COVID-19 Resources

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Unemployment Benefits
Online application for UI benefits

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Arkansas State Chamber
Employer Resources: State & Federal

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AEDC
Arkansas Business Loan Program

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CDC Updates
Guidance for Employers & Employees

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Paycheck Protection Program
CARES Business Loan Program Details

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Small Business Administration
Small Business Loan Resources & Help

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ASBTDC Updates
Resources for Small Business

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Startup Junkie
Disaster Loan Guide

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State of Arkansas Updates

As part of the reopening process and stipulations surrounding reopening your business, specific Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizing solutions will be necessary. The State of Arkansas has put together a list of in-state companies who can fill most needs you may have in the reopening process. 

Once the official Directive from the Governor is out regarding the reopening of restaurants, you can find specific information on the stipulations to opening on the Arkansas Department of Health Website.

Governor Asa Hutchinson does a daily briefing for those interested in hearing the state of Arkansas COVID-19. He also uses this time to make any more proclamations and/or mandates. The link below is for those briefings.

On Monday, April 6, 2020 Governor Hutchinson made a proclamation that all businesses that are open must have a sign in their entrances. We have a sign from the Arkansas State Chamber below for you to download and put in all entrances of your business.

Governor Asa Hutchinson will soon start announcing dates to ease restrictions on businesses and gatherings of people in the "Reopening America" campaign. Even though we are reopening the economy, it is still important to follow guidelines that are handed down from the experts, whether that be government or health organizations. While you make a plan to reopen, we will do our best to continue updating this page with information to help you do so in the best way possible. Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, please take precautions and be responsible! 

A guide from the Arkansas State Chamber for reopening businesses and consumers who will start patronizing those businesses can be found HERE.

Governor Asa Hutchinson has set May 4th as our current day to potentially start easing COVID-19 restrictions. Below is a press release from the State about the Economic Recovery Task Force.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2020

Governor Hutchinson Announces New 
Economic Recovery Task Force
Names business leader and philanthropist Steuart L. Walton chairman

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has created the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force to develop an industry-specific strategy and make recommendations to the Governor for Arkansas’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19, the Governor announced at a news conference today.

The task force, established by Executive Order 20-20, will include 27 leaders from the private sector and public agencies who will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and industries in the state. The task force will recommend a strategy to the Governor for our economy to shift out of low gear consistent with public-health guidance.

On Friday, Governor Hutchinson set May 4 as the date he hopes to begin to ease restrictions in Arkansas. The task force will meet next week.

Steuart L. Walton, a business leader and philanthropist who holds degrees in business administration and law, will chair the committee.

“Steuart’s Arkansas roots run deep, and he knows and loves the state,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Steuart is engaged in the hospitality, manufacturing, and retail industries. He understands the needs of small business. He is engaged in philanthropy across Arkansas. He is the perfect choice to lead this task force to help restore our economy.”

Members of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force are:

  • Steuart Walton, Runway Group (Chair)
  • Wes Ward, Department of Agriculture
  • Mike Preston, Department of Commerce
  • Stacy Hurst, Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
  • Ted Thomas, Public Service Commission
  • Randy Zook, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Sylvester Smith, National Federation of Independent Business
  • Joey Dean, Associated General Contractors of Arkansas
  • Annemarie Jazic, Dillard’s Inc.
  • Charlie Spakes, Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
  • Montine McNulty, Arkansas Hospitality Association
  • Kelly Eichler, Indoor Recreational Facilities
  • Deke Whitbeck, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation
  • Lance Taylor, Arkansas Activities Association
  • Hunter Yurachek, University of Arkansas
  • Shannon Newton, Arkansas Trucking Association
  • Charles Frazier, Rock Region METRO
  • Lorrie Trogden, Arkansas Bankers Association
  • Dr. Sonny Tucker, Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention
  • Bishop Gary Mueller, Arkansas Conference of United Methodists
  • Bishop Michael Mitchell, African Methodist Episcopal Church 12th District
  • Dr. Richard Abernathy, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators
  • Andy Goodman, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Andrea Henderson, Arkansas Association of Community Colleges
  • Dr. Chuck Welch, Arkansas State University System
  • David Wroten, Arkansas Medical Society
  • Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospital Association

Read Executive Order 20-20 HERE.

CONTACT: Press Shop (press@governor.arkansas.gov)

If you are not a member of the media and have questions or concerns about COVID-19, you can contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847 or visit ar.gov/covid.

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Governor Hutchinson will be using the Federal guidelines in reopening Arkansas. Those guidelines can be found at the PDF HERE.

Update from the US Treasury Dept. on Small Business Programs

Federal Reserve Bank in the Eighth District

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is seeking input from regional businesses. In partnership with numerous chambers of commerce and regional organizations, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is conducting a confidential survey of business leaders in the seven-state region of the Eighth Federal Reserve District. The survey will directly assist monetary policymakers and regional leaders in making decisions that impact the employment and financial situations of businesses in our region.

The survey does not require a firm name, and individual responses will be accessible only by a few economists at the Federal Reserve. Please complete the survey by April 17.  The aggregate results will be analyzed and compiled into a report for the public.

Click here to complete the survey: http://frb.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8BsUOIBVGftau7r

If you have questions, please contact Charles Gascon, Regional Economist at the St. Louis Fed at charles.s.gascon@stls.frb.org.

Comparison Chart for Paycheck Protection and Economic Disaster Loans

Comparison Cart

Financial Resources for Small Businesses

The CARES Act has approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses to help them keep workers employed. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some—or possibly any—of the loan. We encourage you and your members to utilize the U.S. Chamber's Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist to help answer common questions and navigate the process.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program

As part of the CARES Act a program called the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows for businesses to receive traditional loans that can be converted into forgivable loans under certain circumstances. The following links have additional information on the PPP.

Small Business Administration Financial Resources

The Small Business Administration has a variety of programs designed to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus. You can speak directly to an SBA representative by calling (800) 621-3362 or click the links below for more information.

Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executives (AEDCE)

The AEDCE has a page set up for resources as well. It will have their own links for each of the areas that businesses, employers, and employees might need.

US Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber of Commerce has created a resource page for small businesses that explores alternative funding options for businesses impacted by COVID-19. You can click the link below to access this information.

SBA Express Lending

This is a program through SBA that matches companies with SBA-approved lenders based on needs. Quicker turnaround for more immediate needs. Loan program through a private lender.

Guidance for Employers

Plan and Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including the coronavirus, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Resource for Employees

Unemployment Insurance

If you become separated from employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may file an unemployment insurance claim immediately through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (DWS). New laws have streamlined this process for employees furloughed or laid off to waive the waiting period for unemployment filing as well as other restrictions that normally apply.

To file your claim online, visit the DWS EZARC page: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ezarc/ or call 1-855-225-4440 or 501-682-2121

For more information, visit the DWS website: dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment

Press release from Arkansas Division of Workforce Services:

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (April 16, 2020) – The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS) today launched a new web site designed to provide updated information regarding COVID-19 related unemployment benefits.

ARunemployment.com is designed to be a memorable resource for people seeking answers to their questions regarding unemployment insurance claims. The site will include a link to the state’s EZARC website, through which claims can be filed. 

“We are continually working to improve our resources, processes and functionalities to best serve the people of Arkansas in an efficient manner,” said Dr. Charisse Childers, director of ADWS. “ARunemployment.com is easy to remember and will help eliminate confusion with its simple navigation.”

The site, which can be easily accessed on all mobile devices, will also serve as a resource for the media and others who are seeking up-to-date statistics for unemployment in Arkansas.  

Dr. Childers says that by the end of April, ADWS should have systems in place to begin processing unemployment assistance claims for self-employed Arkansans. In the meantime, ARunemployment.com provides a link for 1099-workers to share email addresses in order to receive weekly updates. To date, more than 7,000 people have submitted their email addresses.

“We encourage people filing claims or seeking updates on previously submitted claims to utilize our new web site or call 1-844-908-2178,” said Dr. Childers.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Workplace Tips for Employees

The following are links are for general workplace health and safety information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Get the latest Arkansas specific information from the Arkansas Department of Health:

Click below for the latest Coronavirus updates from the US Chamber of Commerce:

Have Business-Related Questions, Ideas, or Stories to Share with the Arkansas State Chamber about the Coronavirus?

AEDC is committed to helping businesses and employees combat the effects of COVID-19 and to that effort, has compiled a list of programs and resources we will continue to update as additional resources become available:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Congressional Action

The Senate and House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and President Trump signed the measure into law. The $2.2 trillion relief package will provide loans to small businesses, direct financial checks to many Americans, expanded unemployment insurance and much more.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was recently signed into law and provides paid leave, establishes free testing, protects public health workers, and provides important benefits to children and families. You can read the US Chamber's summary of the Act and its provisions by clicking the link below.

Siloam Springs Local IT Support

With everything going on, there might be some additional IT demands so please use onIT as a resource if you have any questions or need additional support. onIT is encouraging all of their clients to make sure they are protected and backed up! Unfortunately, some people will take advantage of the situation and the vulnerabilities of businesses so please let them know if you need anything.

The team is working hard to try to mitigate as much of this as they can.

To put in a request for support:
Email: Support@on-it.co
Phone: 479-595-8955 option 2

Also, if you are having employees use their personal computers to VPN at home, make sure they have a good antivirus and the scans are running. AVG and Malwarebytes are sufficient.

Stay safe out there!
https://mashable.com/article/coronavirus-cybercrime/

Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber is also available for any needs you may have during this time as well. If we cannot directly help, we will try to find someone that can. We do not recommend face-to-face meetings, but are available by phone at 479-524-6466 or by email at nathan@siloamchamber.com. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any type of assistance.

Beware of Stimulus Payment Scams

What taxpayers need to know about stimulus payment processing in order to protect themselves from scammers:

  1. Be alert for phone scams.
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury Department, or any other government agency will not contact you by phone to collect information for stimulus payment processing. Period.
  2. Be alert for phishing scams.
    Government agencies will not email or text you to collect information for stimulus payment processing. Watch for suspicious emails or texts with links or attachments requesting information for processing stimulus deposits or checks. If you receive one, do not click the link or open the attachment. It’s a scam. Delete it.
  3. Be alert for state-related scams.
    State agencies will also not call, email or text you to collect information or a fee to process a stimulus payment. To date, no state has introduced their own version of a stimulus payment.

As of now, CPA’s are only aware of one communication a taxpayer will receive from the IRS. No later than 15 days after distributing a stimulus payment, the IRS is required to mail a notice to the taxpayer indicating the payment amount, whether the payment was mailed or deposited, and a phone number to call if the taxpayer did not receive the payment.

Victims or targets of stimulus payment scams should report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Updates

March 31, 2020

This newest update will have many links and several areas of information, many specifically focused on the CARES Act. This was the $2 trillion Federal recovery act that has several ways to help small businesses stay in business and continue paying their employees.

  1. The document HERE is a short summary of how the CARES Act can effect you.
  2. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has provided a Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist at this link. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn
  3. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced new changes to COVID-19 Disaster Loan Application requirements. Applicants need only submit Form 5 or 5c (depending on entity) and EIDL Supporting Information Worksheet P019. SBA is not requiring personal financial statements or 4506T, according to the Office of Disaster Assistance. Please go here and download the necessary forms for submission.
  4. The SBA has also provided a list of Arkansas banks that can make 7(a) loans to businesses: here

  5. The Arkansas Department of Commerce is receiving applications for the Quick Action Loan Guaranty Program to address the immediate needs of businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The program will be administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) in partnership with Arkansas banks. Click here.
  6. The ASBTDC (Arkansas Small Businesse Technology and Development Center is offering several webinars on the CARE Act and how it can help you as well as ways to keep your business going with marketing and other techniques. See the link HERE for the event calendar from ASBTDC and how to register for their sessions.

March 20, 2020

The SBA has approved Arkansas' Disaster Declaration and will start accepting applications for funding. Please see links below for information on how to apply.

  1. Startup Junkie has a page dedicated to applying for the loans and information surrounding them. Follow the link HERE.
  2. The ASBTDC is also offering assistance with completing the applications. Click HERE to sign up for their assistance.

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