State of Alabama Guide to COVID Relief Efforts: https://altogetheralabama.org/
Message from Executive Director Valerie Gray:
On behalf of the Chambers County Development Authority and our many partners and stakeholders, our team remains a resource to Industries, Retailers, Small Businesses, and our community as a whole throughout this emergency and beyond. While we are deemed as non-essential, our focus remains on our businesses, local economy and our community.
In order to provide the most meaningful resources for our community, we have created this page with important links and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please check content regularly for updated local, state, and federal resources as they become available.
Our office will continue operations as usual during this time, though our staff is working remotely. Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can assist in any way.
Local Public Office Closures
- County Courthouse
The County Courthouse in LaFayette and Annex in Lanett are now open to the public with restrictions on the number of individuals allowed in at one time and facemasks are required.
- Message from Probate Judge Paul Story
- Driver’s License
Call the number below or go to ALEA website and see what office hours are: (Nearest is Opelika) https://www.alea.gov/dps/driver-license & https://www.alea.gov/dps/driver-license/driver-license-offices/lee-county. Call (334) 517-2800. http://www.alea.gov
- Chambers County Commission Information
- Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) COVID-19
- National Association of Counties (NACO) COVID-19
- International City-County Management Association (ICMA) COVID-19
- National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) COVID-19
- HHS/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again
Supporting Local Businesses & Information
We understand the following weeks will be difficult for many of our local businesses and employees. We encourage citizens to continue to support local businesses. Below are a few constructive ways to support local and small businesses at this time.
- Buy gift cards or certificates: A little here and there can hold small businesses over
- Shop online: check Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets for business websites or stores
- Order from restaurants with delivery, drive-thru, carry-out, or curbside pick-up options
- Tip generously
- If you are a business with employees working extended hours, consider bringing in meals from a local restaurant.
- Takeout, Delivery and Curbside Restaurants in Alabama: https://carryoutal.com/
US Dept of Education/Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program (AWSP)
Alabama was one of eight states that received new grant funding to provide students the opportunity to develop new skills in high demand areas. The state plans to launch the Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program (AWSP) to implement and scale short-term educational and training programs designed to help low-income, skills-deficient Alabamians who have been displaced by COVID-19 as they transition into new fields.
- $17.8 Million available
- Program administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce
- A two-tier approach:
- Level One focused on disconnected or dislocated workers with basic skills deficiencies
- Level Two serving incumbent workers or dislocated workers who are prepared for direct employment.
HUD Jobs Plus Initiative
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is accepting applications to the Jobs Plus Initiative.The purpose of the program is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing.
- Applicants are public housing authorities.
- The Jobs Plus program consists of the following three core components:
- Employment-Related Services
- Financial Incentives – Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard (JPEID)
- Community Supports for Work
Alabama Broadband Connectivity (ABC) for Students Program
The State of Alabama will use the funds to purchase internet service for low-income households with K-12 students so the children can participate in distance learning. The ABC Program will then provide free internet access to students enrolled in the National School Lunch Program
- Information for Families
- If your student is enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, you don’t need to do anything. You will automatically receive a voucher by U.S. mail in late August.
- If your student is not enrolled in the National School Lunch Program but you believe you are eligible for that program, contact your school. Once enrolled you will automatically be added to the voucher mailing list
- Information for Internet Service Providers
Caress – IfundWomen Women of Color Grant Program for Small Businesses
As a founding partner of IFundWomen of Color, Caress is proud to be supporting 200 women of color owned small businesses with $500,000 in grants for COVID-19 relief. Women will also receive exclusive networking opportunities and promotional opportunities with IfundWomen marketing and social platforms.
Operation HOPE COVID-19 Mini Grant Program
Operation HOPE is a for-purpose organization working to disrupt poverty and empower inclusion for low and moderate-income youth and adults. Our focus is ﬁnancial dignity and inclusion. Since 1992, we have been moving America from civil rights to “silver rights” with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved.
- The Operation HOPE mini-grant program is designed to provide HOPE clients with a meaningful impact to improve their financial well-being during this difficult time.
- Microgrant amount - $500.00
- Applied to residential rent/mortgage, residential utilities, and personal credit card bills
- The only government endorsed national financial coaching network for working-class communities and Americans in the U.S.
Hello Alice Military Entrepreneurs Resource Center & Emergency Grant
Our resource center is here to empower those entrepreneurs who identify as part of the Military-Connected community: all branches of the U.S. Military, active and reserve component members, Military spouses, and Veterans. We can connect you with funding, business opportunities, like-minded mentors plus a community of entrepreneurs just like you.
Movement Financial Relief Grants
We are awarding Covid-19 Relief Grants to fitness and wellness instructors. With these grants, we'll grant financial assistance up to $1,000 to teachers and instructors who are implementing new resources for their new digital business ideas.
- Up to $1000 to teachers and instructors
- Funds can be used for
- Wellness instructors may purchase new software, website, and email tools to implement their digital wellness curriculum
- Fitness instructors may purchase similar software as described above, plus physical products like cameras, lightning and props to create a home studio
- More Information about Movemeant COVID-19 Relief
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grant & Loan Program
On June 15, 2020, the SBA announced that it was again opening up its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant and loan program. This means that independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant that does not have to be repaid. Small businesses and agricultural businesses also may apply for the grant, equal to $1,000 per employee of the business up to a maximum of $10,000.
- Independent contractors (for whom there is expanded eligibility criteria)
- Sole proprietorships, with or without employees
- Gig workers
- Small businesses with less than 500 employees
- Agricultural businesses
- Must have been in business as of January 31, 2020. The grants are available until December 16, 2020.
- More Info
The DigitalUndivided Doonie Fund for Women
Founded in 2012 by tech pioneer, Kathryn Finney, Didtechnology, Inc (d.b.a digitalundivided), is a social startup with 501 (c) 3 status that merges data and heart to develop innovative programs and initiatives that catalyzes economic growth in Black and Latinx communities. The Doonie Fund makes micro investments in Black women entrepreneurs.
- Partners include – American Express, Google, Rutgers, Microsoft
- More Info
- Eligibility is determined after completing a survey
Hello Alice Hispanic Business for All Grant
Hello Alice has designated a portion of its $10,000 emergency grants exclusively for Hispanic business owners. Funding is being distributed immediately to founders impacted by the coronavirus as part of their broader mission to ensure Business for All.
- All applicants will receive access to resources and ongoing support from the Hello Alice community.
- Application support is offered in Spanish
- More Info
Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF) - https://www.restaurantworkerscf.org/covid19faq
- In partnership with Southern Smoke Foundation to distribute direct assistance funds.
- Created to provide support and assistance for those in the food and beverage community and their suppliers during times of crisis.
- Funding Available
- Direct Assistance to Workers
- Nonprofits Serving Workers
- Application - https://southernsmoke.org/fund/
One Fair Wage Emergency Fund
- Providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers.
Professional Beauty Association (PBA) COVID-19 Relief Fund
- The PBA and PBA Charities have created the COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide $500 to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19. Click here to learn more.
Google Ad Credits for Small Businesses
- Total of $340 million in credits for Google Ads throughout 2020 across any of Google’s advertising platforms. No application process. Credits should be automatically added to active Google Ads accounts.
The Workers Fund is a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic from The Workers Lab. This fund will assist gig and low-earning contract workers without access to employer-based benefits.
- Visit Website
- This fund will work initially through an established partnership with Steady to identify recipients.
- And then get cash to people whose livelihoods have been stripped away by COVID-19 through Canary, a project incubated by The Workers Lab that provides a vehicle for getting cash to verified applicants quickly.
- More information on this Fund
Southern Black Girls and Women's Consortium (SBGWC) - COVID-19 Grants
SBGWC is a collective of funders, activists and community leaders working to advance the movements for Black girls and women in the Deep South. The SBGWC COVID-19 fund will rapidly deploy resources to organizations that support Black girls and women in the South that may be experiencing financial crisis or uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Priority is given to organizations that are leading response activities in their local communities
- Priority will be given to organizations that have budgets under $250,000
- Grants awarded weekly
- More Information
The Fundera Zach Grant Contest
Fundera is a financial resources company for small businesses. Zach, the founder of the successful restaurant chain Fusian, and cofounder of Fundera, uses this grant contest as a way to seed fund small businesses.
- Deadline – January 1, 2021
- Grant amount - $2,500
- Click here for more information
COVID-19 Alabama Revive Plus Grant
Revive Plus is funding for small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations with 50 or fewer employees and will award grants of up to $20,000 for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.
- Award Ceiling – 20,000.00
- Current Closing Date – 12/4/2020
- Click here for more information
Mainstreet Urgent Care:
If you come to the clinic for a test, please be sure the front desk gives you a face mask immediately. Please put on the facemask as soon as it is handed to you. You wearing a facemask is the best way to limit any transmission. We will test you for other types of infection first, then we will test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) if you are a candidate. It generally takes 2 to 3 days to get a result back. In order to process the test and provide you with results, you will also be required to set up an online patient portal account with us. We are working to obtain a larger supply of tests. If we do, we will expand the testing criteria and post an update on our Facebook page and website. https://www.mainstreetfamilycare.com/coronavirus-testing/
Thank you and stay safe!
East Alabama Medical Center:
Businesses that are still able to be open should be screening their employees prior to allowing them to enter. While every business may not be able to check their employees temperature, you can ask these key questions:
1.) Do you have a cough?
2.) Are you having difficulty breathing?
3.) Do you have muscle aches or body aches?
4.) Do you feel like you have a fever?
5.) Have you traveled anywhere in the past 14 days?
6.) Have you been around anyone who has traveled in the past 14 days?
7.) Do you feel sick in any way? If they answer yes to any of these symptoms, especially questions one-four, you should strongly consider sending them back home and telling them to self-quarantine.
For more information on EAMC’s COVID19 updates, visit https://www.eamc.org/patient-and-guests/covid-19-information/
Local Health Directives:
City and health officials are asking citizens to shelter in place, which means staying at home with immediate family members only. Citizens should not leave their home except for essential activities such as food, medical care or work.
This section is designed to help employers and workforce respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Information is changing often, and updates will be made on this site daily. We will provide the most up-to-date information available, but we ask readers to rely on official sources first and foremost and we will repost much of that information on this page.
Our national, state, and local public health agencies are confident that the best strategy to protect our population from further spread of the virus is social distancing—avoid large gatherings and maintain a physical distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
EMPLOYMENT / UNEMPLOYMENT NEWS AND RESOURCES
Alabama Dept. Of Labor and Partners Business Rights and COVID-19 Guide Document.
As we move toward restarting the economy many of our existing companies will have questions regarding their workforce and their rights and responsibilities bringing their furloughed or laid-off workers back to work. This document provides information critical to employers.
- Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits - Alabama Department of Labor
- Bulk Filing of Unemployment for Employers
- What happens if you lose your job due to coronavirus
- Bankrate created a 13 step guide detailing measures you can take to remain financially stable after losing your job
- AL Unemployment Claims Tracker
- CARES Act and Unemployment Questions and Answers
- Alabama Works COVID Resource Page
UAP Program through the care act for unemployment claims:
ADOL is beginning to process the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims. This program affects:
- the self-employed
- those seeking part-time employment
- church employees
- gig economy workers
- nonprofit and governmental workers
- workers who have exhausted regular unemployment compensation benefits
- individuals lacking sufficient work history
- those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law or PEUC.
For more information, click here.
- Reopen Alabama Resource Guide
- Alabama Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network
The University of Alabama - The Alabama SBDC Network is a statewide, inter-institutional program to enhance economic growth in Alabama by providing management and technical assistance to small businesses. Learn more at SBA Disaster Loans for COVID-19. View webinar detailing strategies to navigate the cash flow crunch and providing information on SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For current information from The Alabama Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) please visit their website here. For more information on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, please click here. To view the Disaster Loan FAQ, click here.
- Alabama Department of Insurance
The Alabama Department of Insurance has issued guidance to health insurance carriers responding to the COVID-19 virus.
- Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL)
ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Alabama Waives Employer Charges for COVID-19 Claims, click here for more information. To file an unemployment claim related to COVID19, click here
- Alabama Small Business Development Center Disaster Assistance Business Continuity
Offers small businesses guidance on planning for and recovering from disasters, click here for more information.
- Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association (ARHA)
The ARHA represents over 1,200 members including restaurants, lodging, tourism, and hospitality service companies.
- Economic Development Association of Alabama resource list of non-medical PPE as we begin the process of reopening Alabama’s economy. This is a dynamic list and will be updated as information becomes available. Locating PPE Resources
- PPP Forgiveness Information and Application
- IRS Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Business
Click here for IRS guidance for disaster assistance
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Resources
Click here for information for workers and employers about the evolving COVID-19 pandemic
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA provides explanations and links to their Disaster Loan Program, guidance for businesses and employers, SBA products and resources, government contracting and local assistance, click here for more information.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Guidelines
COVID-19 Business Preparedness Checklist and tips on Combating the Coronavirus
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Resilience in a Box Resources.
Resilience in a Box is based on best practices and designed to educate business leaders on disaster preparedness and business resilience
- USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19.
USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. Click here for the update.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide 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. Click here for the full details.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Click here for more information.
- National Restaurant Association Employee Relief Funds
Starting Thursday, April 2, restaurant employees can apply for a one-time-only $500 grant from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. https://rerf.us/
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Guidelines for Implementing a Return to Work Plan
- IEDC Resources for Reopening Your Economy
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
- SBA provides low-interest disaster loans
- Resources to help your small business manage through uncertainty
Here are some tips and recommendations to help you navigate this for your employees and customers.
- Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
Six Ways to Prevent a Virus From Disrupting Your Business
- Open for Business™
Prevent Business Disruption With a Business Continuity Plan
- Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
- International Franchise Association
- National Restaurant Association
- American Hotel & Lodging Association
- U.S. Travel Association
- National Retail Federation
- International Council of Shopping Centers
- An EOS Company's Guide to Surviving Coronavirus
- American Medical Loan
- Food Truck Lender
- Military Financial
- VA Financial
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Acquisition Planning Forecast System
- U.S. General Services Administration
- U.S. Federal Contractor Registration
- National Association of Counties Resource Guide
- SBA's Lender Locator website: View the list of all participating lenders
- Manufacture Alabama COVID Resource Page
- International Economic Development Council – Restore Your Economy resource page
- Spire DollarHelp Program
Spire has announced that it is providing $500,000 in matching gifts for their small commercial/industrial and residential customers impacted by covid-19 through its DollarHelp program. (Click here to learn about the program.) Those Spire customers affected by the pandemic and in need of financial assistance to pay their natural gas bills can visit https://www.spireenergy.com/relief or call the Spire customer service team at 1-800-887-4173 to make an application.
- Lear Interactive Return to Work Playbook for Manufacturers
- Appraisal Institute coronavirus update
- CCIM coronavirus resources and guidance
- ICSC coronavirus information and resources
- IREM COVID-19 resources and information for property managers
- NAIOP industry resources: COVID-19
- NAR coronavirus: a guide for REALTORS
- International Council of Shopping Centers – Best Practices Guide for Reopening
Rapid, direct grants to small businesses are being offered through the HERO Foundation. Harbert Management Corporation is committing $1 million to this effort to help small businesses through the difficult economic period caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The initiative is called the HERO Small Business Relief Fund, or HSBRF.
The President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act which made the following changes:
- Increased the loan forgiveness period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks
- Decreased the 75/25 rule (payroll/other expenses) to 60/40
- Provided safe harbor provisions for attempts by employers to re-employ
- Increases maturity on payback from 2 to 5 years
- Affirms that the last day to apply for a PPP loan is June 30, 2020.
Since its inception, over 5,400 participating lenders in America have made over 4.5 million PPP loans totaling $511.3 Billion. Overall, the average loan size is $113K.
In Alabama, our lenders have made 61,576 PPP loans totaling more than $6.1 Billion.
The PPP Fund still has over $100 Billion remaining.
As a result of the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (the "Flexibility Act"), the SBA has issued two new Forgiveness Applications and provided additional guidance on forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
News and Updates
On Wednesday, December 9th, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey amended the State’s “Safer At Home” order. The order mandates an extension until January 21, 2021 that citizens wear masks in public settings.View the amended Public Health Order.
- Alabama Department of Public Health -
For more information about COV1D-19 and how it is currently impacting the state of Alabama
- How Alabama Companies Can Help During the COVID19 Crisis
- Alabama Department of Public Health COVID-19 Information Hub
- Alabama Technology Network Return to Work Plan
New CDBG Grant Program to Address COVID-19 Impacts
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is in the process of developing a special Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant program to address COVID-19 impacts.
- Currently, no application deadline, grant ceilings or other program details have been finalized.
- MORE DETAILS WILL BE PROVIDED AT A LATER DATE; however, please download the guide below to get started and identify potential partners as needed.
- CLICK HERE to download the Quick Guide to CDBG Eligible Activities to Support Infectious Disease Response that will assist applicants to begin thinking about possible project needs.
- Please note that applications to the CDBG program must be in the name of a local government as the applicant/grantee.
- Partnerships and agreements with other agencies/entities, etc. can be developed as necessary. CDBG projects must also benefit primarily low and moderate-income people and this requirement will likely remain for the new funds.
- The Department has technical assistance providers that may be available to assist grantees in their implementation of CDBG Funds for activities to prevent or respond to the spread of infectious disease.
Please contact your local CPD Field Office Director to request technical assistance from HUD staff or a TA provider.
COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus
CPD Program Guidance and Training: https://www.hudexchange.info/program-support/
FEDERAL / INTERNATIONAL
- Federal Reserve Expands Main Street Lending Program
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The most up-to-date information on the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Scroll to the bottom of the home page to enter your email address to receive updates about COVID-19.
- World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
This page contains links to resources on business resilience and disaster recovery.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Corporate Aid Tracker - When disasters strike, businesses mobilize their expertise, capabilities, and community resources to assist with the relief and recovery efforts. Use this site to see what companies are doing to assist with the needs of businesses and communities in responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Underserved & Disadvantaged Businesses
The new law provides $60 billion for smaller lenders, including community banks and CDFIs, which serve lower income and disadvantaged communities. The $60 billion will be split evenly between institutions with less than $10 billion in assets and those with between $10 billion and $50 billion. To be clear, it does not set aside any funds for underserved or disadvantaged businesses; it only sets aside funds for the lending institutions that serve these markets. These businesses must still apply and get in line.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
- SBA has issued 14,433 "forgivable advances" in Alabama, valued at $63,107,000. The average advance was $4,095. (As of Friday 4/24)
- SBA has approved 336 Disaster Loans in Alabama, valued at $63,376,000. The average disaster loan is currently $188,619. (As of Friday 4/24)
The additional $60 billion for the EIDL program provides $10 billion for grants and $50 billion for loans. With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis. There is a chance that they may wait to reopen the application portal until they have finished processing and funding the existing application queue, to ensure that adequate funds are available.
- They are not currently accepting new applications.
- Official word from SBA is "the opening date/time for EIDL resumption will be announced 'later.'”
Other Frequently Requested Information
What if I don't get my STAR ID for air travel before October 2020 because of COVID19?