Governments, Large Organizations Offer Help to Small Businesses During Pandemic

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 20, 2020
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​The coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, is having a devastating effect on small businesses, their owners and employees around the world. 

"Small businesses are on the front line of this crisis," Amanda Ballantyne told The New York Times. She is executive director of Main Street Alliance, a public policy group for small businesses. "The impact on consumer demand can really impact the economy, so we think there's an urgent need to get planning to local businesses."

Large organizations and cities, counties and states around the U.S. are stepping forward to offer a variety of relief. Delaware, for example, is giving out no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per month to hospitality-related businesses impacted by coronavirus, Delaware Online reported. In Wisconsin, state officials launched a $5 million grant program to help small business owners impacted by the crisis, according to It's for businesses with no more than 20 employees. 

SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19

SHRM Online has collected the following news stories about aid that is available for small business owners and nonprofits and steps those businesses can take to protect their organization and employees during the global pandemic.

Best Sources of Emergency Funding Available Now for Small Businesses Hurt by Coronavirus 

The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are hitting small businesses especially hard as customers practice social distancing, states enact forced closures, and events get canceled. More than 99 percent of all American businesses are small businesses, and they employ more than half of the workforce.

Here is a list of emergency-funding resources available from public and private sources for small businesses suffering economic disruption because of the coronavirus.
(Business Insider)   

SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering up to $2 million in assistance to a small business through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans program. The organization announced March 13 that it "will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty."

Financial Assistance Tracker for Businesses Hit by Coronavirus Crisis

Governments are making unprecedented moves to help small businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis. Here's a rundown of programs available as of March 19.

Facebook Pledges $100 Million to Aid Small Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

Facebook announced that it will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses that need assistance in staying afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. The amount the company has earmarked for small business owners represents 1.4 percent of the company's net income for the fourth quarter of 2019. It did not disclose how businesses can apply to receive the funding or ad credits, saying it will announce more details "as they become available." The program will be available in over 30 countries.

JPMorgan Pledges $50 Million in Aid to Small Businesses, Nonprofits as Coronavirus Sends Economy into Nosedive 

JPMorgan Chase on March 18 announced a $50 million package in global humanitarian aid and grants for nonprofits and small businesses amid growing fears of an impending recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
(Business Insider)  

Amazon to Grant $5 Million to Small Businesses Near its Headquarters Struggling Due to Coronavirus 

Amazon announced March 10 it's creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Relief Fund to provide cash grants to local small businesses in need during the outbreak. The fund will be directed towards small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue, and with a physical presence within a few blocks of Regrade and South Lake Union office buildings. The businesses must be those that are open to the general public and rely on foot traffic for customers.
(The Seattle Times)  

Verizon Will Help Customers, Small Businesses Disrupted by Coronavirus's Impact

The company announced March 13 that it will waive late fees and keep residential and small business customers connected if they are negatively impacted by the global crisis. It signed onto the Federal Communication Commission's new "Keep Americans Connected" pledge to help ensure connectivity and offer assistance to customers and small businesses facing challenges from the global crisis

Hootsuite Offers Small Businesses, Nonprofits Free Access  

Organizations in affected industries—such as restaurants, hotels, event venues, performing arts—may use the professional version of Hootsuite's social media management software, at no cost until July 1.

How to Protect Your Small Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak 

Despite cases continuing to rise and markets sending people and companies in a panic, it's not too late for businesses to set up remote workforces, communicate with staff and prepare for a worsening outbreak. Here are a few things you can do now. 



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The Department of Health & Human Services has clarified the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not prohibit an employer from requesting an employee’s vaccination status as part of the terms and conditions of employment.



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