COVID-19 News Updates 3/25

March 25, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 3-25-20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

Buncombe County issues Stay home- stay safe guidance

This afternoon, Buncombe County release a new declaration and guidance to further minimize all opportunities for exposure and transmission of COVID-19: “Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.” The policy encourages Buncombe County residents to stay home except for  necessary travel through April 9th. To be clear, this is not a ‘Shelter in Place’ mandate because there are extensive approved reasons and purposes that require us to leave home including essential employment.   Please see the list for which business functions are considered essential.  We strongly recommend you first read both the County Declaration and the supplemental guidance to determine if your business is explicitly listed, or is in the supply chain of these essential sectors.   If you still require clarification, Buncombe County has a process outlined on their website to evaluate businesses and allow them the ability to continue operations as an essential business IF they are deemed to be essential by following this process. County guidance also permits continued staffing at non-essential businesses to maintain “Minimal Basic Operations” essential to the health of the business such as payroll, security or maintenance. Many local businesses will be able to continue full operation and will be considered ‘essential’, but undoubtedly, many businesses currently operating will be asked to cease operations during this 2 week window for public safety.

Furthermore, neither the business nor the employee require certification or documentation to go about your daily lives as long as you are following the suggested guidance of essential activities.

Everyone – whether you venture out for essential personal reasons or for essential employment – should stay at least fix feet away from others at all times and continue frequent, thorough cleaning and sanitation. Social distancing is the most important thing we can do to fight this pandemic.

We know this is tough. If we as a community adhere to these “Stay Home – Stay Safe” guidelines strictly, hopefully we can shorten the time-frame of this situation. We will get through this together and be stronger together.

I am pleased to announce that earlier today, in partnership with the Golden LEAF Foundation, Thread Capital, and other nonprofit lenders throughout the state, the NC Rural Center launched a new emergency small business lending program in response to the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19 on North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

Golden LEAF deploys $15M in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

The Golden LEAF Foundation announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program, funded through the generous support of the Golden LEAF Foundation, will be managed by the Rural Center, with direct lending facilitated by Thread Capital, Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Self-Help Credit Union, Mountain BizWorks, and Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF).

You can read the Golden LEAF Foundation press release here.

Visit to learn more and start the application for a rapid recovery loan.

Your Families First Coronavirus Response Act questions answered! (Some of them, anyway) (from Contangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP)

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Labor published three pieces of guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provisions relating to expanded leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

The guidance doesn’t clarify as much as we had hoped, but it does provide some helpful information about calculating number of employees for coverage purposes, calculation of paid leave, and other issues.

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