A Small-Business COVID-19 Resource Guide

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COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented time of economic turmoil for countries around the world. Business owners have been faced with new challenges as they strive to keep their companies afloat while also protecting their employees and customers from health risks. Employees are experiencing many challenges as well, including layoffs, adapting to remote work, the ever-present threat of the virus, and having children home from school and daycare. But whether you are an employer or an employee, resources are available to help you navigate these difficult times.

Employer Resources

Coronavirus Funding Options : The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, making relief resources available to both American employers and employees. Small businesses can apply for economic injury disaster loans.

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 : Employers need to explore potential sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and risks for employees and customers to address these issues and work to prevent infection. Employers also need to provide training for workers so they can work safely during pandemic conditions.

Interim Guidance for Employers With Workers at High Risk : Workers over the age of 65 and people with underlying medical conditions are at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Employers need to reduce these workers’ risks of exposure while making sure that they remain compliant with applicable regulations designed to protect workers from discrimination.

Seven Ways to Adjust Your Workplace to a Post-COVID-19 WorldImplementing social distancing in the workplace is necessary for reducing risks for workers. When possible, employers can also allow workers to work remotely.

Risk Mitigation for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Pandemic : Employers can assess risks based on answers to questions about the types of interactions employees have with other employees and customers, whether the workplace is indoors or outdoors, the ability of employees to wash hands often and sanitize surfaces, and whether employees and customers are at an elevated risk of severe illness.

Managing Workplace Change During COVID-19Employers are facing a variety of special circumstances due to COVID-19, such as distracted employees, payroll problems, compliance issues, and new processes to minimize risks.

Reopening Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The New Normal for the U.S. WorkplaceA company’s reopening plan may involve daily health checks of employees, cloth face coverings, improvements to ventilation systems, and new policies regarding social distancing.

Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace : Designating an employee to serve as the workplace infection prevention coordinator can help a company to implement infection prevention procedures and manage risks and issues pertaining to COVID-19.

Total Worker Health Employer Guide: COVID-19 : Employers can help employees with mental health issues by making sure the workers know that they are valued and appreciated, by providing extra training, by acknowledging common stresses that people may be feeling during the pandemic, and by establishing channels for two-way communication between managers and employees.

Reopening Your Business During CoronavirusSafety measures implemented in a workplace may be determined by the work environment, the level of contact between employees and customers, and specific risk factors that may exist for certain employees.

Returning to the Workplace After COVID-19Companies must comply with local, state, and federal orders for safety during the pandemic. Deep-cleaning and sanitation will need to be performed on an ongoing basis, and workspace layouts may also need to be arranged to increase the space between workstations.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small-Business Loan and Grant ProgramsBusinesses have a variety of relief programs available that can include either grants or emergency loans.

Finance Your Business : The Paycheck Protection Program is just one option available for businesses that have been hurt by COVID-19.

SBA Funding Options for Small Businesses During COVID-19The CARES Act includes not only Paycheck Protection Program loans but also emergency grants, disaster loans, and traditional small-business loans.

Assistance for Small-Business Owners Affected by COVID-19 : Eligibility guidelines must be met for financial assistance. Whether employers can receive assistance also depends on funding availability. Funding sources include the government as well as independent partners and investors.

COVID-19: Creating a Safe Workplace : A plan for a safe work environment includes instituting a support system for employees, fully cleaning and disinfecting the workplace, and creating a plan that limits transmission and exposure.

Workplace Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Supply Chain Issues for COVID-19 : Personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves can help minimize exposure risks for employees, but PPE should not be the first line of defense. Employers also need to limit risks for employees by staggering work shifts, remote working, and rearranging work stations to increase the space between workers.

Coronavirus and the Workplace : Employers cannot take adverse actions against employees if the employees exercise safety and health rights in connection with COVID-19.

Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19 : Surfaces in a workplace must be regularly wiped with disinfectant to keep these surfaces clean and help minimize the spread of the virus. Employees should be reminded to wash hands often, and hand sanitizer dispensers should also be placed in prominent places throughout the workplace.

COVID-19 FAQ: Workplace Safety : An employee may refuse to come to work for fear of COVID-19 if the work involves the threat of serious physical harm, the employee has asked the employer to eliminate the dangers, and the employer has not done so. The employee has to have refused to work in good faith, the risk of danger must be a reasonable concern, and there must be an urgency to the hazard.

Employee Resources

Working Remotely During COVID-19 : Disruption of daily routines often causes anxiety and stress, which can impact workers mentally, physically, and financially. Try to maintain a regular schedule as much as you can, and stay connected with friends and family.

Coping With Stress While Working During COVID-19 : Symptoms of stress can include increased irritability, increased substance use, feeling anxious or nervous, feeling tired and overwhelmed, sleep disruptions, difficulty concentrating, and headaches or stomachaches.

How Can Employees Cope With COVID-19-Related Work Stress? Resting, eating well, exercising, and talking with others are key ways that employees can manage their mental health as they work through the pandemic.

Easing the Stress of Returning to Work Amid COVID-19 : Employees will respond differently to the pandemic, and everyone has a different level of impact depending on individual health and financial issues that arise from the shutdown.

How Has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health and the Severity of Stress Among Employees? A survey indicates that about seven out of every ten employees reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most stressful period of time in their professional career, which has led to new prescription drug use and a loss of productivity.

COVID-19 and Work-Related Stress: Managing the Mental Health of Remote Workers : Employees are reporting that they have felt more anxious during the lockdown, and many also report working about 38 hours more per month on average. Younger workers seem to be more affected than older workers.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights : Some employers have to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for reasons connected to COVID-19. Covered employees may be eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave at regular pay and two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds of their regular pay.

Employers Can Grant Paid Leave for COVID-19 : The Families First Coronavirus Response Act enables employees to take paid leave to take care of personal or family health needs related to COVID-19. This law ensures that employees don’t have to choose between earning money and taking care of health needs.

Coronavirus Puts a Spotlight on Paid Leave Policies : Employers who employ fewer than 500 employees have to provide their workers with up to two weeks of fully paid sick leave for issues related to COVID-19 and up to two weeks of leave at two-thirds of their regular pay.

Working at Home During COVID-19 Crisis With Kids Underfoot : Employees should explain to employers that children may create interruptions during work hours. Plan activities for children that don’t require excessive adult supervision, such as games, puzzles, and reading.

Tips for Handling Work and Kids During COVID-19 Isolation : Explain issues to kids so they understand why their daily routine has changed. Establish a new routine as quickly as possible to give kids stability, and institute quiet time when kids can play independently or work on school work.

COVID-19: How to Keep Kids Busy and Connected : Encourage older kids to keep a journal of their extended time at home so they can remember things that happened. Learn new skills with kids, such as cooking, sewing, or origami.

Eight Tips for Working From Home With Kids During COVID-19 : Try to replicate kids’ normal school day with lesson time, recess, lunch time, and extracurricular activities. Don’t be afraid to use technology during the day to give you time to work or time to relax while everyone is home together.

Age-Based Tips to Help Juggle Parenting and Working at Home During COVID-19 : Babies obviously require significant attention from parents, but it is possible to work in short spurts of time while a baby is napping or occupied in a swing or baby seat. Toddlers might stay busy with art or block stations or with quiet play near you while you work.

What to Do if You’re Laid Off During COVID-19 : Anyone laid off during COVID-19 may want to consider a career change. Take a few interest or skill assessments to determine a new potential career path.

Resources for Gig Workers and Freelancers During COVID-19 : Be willing to adapt and change course to find work during the pandemic. Consider creating a website as a portfolio of your skills and creativity. Use technology to stay connected with peers in your field, and practice for virtual interviews.

Freelancing Was Never Easy: The Coronavirus Made it Nearly Impossible : Many companies have closed doors for freelancing opportunities in response to COVID-19. Freelancers may need to get creative to find work, and they may also need to use their connections to find potential clients.

Health, Wellness, and Leave Benefits Help Employees With Coronavirus : If employees experience respiratory illness, they should stay at home. Employers should not require employees to have a doctor’s note to validate their illness.

Tips and Strategies: Freelancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic : Freelancers might qualify for special grants that can provide financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Freelancer’s Guide to Managing Job Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Crisis : Freelancers should have a safety net of between three and six months of income in the bank as an emergency fund. COVID-19 may entail dipping into the emergency fund, but it’s also important to reduce expenses as much as possible to conserve finances.

Written by Ryan Hammill

Ryan Hammill is the Business Pundit Editor for Entrepreneurship and for Policy. He is also COO of Syndicate Media Group, LLC, a digital media agency and start-up accelerator in Eugene, OR. He writes on topics including public policy, SEO, education, and religion. His writing has appeared in a variety of places, including Aleteia, The Federalist, and Sojourners. You can follow him on Twitter via @HammillRyan.