The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is a rapidly changing national emergency. As best we are able, the Chamber is compiling pertinent information that impact our business community, and will archive that information here. Please check here regularly as we will be updating this information as the crisis unfolds. As always, we encourage you to support local. However, the importance of your action has never been more vital. When you can do so safely, please use TAKE OUT, DELIVERY, and VISIT local businesses in our market.
Last Updated - Wednesday, May 27, 2020
If you have additional information you'd like to share or have questions about the information listed here, email Ryan W. Simons, President, Wilson Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com.
My Brother's Keeper Fund
GRANT APPLICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON MONDAY, JUNE 1
The My Brother's Keeper Fund (MBKF) is a grant program of the Wilson Commerce Foundation. All contributions made to the Wilson Commerce Foundation between now and June 1 will be applied to the MBKF. CLICK HERE to make a tax-deductible donation. Grant applications will be made available beginning June 1, 2020, and accepted through June 5. In order to be eligible for grant funding, applicants MUST:
- Be a FOR PROFIT personal or professional services business that has been prohibited from operating in ANY capacity according to Executive Order 138 issued on May 5, 2020 (those businesses where physical distancing proved improbable). Any business that has been authorized to operate since May 5 – even partially – is ineligible.
Examples of ELIGIBLE businesses:
- Barber shops
- Beauty salons
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Event venues
Examples of INELIGIBLE businesses:
- Most retail stores
- General office settings
- Most manufacturers
- Be a business whose primary physical location is in Wilson County.
- May not have employed more than 10 full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees at any time between January 1, 2020 and May 5, 2020.
- Must have been in continuous operation no less than one year prior to the stay at home order issued on May 5, 2020.
- Grants will be awarded based on demonstrated business expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, etc. Proof of the expense must accompany the application. Examples include copies of receipts, invoices, utility bill, etc.
- A final determination of eligibility will be made by a committee of the Wilson Commerce Foundation.
- Grant awards will not exceed $500 per business or applicant.
- Grant funds are limited. Not all eligible applicants will be awarded a grant, nor will all requests be awarded in full.
- No more than one grant will be awarded to each business or applicant.
Smart Restart Plan
The Chamber has developed it's Smart Restart Plan as a guide to help businesses in our market open quickly, safely, and successfully as a way to rebound from this crisis. CLICK HERE to view the plan!
Executive Orders / Shelter In Place / Stay At Home / Essential Businesses
Executive Order 135: INFO HERE
North Carolina's three-phase plan to reopen the state to commerce: INFO HERE
Health and Safety Information
The Wilson County Health Department is the authority on local information related to this crisis. As a department of Wilson County government, the health department will share pertinent news through the county's social media feeds.
Centers for Disease Control: INFO HERE
The CDC provides regularly updated information on the national trends of this crisis.
Business Financial Assistance
Low-interest loans up to $2M, with flexible terms available to most for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including churches. The latest guidance on the $10,000 "emergency funding" tethered to the EIDL limits the funding to $1,000 per employee. Likewise, due to high demand, SBA is no longer able to provide the emergency funding within three business days.
US Small Business Administration Express Bridge Loans: INFO HERE
The Express Bridge Loans (EBL) Pilot Program allows SBA Express Lenders to provide expedited financing up to $25,000 for 7 years.
One of the more anticipated elements of phase 3 of the CARES Act allows for 8 weeks of cash flow assistance, structured as a forgiveable loan. See fact sheet above for how to apply for assistance through a local lender. Effective Friday, April 10, independent contractors and sole proprietors are eligible for up to $10,000 in funding from the PPP. If you receive a 1099 or own a business with no W-2 employees, you are eligible to apply.
US Treasury Employee Retention Tax Credit: INFO HERE
Provides tax relief for businesses who maintain payroll despite significant losses or whose operations have been fully or partially suspended. Does not currently apply to businesses who participate in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): INFO HERE
LISC is opening it's second round of grant funding on May 14. The grants are targeted towards women and minority-owned businesses in under represented communities. $10,000 grants will be made as funds allow.
NC Rapid Recovery Loan: INFO HERE
Loans available up to $50,000 with six months no interest, no payments. Partnership between NC Rural Center and Golden LEAF Foundation.
NCDES updates it's website regularly to provide the latest information on how to apply for unemployment insurance and resources for employers.
The US Chamber of Commerce has published a useful backgrounder which has compares the various unemployment benefits available: INFO HERE
Wilson Times: INFO HERE
The Wilson Times is offering to list changes in operating hours for local businesses. A feature on their website linked above allows users to submit data directly to the newspaper. Additionally, the Chamber is advertising member restaurants offering takeout/pickup services on our Business Directory page.
US Chamber of Commerce - Reimbursable Paid Sick Leave: INFO HERE
New guidelines allow for most sick leave and FMLA expenses incurred by employers to be 100% reimbursed.
NC Small Business Technology Development Center: INFO HERE
SBTDC provides free counseling and advice to businesses navigating this crisis, including help completing applications for the financial assistance listed above.
Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC: INFO HERE
Now more than ever, it's important to protect your business' reputation. Customers will remember how you adjusted to these new economic conditions. The BBB has archived a number of webinars useful to preserving the brand you've worked hard to build.
Tax Foundation: INFO HERE
The Tax Foundation has assembled an easy to follow summary of the tax benefits built into the CARES Act.
Chamber member Servpro has developed cleaning protocol to help businesses disinfect for the coronavirus. They also provide customized cleaning solutions for homes and businesses.
National Association of Manufacturers: INFO HERE
If you are a manufacturer, and would like to help in the nation's efforts to supply critical infrastructure and PPE, please notify NAM at the link above.
Supply Chain Disruptions: INFO HERE
If you are experiencing supply chain disruptions, and need a North Carolina supplier to fill orders, or if you are a supplier and want to be able to serve local vendors, register here.
Tourism/Hospitality Industry Assistance: INFO HERE
The Visit NC 365 Conference was recently cancelled, however they plan to host a series of informational webinars tailored to the tourism and hospitality industry. Click on the above link to view the latest webinars as they are scheduled.
Wilson Chamber of Commerce members* have been granted "Enhanced" membership listings on our website. This allows you to post news, updates, information, photos and more at wilsonncchamber.com at any time, and the information also syncs with our social media feeds. If you aren't sure if you have login credentials, contact Tyler Mayes, and begin using this resource immediately. (* - Does not apply to "Friend of the Chamber" or "Individual" membership tier levels).
Chamber 101: Social Distancing Edition presented by Executive Personnel Group:
Recorded on April 23, this virtual edition of our popular Chamber 101 program covers what the Chamber has been doing to help our business community during this crisis, and offers guidance on some of the most popular financial assistance available to businesses.
Small Business Month presented by BB&T, Providence Bank, Select Bank & Trust, and Southern Bank, POSTPONED until August.
Public Policy Series Event #2 presented by the Action Group - Originally scheduled for April 7 - POSTPONED indefinately
Spring(FALL!) Expo presented by Greenlight Community Broadband - POSTPONED until Saturday, October 24!
Chamber Hours of Operation:
Effective May 11, the Chamber has returned to normal business hours: Monday - Thursday, 9a until 5p; Friday, 9a until 2p.
Sources Membership Directory:
Now is the time to ensure your business ad is included in the 2020 Sources directory. This year's directory will commemorate how our business community persevered through this crisis, and will be an affordable and useful way to remember how your business helped our market recover. To reserve your ad, contact Asia Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership / Invoicing
The Chamber relies on the generosity of its member businesses to continue to serve our community. While we are continuing to issue renewal invoices, and ask members who are able to pay to do so, we are also sensitive to the fact that many of our businesses are facing challenging times. Effective immediately, we are suspending dropping members for nonpayment of dues until Junly 31. If you are currently not a member of Chamber, but want to help support our mission to build a market where businesses prosper, please contact us. ASK US ABOUT OUR MONTHLY INSTALLMENT OPTION!
2020 Census participation forms have been mailed. Not only is participation in the Census a legal requirement, a proper count ensures that Wilson receives its fair share of representation and resources. Please do your part. For more information, visit my2020census.gov.
United Way of Wilson COVID-19 Relief Fund: INFO HERE
Please remember the non-profit agencies that are on the front line during this pandemic providing food, shelter, and assistance in our community. While staying home is recommended, you can still do your part by donating to the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Wilson County. Please consider helping financially if you are able.
Wilson County Schools: INFO HERE
Our public school system has published extensive resources for students and parents, and regularly posts timely updates on how schools are responding to this crisis.
Parent-led Teaching Resources: INFO HERE
With many parents and guardians serving as teachers while schools are not opened, see attached a resource sheet designed to provide structure to home-schooling activities.
Wilson Downtown Development Corporation: INFO HERE
WDDC has a new digital newsletter: Turnaround Times. Subscribe at the link above to learn about all the ways downtown businesses are adapting to these changing conditions.