COVID-19

Business Resources

COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program

The COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program provides critical working capital financing to small businesses located within the Commonwealth that are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  The Northwest Commission is a Certified Economic Development Organization for the counties of: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Lawrence, Venango, and Warren.  Loans up to $100,000 are available.  The interest rate for the program is 0% except for agricultural producers in which case the interest rate is 2% fixed for the life of the loan. ** Thank you for your interest in the PIDA Working Capital Access Program.  The response to the program has been intense and the $61 Million fund has been exhausted.  We encourage you to review the Small Business Administration’s funding opportunities including the Economic Injury Disaster and the Payroll Protection Program.  Information on these programs and other resources can be found on this page.  As we gather additional information, we will post it here. **  

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL)

The CARES Act establishes a new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. The Program will provide much-needed relief to millions of small businesses so they can sustain their businesses and keep their workers employed. More information can be found below and on Treasury’s CARES Act website: https://home.treasury.gov/cares.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Program Overview The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. 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 Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Who Can Apply This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19. 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.

How to Apply You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,  and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.

Loan Details and Forgiveness The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of .5%. If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you. For additional information click here and here

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Governor Tom Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.  The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years.  Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Businesses may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by emailing: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Governor Wolf issued an order on March 19, 2020 that effective 8:00 pm all non-essential businesses cease activity to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus continues to present new challenges for our communities, businesses, and Pennsylvania’s economy. Governor Wolf has taken action to protect the public and businesses in order to slow the spread of the virus. On March 19, Gov. Wolf issued an order to close all non-life sustaining businesses. The complete list of non-life sustaining businesses is found on our website along with frequently asked questions for all life-sustaining businesses. Businesses that were ordered to close under this order and believe that they could help mitigate the COVID-19 crisis or provide essential services, have until Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5PM to apply for a Business Exemption Waiver. After that time, the submission period will be closed. The PA Department of Health (DOH) has received questions and requests for business guidance amid the COVID-19 breakout. They encourage all life-sustaining businesses to take the necessary steps to ensure a healthy environment. Below is a list of resources to assist Pennsylvania’s life-sustaining businesses:

For any DOH business guidance questions, call 1.877.PA.HEALTH (1.877.724.3258). Continue to stay up-to-date with all COVID-19 information for businesses, communities and local governments by visiting the COVID-19 Resources webpage.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in critical need for medical supplies:

If you have supplies available for purchase, please complete this form: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal   April 4, 2020 Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, which will mobilize manufacturers that are producing COVID-19-related products and supplies or can pivot to producing COVID-19-related supplies. “As we work to protect public health and safety and create a robust supply chain, we know that there are manufacturers across the commonwealth who are willing and able to help,” said Sec. Davin. “This portal will help facilitate the connections businesses need to get critical COVID-19-related products to market or retrofit their operations to begin production of those products.” The portal was developed through a joint effort between DCED, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, IRC Network, Life Sciences PA, Pennsylvania Life Sciences Greenhouses, and the PA Chamber of Business and Industry. Last week, Governor Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Portal to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals. The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal builds on those efforts to help manufacturers produce COVID-19-related supplies or retool their operations to begin creation of those supplies. The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal will help facilitate business connections for expansion of supply chain capacity and manufacturing innovation. The goal is to match manufacturers and distributors to fill specific supply chain needs to meet increasing demands for medical supplies and related products, assist manufacturers that have workforce needs or gaps and aid them in identifying skilled workers, and identify manufacturers that can pivot or innovate to fulfill the demand for medical supplies and related products. Pennsylvania’s manufacturers, distributors, and other suppliers should visit the portal to report their critical supply chain capabilities, needs, or workforce gaps or innovative opportunities, which will help DCED staff identify opportunities and solutions. Questions can be directed to RA-DCEDPAMCTAP@pa.gov.

Government Contracting Resources

The Northwest Commission PTAC has put together a COVID-19 resource guide for anyone in need of their services. Please click here. FEMA Request For Help – If you or your organization are interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, FEMA has established a website (www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help) with more information. Examples for the private sector include:

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please submit a price quote under the COVID-19 PPE and Medical Supplies Request for Quotation. Full details can be found in the solicitation (Notice ID 70FA2020R00000011).
    • This solicitation requires registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be considered for award, pursuant to applicable regulations and guidelines. Registration information can be found at www.sam.gov.  Registration must be “ACTIVE” at the time of award.
  • If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
  • If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email nbeoc@max.gov.
  • If you are a hospital or healthcare provider in need of medical supplies, please contact your state, local, tribal or territory department of public health and/or emergency management agency.
  • If you are interested in doing business with FEMA and supporting the response to COVID- 19 with your company’s non-medical goods and/or services, please submit your inquiry to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Procurement Action Innovative Response Team (PAIR) team at DHSIndustryLiaison@hq.dhs.gov.

For additional information please visit FEMA’s website: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/. IRS: Economic Impact Payments: What You Need To Know (HERE) The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced on 4/1 that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

COVID-19 Information for Impacted Workers & Employees

If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits. Learn more by clicking here.

Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents | Federal Student Aid

On March 13, 2020, the president announced that interest would be waived on all federally held student loans. Which loans are covered by the announcement? All loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will have interest waived. That includes Direct Loans, as well as Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED. Please note that some FFEL Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution you attended. These loans are not eligible for this benefit at this time.

Treasury Delays Tax and Reporting Due Dates for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Ammunition Businesses Hit by COVID-19 (HERE) The Treasury Department is delaying tax payment due dates for wine, beer, distilled spirits, tobacco products, firearms, and ammunition excise taxes, to provide flexibility for businesses that have been negatively affected by COVID-19. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also has a page on their website dedicated to helping businesses deal with Coronavirus concerns. Visit the page by clicking here. The Strategic Early Warning Network, administered by the Department of Labor and Industry, offers resources to help small and medium-sized businesses, including business planning resources and contingency planning. Visit their website by clicking here.

Pennsylvania Businesses to Benefit from Waiver for Prepayments of Sales Tax
As part of the effort to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments over the next three months. That means businesses that normally have a monthly prepayment requirement will not be charged penalties for missing the prepayment deadline during this three-month period.

“The spread of COVID-19 has put a tremendous strain on many businesses throughout the commonwealth that collect Pennsylvania sales tax,” Governor Wolf said. “Waiving this prepayment requirement will provide support to our businesses at a time when they are doing their part to help us prevent the spread of the virus.”

Under normal circumstances, certain business taxpayers are required to make monthly sales tax prepayments to the commonwealth if their actual tax liability is more than $25,000 during the third quarter of the preceding year. The Department of Revenue is waiving the prepayment requirement in April, May and June of 2020 to help business owners with cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will continue to work with Governor Wolf and members of his administration to consider other steps that we can take to help the business community,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “It’s important that we do everything that we can to help businesses during this unprecedented health crisis.”

Under this new scenario, the department is asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they collected during the prior month. The due dates to remit sales tax will be April 20, May 20 and June 22, which follows the standard due dates for monthly filers who have no prepayment requirement.

Visit the Department of Revenue’s page on Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments for more information on prepayments.

All businesses are encouraged to remit online using e-TIDES, the department’s online tax system for businesses. Find the REV-819 on the department’s website for a schedule of return and prepayment due dates.

Taxpayer Service and Assistance

In addition to the waiver of Accelerated Sales Tax prepayments, the Department of Revenue also has:

With the department’s call centers closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, taxpayers seeking assistance are encouraged to use the department’s Online Customer Service Center, available at revenue-pa.custhelp.com. You can use this resource to electronically submit a question to a department representative. The department representative will be able to respond through a secure, electronic process that is similar to receiving an email. Additionally, the Online Customer Service Center includes thousands of answers to common tax-related questions.

Find Alerts From Revenue Online
Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to visit the Department of Revenue’s COVID-19 information page on www.revenue.pa.gov for additional guidance and updates on department operations. You can also visit the department’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for real time updates.

Visit the commonwealth’s Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Pennsylvanians looking for work

Pennsylvanians looking for work can now find life-sustaining businesses that are hiring through a new online COVID-19 job portal the Department of Labor & Industry is launched Monday, April 13.

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