**Town Halls/Workshops: Keeping you informed
We’re pulling together panelists to discuss important considerations and resources for businesses.
INFORMATION ON COVID-19
Center for Disease Control – Latest info from Federal Government; prevention tips for individuals and organizations
For local information about COVID-19 updates, prevention, and community resources: https://www.buncombecounty.org/covid-19/default.aspx
NCDHHS – latest state information about COVID-19 including FAQs, guidance for different groups, state restrictions and news
Keep up with global updates on the virus on the World Health Organization’s website
Buncombe County Guidance on Social Distancing
N.C. 211 – call “211” to get free and confidential information on health and human service resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES & COMMUNITY
In this time of uncertainty, we encourage you to support those companies whose businesses are impacted by closures or restrictions.
- See info in our Business Directory for businesses offering online service, take out, or other resources.
- Call ahead or check online to find out if business hours or services have changed.
- Consider buying a gift card from a local business or donating to arts/nonprofits. Check out ashevillestrong.com – all proceeds go to businesses.
- Support local restaurants by buying gift cards, ordering take-out, etc. – search our directory
- Sign up for United Way of Asheville-Buncombe County volunteer opportunity alerts here.
Member Businesses offering supports – Local businesses offering resources such as staffing, technical support, etc.
Buncombe County COVID-19 Planning Guide for Businesses
Interim Guidance for Businesses from NCDHHS – includes specific guides for Restaurants & Bars, Malls & Shopping Centers, Public-Facing Businesses & Agencies (including retail, healthcare and office buildings) and Organizations that gather less than 50 people together. Also guides on environmental cleaning.
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers from CDC
Guidance on Preparing Workplaces from OSHA – includes guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 and preventing worker exposure (also available in Spanish)
Guidance for Businesses from SBA – includes information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Resources for Tourism Industry from Explore Asheville
Resources for Employers related to employment issues from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP
- Article (3/18/20) : EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance – FAQ on EEOC issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act including what employers can ask of and how they can respond to potentially sick employees.
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (HHS & CDC) – resource for large businesses
Legal Guidance on Workplace Pandemic Planning (EEOC)
Sample Pandemic Preparation Questions
National Association of Manufacturers: Coronavirus Resources
American Industrial Hygiene Association
EPA Disinfectants List and Details
Video: Why soap is effective against COVID-19
North Carolina Business Relief Resources – EDPNC
For addressing supply chain disruptions: ManufacturedNC:
Governor Cooper lifted restrictions on unemployment. The new UI covers anyone affected by COVID-19 in all industries. Employers can find info regarding unemployment insurance from the NC Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security.
Contact the DES Employer Call Center with any questions or concerns: 866.278.3822
Individuals who want to apply for Unemployment can contact: https://des.nc.gov/apply-unemployment or 888.737.0259
Local temp agencies have also indicated they are hiring for temp work. Check out these Employment Services
FUNDING RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS
- Thread Capital (NC Rural Center) – Thread Capital was launched in 2018 by the NC Rural Center and continues to be an operating subsidiary of the Center.
- Self-Help Credit Union – alternative lending institution
- Carolina Small Business Development Fund
- NC Community Development Initiative – Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- IRS Tax Extension – the IRS announced that it will postpone the obligation to pay certain income tax balances due by April 15th, giving individuals, certain corporations, and small businesses an additional 90 days to so. No penalty or interest will be assessed if the tax owed is paid by the end of that 90 day period. Individuals will be able to defer up to $1 million, and select corporations and small businesses may defer up to $10 million. Income tax returns or extensions must still be filed by April 15.
RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
- Buncombe County Community Resources Guide on public assistance, community resources, new unemployment information, and other resources that might be beneficial to you. Please review the entire list as you might be eligible for assistance and resources you’re not aware of.
- N.C. 211 – call “211” to get free and confidential information on health and human service resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- COVID-19 Prevention/Testing:
- Internet Access for families:
- Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
- Charter is opening up their wi-fi locations for public use. Find a hotspot
- Manna Foodbank
- Several local restaurants are offering free meals for students, including White Duck Taco and Twisted Laurel.
- YMCA of Western North Carolina resources including food distribution: ymcawnc.org/emergency-resources – includes parent survey to assess need for emergency childcare.
- Expensify.org will reimburse families on SNAP benefits to purchase additional essential goods. See expensify.org/hunger
- The following will not cancel service due to non-payment during this time:
- City of Asheville ART buses will be fare-free starting March 20th through April 5th. The City will also waive fees for on-street parking and city garages
- Financial Services:
- Bank of America will provide additional support for consumers and businesses experiencing hardship from the impact of coronavirus, including loan payment deferral, refunds on late fees, mortgage payment deferral with no negative credit bureau reporting, and a pause on foreclosure sales, evictions, and repossessions.
- Article from Mosaic Realty: FAQ on Federal Mortgage Forbearance for homeowners that have been impacted by COVID-19, includes sample lease amendment prepared by a local law firm for commercial & residential tenants to use for requesting relief from Landlords.
- New Belgium Bar & Restaurant Relief Fund – supports laid off and furloughed workers
- Continuing education for children:
- Mental health:
- Asheville Community Yoga has opened a library of online classes.
- Namaste In Nature has shared several free guided meditation and yoga videos focused on boosting the immune system and releasing stress.
- Quarantine Concert Series: IAMAVL and the Orange Peel are providing live virtual performances every evening from 7-8:30 p.m. Stream on their website.
- Enjoy a virtual tour of the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s current exhibitions.
- Google and Explore Asheville have created interactive, virtual tours of 20+ hiking destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Browse the Asheville Museum of Art’s collection digitally
- A full list of more free activities and virtual experiences from NPR