Help for Small Businesses
Affected by COVID-19
The LA SBDC can help small business owners at no cost.
Our advisors can help you understand your funding options, locate PPE for your employees, and manage safety protocols. We can also help you navigate supply chain issues, create remote work management plans, and discuss concerns about cashflow, credit, and other finance issues.
Do you need help getting PPE for your business?
The LA SBDC is leading a joint effort to give small business owners and their employees access to much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE).
Through the PPE Unite program, LA County business are eligible for a 30-day supply of free PPE to stay compliant and keep their employees safe.
Recent News & Information
Learn more about the funding options for businesses affected by COVID-19, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Get the latest updates on relief options, legislation, and regulations for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
View a current list of webinars for small business owners affected by COVID-19, including upcoming webinars and recorded webinars.
Questions about small business COVID-19 relief funding?
Get answers about disaster loans, PPP forgiveness, and other finance-related concerns at the California SBDC’s weekly webinars.
Wed & Thurs | 1pm PST | Registration is free.
In This Guide
Resources from CA Governor’s Office
Understanding resources available to employees impacted by COVID-19 – provided by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency
Support from the Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
- Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans for COVID-19 at: sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19.
Support from the California Employee Development Department (EDD)
The California Employee Development Department has announced support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California.
Assistance for Employees
Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.
Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.
Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.
Paid Family Leave provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.
Assistance for Employers
Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program.
This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs – retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program receive the percentage of their weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent.
Visit the Work Sharing Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers on COVID-19
Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Section 1: Recommended Strategies
Strategies to implement immediately to help prevent COVID-19 spread and to manage potential risks.
Section 2: Planning for an Outbreak
Businesses should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business operations and response plans as needed.
Section 3: Information and Resources
Information and resources, including links, on COVID-19, including up-to-date information from the CDC.
Section 4: Business Recovery Best Practices
Tips to help you and your business survive a major disaster or disruption.
Recommended strategies for employers to use immediately.
Actively 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 [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of 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.
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
Separate sick employees
- CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
- Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
- Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace.
- Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
- Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps.
- Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
- Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
- If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
Additional measures in response to currently occurring sporadic importations of COVID-19
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
Planning for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in the US
All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following:
(a) reducing transmission among staff,
(b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications,
(c) maintaining business operations, and
(d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains.
Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:
- Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
- Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
- 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.
- Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.
- Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.
Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, 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.
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
- Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
- Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
Recommendations for an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
- Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees. OSHA has more information on how to protect workers from potential exposure to COVID-19.
- Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s icon and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).
- Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies.
- For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved.
- Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
- Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractors, services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
- Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
- Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.
- Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
- In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.
- Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.
- If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling nonessential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
- Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
- Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.
- Engage state and local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information.
Information and Resources on COVID-19
- The Official CDC COVID-19 Website
- What You Need to Know About COVID-19
- What to Do If You Are Sick With COVID-19
- Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposure in Travel-associated or Community Settings
- Health Alert Network
- Travelers’ Health Website
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Small Business International Travel Resource Travel Planner
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 Recommendations for Ships
Other Federal Agencies and Partners
Business Recovery Best Practices
Best practices for businesses surviving a major disaster or disruption:
Remember that recovery can be a long-term process depending on the severity of the disaster.
Recovery can last many weeks, months and even years.
Be diligent in the practice of self-care.
Take advantage of mental health resources that are available to you. Do not skip meals. Be sure to exercise. Get enough sleep. These simple daily activities will help create stability as you navigate a new reality.
Know that you may need extra time processing information that is given to you.
Be patient with yourself and engage with services and resources when the time is right.
Be your own advocate.
Know your rights as an insurance holder and what federal and state resources are available to you. Connect with your local Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, SCORE or SBA office to learn about available local, state and federal resources you may be entitled to.
Ask for assistance even if you do not think it is necessary in the moment.
If your business has been impacted by a federally declared disaster, be sure to take advantage of all federal resources available to you. For example, in the event of a federally declared disaster, the SBA offers low interest loans to businesses that have been impacted.
You may not think that you need a loan immediately after a disaster, but depending on the severity, cashflow and sales may be impacted in the coming weeks and months.