Helping Your Business Navigate Through the Coronavirus Crisis
Responding to the COVID-19 epidemic is difficult for everyone. Responding to the epidemic when you own or manage a business feels almost impossible. Traverse Connect is here to support your business during this unprecedented time.
We’ve gathered resources from far and wide that will help you navigate the rough road of loans, unemployment, insurance and more. Is there anything you’ve seen or utilized that we haven’t shared on this page?
We value your creative input and resourcefulness in the face of the challenges facing our business community during this time. If you have resources (websites, webinars, ideas, stories) to share with other business owners, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.
- The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation want the state’s food and agriculture companies to know they are now eligible for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance programs.
- Qualified Michigan food and agriculture businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have fewer than 500 employees, are encouraged to prepare their business financial information and apply.
The MIOSHA Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) Grant Program awards qualifying employers a dollar-for-dollar match – up to $5,000 – to purchase safety and health-related equipment and equipment-related training. The goal of the program is to create a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19.
Additionally, MIOSHA provides further clarification the construction and manufacturing sectors must take to protect workers that have returned to work. The State of Michigan’s Workplace Safety Guidelines can be found on LEO’s homepage at Michigan.gov/LEO.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
FFCRA will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses.
Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
The Grand Traverse County Health Department is declaring Grand Traverse County Public Health Officer – Emergency Order (GT-2020-01), requiring screening and social distancing measures at open essential businesses and operations subject to the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-21. The emergency order goes into effect on April 9, 2020 at 12:00am and remains in effect until April 30, 2020 at 11:59pm.
“Our community is depending on these essential workers and essential businesses to keep us going during this difficult time. I am making their safety and well-being a priority, which then protects those that need their services as well,” said Wendy Hirschenberger, Health Officer, Grand Traverse County Health Department. “We know that some of those workers still having to report to work are concerned for their health and safety. We need everyone’s help to get through this, including essential business owners. This declaration adds a layer of specificity for employers to ensure the safety of their employees that are supporting our community right now in conjunction with the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.”
If you have further questions regarding the Grand Traverse County Public Health Officer – Emergency Order (GT-2020-01) linked below, you can call 231-995-6800.
Michigan SBDC has a recording available of their webinar “Navigating the Cash Flow Crunch” and supporting resources.
The Governor signed the second extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15. The new order will require people to wear cloth face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work. Read more here.
- To help control the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an Emergency Order on setting a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and a process for referral to licensing agencies for violations of Executive Orders 2020-11, 2020-20 and 2020-21 and any future orders that rescind and replace these orders (large assemblages & events, places of public accommodation, & “Stay Home, Stay Safe”). Criminal penalties for violation will remain an option for prosecutors.
- The Governor implemented an Executive Order prohibiting all employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of the disease. The order also strengthens the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by declaring that it is the public policy of the state that all Michiganders who test positive or show symptoms, or who live with someone who tests positive or shows symptoms, should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Business taxpayers scheduled to make sales, use and withholding tax payments for March and April or for the first quarter of 2020 can postpone filing and payment requirements until May 20, 2020. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest.
Tax Day will be moved to July 15, 2020 from April 15, 2020. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. Taxpayers may still file now to receive their refunds.
The Governor signed an Executive Order pushing all April 2020 state and city income tax filing deadlines in Michigan to July 2020. Effective immediately, Michigan and city of Detroit income tax returns and payments due on April 15 are now due before midnight on July 15. Other state of Michigan cities with income taxes due on April 15 will now be due on July 15, while cities with income taxes due on April 30 will now be due on July 31.
- The Governor signed an Executive Order extending and building upon her earlier executive orders expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Executive Order also extends Executive Order 2020-57, which:
- Expands the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs and restart their business.
- Extends unemployment benefits to workers:
- Who have an unanticipated family care responsibility.
- Who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
- Extends unemployment benefits to workers who voluntarily left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic.
- Allows anyone with an active unemployment claim to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.
- Suspends the requirement for individuals seeking unemployment to request a registration and work search waiver from their employer.
- Allows Unemployment Insurance Agency retirees to keep their retirement benefits if they return to work to process unemployment claims or serve on the Occupational Health and Safety Commission.
- Expands cost-sharing with employers to reduce layoffs.
- The Executive Order also extends Executive Order 2020-57, which:
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) has launched a new program providing a total of $502,400 in grants to Michigan’s eligible nonprofit arts and culture organizations that have been negatively impacted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.
MCACA, through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will make a total of $502,400 in one-time grants to eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, ensuring broad geographic distribution across Michigan. The funds can be used for salary support (full or partial) for one or more employees; fees for artists and/or contractual personnel; and facility costs, such as rent and utilities.
To be eligible, applicants must be a nonprofit arts and cultural organization, have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Services code, and be incorporated and physically located in Michigan.
The maximum request for funding is $5,000 and there is no match requirement. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 1 and applications will be scored based on total number of completed applications received by May 1. The number of grants awarded will depend on the number of applications received, the amount requested and the completeness of the applications received. Funds are expected to be disbursed no later than June 1.
Amidst the crisis, businesses in the Grand Traverse Region are responding with creativity and ingenuity to shift their strategy and capabilities to help society, healthcare workers, and their employees.
Here are a few highlights that we’ve captured in recent weeks. If you have a story to share of a local business, nonprofit or other group making a shift or collaborating to meet the needs of the times, please share with us in the form below.
Send Us Your Ideas and Resources
The contents of this web page are made available to you for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice on any matter. This material may not reflect the most current COVID-19 developments and is subject to revision. In no event will Traverse Connect be liable for any decisions made or action taken in relation to the information provided through this content.