thru COVID-19Testing & Food Distribution Event
Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Congressman David Scott, Cobb and Douglas Public Health, The Family Health Centers of Georgia, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Georgia Association of Broadcasters, and Urban League of Greater Atlanta are hosting a free COVID-19 testing and food distribution event at Word of Faith Cathedral in Austell. Food will be distributed on a first come, first served basis to the first 600 vehicles with a limit of one distribution of food per household while supplies last. To pre-register for testing, click here. There is no cost to be tested. Photo identification such as a driver's license, state issued ID, or school or work ID must be presented for testing. For more information, call Congressman Scott's Office at 770-210-5073.
Gov. Kemp Signs New COVID-19 Executive Order
Kemp signed a new executive order that allows local government to
issue mask mandates. Local governments and private businesses can require masks
as long as they meet various guidelines. Read the executive order here.
Mobile COVID-19 Testing Available
Samson Tours, a charter bus company, is facilitating mobile testing across Georgia. If you'd like to feature this service at your business, contact 23 Consulting, LLC at 23consultingllc.com/covid-19.
Reviving a Healthy Georgia
Governor Brian Kemp issued a new Executive Order on Tuesday afternoon relaxing restrictions for restaurants and day cares, while extending restrictions for bars, nightclubs, and live music venues. View the executive order here.
Next Wave of Federal Funding Approved
Congress has approved $484 billion in new COVID-19 funding relief. This relief package includes money for the small business loan program, hospitals and testing. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided a summary of the new CARES Act funding. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by the end of the week.
Georgia National Guardopens drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at KSU
Under the direction of Governor Brian Kemp, the Georgia National Guard
has selected Kennesaw State University to host a new, drive-thru site to test
Georgians for COVID-19. The testing site, located on the university's Kennesaw
campus, will be commanded by the Georgia National Guard, with testing performed
by medical personnel from Augusta University. Testing will be by appointment
only; no walk-up testing will be allowed in order to protect workers. The
testing facility at KSU will operate daily, from 8am to 12pm and will be able
to facilitate 240 tests each day. This location will be operated as a
controlled environment with personnel following the strictest health and safety
protocols. Individuals may request a virtual screening for the virus at www.augustahealth.org
or download a virtual screening app for their smart phone through AU
Governor Kemp Utilizes the Georgia National Guard
Cobb Chamber Launches COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce
The Cobb Chamber has started an Economic Recovery Taskforce to develop and implement a strategic approach to proactively drive our community's economic recovery from COVID-19. Learn more here.
For more information on the COVID-19 Federal Stimulus plan, click here.
To stay up to date on the changing information, sign up for Congressman Loudermilk's newsletter, here.
Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department announced up to $2.3 trillion in additional loans to support the economy. Click here to read more.
CDPH to Increase COVID-19 Testing
Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) is expanding its drive-thru testing criteria at both the Jim Miller Park and Hunter Park testing sites. Click here to learn more.
For a full list of Business Recovery Webinars and supplementary information, click here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Eligibility Expanding to all Georgians 16 and Older
Gov. Brian Kemp announced that starting on Thursday, March 25, all adults in Georgia, over the age of 16, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Georgia Department of Health lists participating vaccine sites, links for scheduling appointments, search tools by county and other helpful information here.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health has the latest information on the vaccine, links to schedule a vaccination appointment, and links to other providers.
a Vaccine Site through Georgia DPH
Several pharmacies including Ingles, Publix and Kroger are now administering COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals 65 years and older. The Georgia Department of Health lists participating vaccine sites, links for scheduling appointments, search tools by county and other helpful information here. Cobb & Douglas Public Health and healthcare providers will also continue administering vaccines to those 65 years and older.
Innovation Compounding - an independent pharmacy based in Kennesaw - is helping accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Georgia. The pharmacy is scheduling appointments on www.VaxGeorgia.com and vaccinating health care professionals from the comfort of their vehicles.
Guides and Resources from the U.S. Chamber
The Cobb Chamber greatly appreciates our partnership with the U.S. Chamber to provide national resources for our members including:
- Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans
- COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ
- Federal Unemployment Assistance Proposals: State Impact Comparison
- Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness
- Reopening Business Digital Resources Center
- Reopening Business Digital Resources Center Toolkit
- Small Business Reopening Playbook
- Main Street Lending Program Guide
- State-Specific Guidance Map
- Backgrounder on Health Coverage Options
- Backgrounder on Unemployment Insurance Under the CARES Act
- Independent Contractor's Guide to CARES Act Relief
- Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
- Temporary Paid Leave and Family Medical Leave Guide
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program Guide
- Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide
- Coronavirus Small Business Guide
- Coronavirus Response Toolkit
Georgia Reopening Plan
Reopening Guidelines for Businesses
The Cobb Chamber and its Reopening Taskforce have developed a helpful guide to help business owners as they prepare to reopen. Inside, you'll find tips on how to prepare your work space, how to protect your employees and customers, and how to mitigate the spread of the virus. Click here to read more.
The Governor's communications team has put together a helpful webpage with industry-specific guidance so that restaurants, gyms, estheticians, etc. have clarity regarding the rules they must abide while resuming business operations. The state has also issued a new Covid-19 FAQ Page, providing additional clarity on Georgia business operations.
Restaurant Guidelines for Reopening Dine-In
Are you a restaurant that's considering reopening? The National Restaurant Association has a reopening guide for dine-in operations during the pandemic. Read more here.
Get Cobb Back to Work
The Cobb County Government's Geographic Information System has created an online hub for business owners and companies to submit employment opportunities and amended business hours.
HELPING COBB'S NON-PROFITS
Cobb Community Foundation: The Cobb Community Foundation is a great resource for reaching out to help out our non-profit community. This article is a start to learning more.
CCF has also established the Cobb COVID-19 Community Response Fund as a vehicle to support non-profit organizations serving Cobb as they respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Contributions to this fund will be distributed swiftly as needs arise. CCF has intentionally established this fund with flexibility in mind to ensure that these resources may support communities as conditions, circumstances, and needs change throughout this crisis. The fund is available now to receive contributions. Instructions to non-profits for grant requests will be posted shortly.
There are numerous churches and organizations making sure that food is available to those who need it. Cobb Community Connection will house information about each site, including who is served, what is provided, and hours of operation as well as a map view of locations. Food site information is currently being collected and confirmed will be updated continuously throughout this crisis. Any organizations delivering meals or otherwise providing food should contact Cobb Community Foundation at 770-859-2366 or email CCFTeam@cobbfoundation.org.
Tommy Nobis Center: The Tommy Nobis Center is asking for vehicle donations. Anyone wishing to donate a vehicle to help further the mission of empowering individuals with disabilities through employment can complete their donation application at: https://tommynobiscenter.org/ways-to-help/vehicle-donation/
Center for Family Resources: In honor of the 60th year serving our community, the Center for Family Resources will be raising $60,000 in 60 days to provide much-needed emergency assistance to families who can no longer pay rent, mortgage or utility bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please help ensure CFR can continue to be a resource to Cobb County residents and donate to our '60 in 60' campaign here: http://bit.ly/cfrgive
TAKING CARE OF OUR STUDENTS
With the impact on families in need that have students on free and reduced lunch, Cobb Schools, Marietta City Schools & several non-profits are stepping up in major ways to meet these needs including deliveries to families, access to internet thanks to Comcast and AT&T, and much more.
Support Our Schools
In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, our local public schools have faced unprecedented challenges as they continue providing the premier education that sets Cobb apart. This year, we are partnering with the Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools to overcome these challenges. Here are a few ways you can help.
- Financial Donations: For childcare, food security, digital learning equipment, etc.
- In-Kind Donations: School supplies, computers and headphones, mobile hotspots, and services such as preparing donated computers for student use.
- Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers may be helpful for a variety of needs.
- Social, Emotional, and Academic Support: Stress management classes, internet safety classes, internships, virtual business tours, and virtual "day in the life" experiences.
Learn more about the
donations that will make a big impact and how the Chamber can connect your
business with a school, here.
Cobb County Schools Family Stabilization Program
To support Cobb County students in need with Cobb School's Foundation, click here.
Marietta City Schools Meal Delivery
Each weekday, MCS bus drivers will load up their bus with meals and stop at 81 sites along 18 routes. Click here to learn more.
KSU Launches the Moving Forward Fund
Kennesaw State University has established a fund to help students facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Moving Forward fund provides direct assistance to students to pay for food, housing, tuition, books, transportation and other education-related needs. You can make a donation at the Moving Forward Fund website.
YMCA Launches Y Campus Connection
Cobb County's YMCAs are offering a virtual learning support program for working parents. Students receive a full-day program of support for their online schooling and enjoy engaging activities in a socially distanced and safe environment. Register for the program.
SUPPORTING COBB'S SENIORS
The Center For Family Resources and MUST Ministries staff are working with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to get food into the hands of our in-need residents. Six Flags Over Georgia is donating their extra food to seniors and families in need.
ORGANIZATIONS STEPPING UP
Several organizations are doing what they can to help in this time of need, by not terminating services due to inability to pay or by offering creative ways to deliver services.
Atlanta Gas Light
DEVELOPING A TELEWORK PLAN
With many organizations working remotely, Georgia Commute Options has resources that can help you maintain business continuity. Georgia Commute Options is offering a free quick start telework guide. Whether you have a solid, formal telework policy in place or are starting from scratch, this can be a great resource. Click here to access.
Georgia Commute Options held three webinars, which can still be watched online.
View this online training resource with best practices for telework, self care, and other helpful topics during COVID-19.