Help for Business Owners
Employment Support Services
Definition of Essential Businesses
Critical Infrastructure Sectors
On June 26, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that temporarily pauses portions of his plan to reopen business in Texas. Executive Order GA 28 includes new restrictions on restaurant capacity, bars and gatherings. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
Under Executive Order GA 28
- Restaurants must operate at no more than 50 percent capacity.
- Bars must close, although they may still offer delivery and takeout services.
- Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited unless they receive approval from local officials.
The following remains in place under Phase 3 of the Governor’s plan to reopen Texas:
- All other businesses, with certain exceptions, may operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Gyms may operate with 50 percent occupancy provided they disinfect equipment after each use. Additionally, people who are working out must wear gloves and practice social distancing.
- Indoor swimming pools/waterparks may operate provided they operate at no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the facility. Outdoor pools/waterparks may operate at no more than 50 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the pool operator.
- Museums and libraries may operate at 50 percent capacity.
- Amusement parks may operate at 50 percent capacity.
- The 50 percent occupancy limit does not apply to the following establishments that operate with at least six feet of social distancing between work stations:
- Barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, massage parlor and other personal care and beauty services such as tanning salons and tattoo studios.
- There is no occupancy limit for the following:
- Businesses that were previously deemed essential
- Religious services
- Childcare services
- Youth camps
- Recreational sports programs for youth and adults
To read Abbott's latest executive order, click here. For more information on Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas business, including safety checklists and guidelines for reopening of specific types of businesses, click here.
I own a childcare facility in Dallas County. Can I apply for assistance?
- Four hundred thousand dollars has been approved for the Emergency Childcare Center Assistance Grant. To qualify for the grant you must meet the following criteria: Childcare facilities within the Dallas County (not in the City of Dallas) who are current on their taxes and have experienced a loss of at least 25 percent in income since March 1, 2020, are eligible for assistance.
- The maximum amount provided to a childcare facility will be $3,000 with the assumption that they stay in business for three months.
- Once the program is operational, the initial allocation will be committed within 120 days.
You will soon be able to apply for assistance at www.childcaregroup.org.
The Texas Comptroller's Office
The Texas Comptroller’s Office is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements, and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest to those businesses that are struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February. In addition, the agency has a variety of online tools for businesses seeking assistance through its COVID-19 Emergency Response webpage at https://comptroller.texas.gov/about/emergency/. To learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due please call the Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering Small Business Disaster Loans to the state of Texas to help with economic losses related to major event cancellations, loss of walk-in customers, depletion of stock from suppliers and client cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance is part of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Declaration that grants access to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Small businesses in Richardson that believe are eligible for an SBA EIDL may visit www.sba.gov/disaster to apply for disaster assistance.
Funding OptionsIn addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.
Paycheck Protection Program
This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.
EIDL Loan Advance
This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
SBA Express Bridge Loans
Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
SBA Debt Relief
The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. The program will be available through June 30, 2020.
Any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private nonprofit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19 are eligible for the program. Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries. Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. This means each store location could be eligible.
For more information, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources.
Dallas County Emergency Business Assistance Program
On Monday, July 13, 2020, Dallas County began accepting pre-applications for its Emergency Business Assistance Program (EBAP). EBAP is funded with federal CARES Act dollars and is designed to rapidly provide financial assistance to small businesses located in Dallas County that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that have been unable to obtain financial assistance to meet all of their business needs. Small businesses may be eligible to obtain a forgivable loan worth up to $50,000.
Small businesses that are interested in applying for financial assistance through EBAP should visit the NDC EBAP website at: ndconline.org/ntxsmallbiz/. Businesses that need assistance navigating the website may leave a voicemail message at 214-845-7673 and they will receive a return phone call within one business day. Because Dallas County expects that the amount of funding requested will exceed the funding available, not all eligible businesses will be invited to submit a full loan application.
For more information, visit www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/emergency-assistance.php.
Main Street Lending Program
The Main Street Lending Program was established by the Federal Reserve System to support lending to small- and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan terms are up to $25 million at 5 percent over four years, with payments deferred for the first year. The Federal Reserve is currently working to create the infrastructure necessary to operationalize the program. Businesses should stay in touch with their bank for details on when the program is likely to open and continue to check the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program webpage at https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm.
Business Interruption Insurance Information
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has added language to the County’s Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency clarifying that COVID-19 causes property loss or damage. This clarification helps businesses qualify for business interruption insurance, which can cover financial losses including lost revenue.
If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply for benefits through the Texas Workforce Commission online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) or by calling the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
TWC is reporting an increase in call volumes and hold times on its Tele-Center phone lines. People are encouraged to use the online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services to handle their claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are new to UBS, you will need to create a TWC Internet User ID when you first log on.
Log on to UBS to:
- Apply for unemployment benefits
- Sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive your TWC communications online as soon as possible
- Request benefit payment
- Monitor your claim and payment status
- Change your payment option
- Appeal online and view your appeal status: An appeal is your written notice that you disagree with a TWC decision and want your case decided through the appeal process
- Sign up to withhold federal income tax from your benefit payments
Note: Unemployment benefits are taxable income reportable to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under federal law. You must report all unemployment benefits you receive to the IRS on your federal tax return. Tax withholding is completely voluntary; withholding taxes is not required. If you choose to withhold taxes, the TWC will withhold 10 percent of the gross amount of each of your benefit payments and send it to the IRS.
TWC will investigate why you lost your job and mail a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits. TWC has waived the work search requirement for all claimants at this time.
Skills Development Fund
The Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Skills Development Fund program has launched a special COVID-19 initiative. Texas businesses impacted by COVID-19 may receive training for existing employees and new hires through partnerships with training providers. Eligible applicants include public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service.
Governor's Small Business Webinar Series
The Governor's Office of Economic Development has several webinars targeted to small businesses. All previous webinars can be seen on the department’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk2mldvOd_Ez6ih92rS69gw.
For a list of essential businesses, click here.
On March 31, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 which defines Essential Services. Click here to read the order.
The Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety or any combination thereof.
Visit www.cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors for further clarification.
Richardson Chamber of Commerce
The Richardson Chamber of Commerce is keeping a list of resources available to local businesses.
Resources for Businesses (Employers)
- US. Chamber of Commerce Foundation-Combating the Coronavirus
- U.S. Department of Labor
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation- Resilience in a Box
- Association of Chamber of Commerce
- US. Small Business Administration-Assistance and Guidance
- Texas Workforce Commission-Rapid Response
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- NACD Resource Center: Responding to COVID-19 Crisis
- SCORE Guidance for Small Businesses During Coronavirus
- Better Business Bureau tips on COVID-19
- The Food Industry Association-Coronavirus Resources
- America’s SBDC COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses
- Texas Downtown Association- Information & Resources for Downtowns during COVID-19
Dallas Regional Chamber
The Dallas Regional Chamber has launched a new webpage to help displaced workers get back into the workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. The page and offers:
- leads for in-demand jobs;
- access to online courses to upskill into high-demand, well-paying jobs;
- childcare resources for parents involved in essential work; and
- links to help workers to file for unemployment claims.
Fine out more information by visiting https://sayyestodallas.com/jobs/displaced-workers/.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) signed into law
President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) into law March 27. The $2.2 trillion economic relief package includes $1,200 payments to qualifying Americans, $100 billion in direct support for hospitals, and over $370 billion to small business owners to keep their employees on the payroll. It also includes direct relief for State, Tribal, and local governments through the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund. Each State will receive at least $1.25 billion. Additionally, $8 billion is set aside for tribal governments. This aid comes on top of the Family First Coronavirus Aid Package, signed by President Trump on March 18. State/Local/Tribal provisions include:
- $150 billion in direct aid to State, Tribal, and local governments. Aid will be allocated primarily by a State’s population with each State receiving at least $1.25 billion.
- $340 billion in additional emergency supplemental funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
- $500 billion for loans and guarantees that authorize the U.S. Treasury to support eligible businesses and States and local governments to cover losses incurred as a result of COVID-19.
- $100 billion for hospitals and health care facilities to reimburse expenses or lost revenues not otherwise reimbursed that are directly attributable to COVID-19.
- $3.5 billion to allow States to expand childcare benefits for health care workers, first responders, and others on the frontlines of this crisis.
Click here to read more.