Resources for Businesses

Effective Wednesday, March 10, all COVID-19-related restrictions on businesses and the statewide mask mandate will be lifted per Executive Order GA-34 executed by Gov. Greg Abbott on March 2.

Additionally, local orders regarding occupancy limits, and health and safety plans, expired Feb. 8.

What does this mean for private businesses?

Private businesses may lawfully require masks to be worn by anyone entering their property, including their employees. If a customer refuses, the business can ask that person to leave. If the customer refuses, the business may escalate the issue to a trespassing infraction, which can include law enforcement.

City & County Resources

Williamson County Small Business Grant Program – Williamson County has officially launched its Wilco Forward program, which aims to provide grants for local business owners that have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for application information.

Main Street – Click here for a list of downtown businesses offering alternative ways to shop and support.

Georgetown Chamber of Commerce– Click here for community-wide business alterations and resources.

Telecommuting Help – For tips on working from home, click here. For tips on how to stay motivated while working from home, click here.

State Resources

Office of the Texas GovernorClick here for Gov. Abbott’s plans to reopen Texas.

Department of State Health Services – Click here for Guidance for Employers, Employees and Customers of Reopened Retail Services.

Workforce Solutions – Click here for employer and employee assistance information.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance – Click here for State unemployment benefits.

Texas Comptroller’s Office – For information about short-term payment agreements, penalty and interest waivers, and online tools and tutorials. Call 800-252-8880 or visit their site to learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due.

Enhanced Unemployment Benefits – Unemployment benefits include adding a $600/week across the board payment increase through the end of July 2020. In addition, for those who need it, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow. The expansion in unemployment benefits expires at the end of 2020 in recognition of the temporary nature of this challenge. Benefits are accessible with Texas Workforce Commission:

Mass Claims and Shared Work Programs – Facing Layoffs? Check out TWC’s Mass Claims Program –If you have to close your business either temporarily or permanently and need to lay off employees, you may be able to submit a mass claim for unemployment benefits on their behalf. The Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefit claims process for employers faced with either temporary or permanent layoffs. Employers can submit basic worker information on behalf of their employees to initiate claims for unemployment benefits. You can submit a mass claim request on Employer Benefits Services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To submit a Mass Claim Request: Log on to Employer Benefits Services and select Mass Claims Request. Further details are on the website.

Need to Reduce Employee Hours? Check out TWC’s Shared Work Program –If your business has slowed down due to the pandemic and you need to reduce employee working hours, you may be able to avoid laying off employees by submitting a shared work plan. The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.

Shared Work allows employers to: Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits. Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit. Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits. For more information, see TWC’s Shared Work web page.

Federal Resources

National Main Street – Click here for Small Business Resources.

U.S. Small Business Administration – Click here for guidance for employers and businesses.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program – Click here for details about the CARES Act. The Act includes a $325 billion small business loan program designed for businesses having fewer than 500 employees to be administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The maximum amount of the loan is the lesser of a multiple of 2.5x payroll or $10 million. Under certain conditions, there are aspects of the loan that qualify for forgiveness. The deadline to apply for the small business loan program is June 30, 2020, and details are expected to be issued soon.

SBA Express Bridge Loans – Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

Terms: Up to $25,000, Fast turnaround, Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan.

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender via SBA’s Lender Match Tool or by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

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