• COVID-19 Resource Center

    In support of our business community amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the Grand Island Chamber is providing up-to-date information to combat the ever-changing circumstances businesses and individuals are facing. Last update: 1/12/21
  • American Rescue Plan Act

    President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, the third major piece of legislation targeting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    FFCRA Credits Extended

    Paid sick and family leave credits ar enow extended through September 30, 2021. The program continues to be voluntary in 2021, however, the 80-hour limitation on paid sick leave resets on April 1, 2021. For purposes of the family leave credit, eligible wages increased from $10,000 to $12,000.

    Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Extended

    The ERC is now extended through December 31, 2021. This credit can be substantial for employers who qualify. In 2021, a business may qualify if it either:

    (1) Demonstrates at least a 20% decline in a 2021 calendar quarter gross receipts compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019

    (2) or experiences a business shutdown mandated by a government authority.

    Recovery startup businesses, those that began after February 15, 2020, and had less than $1 million in gross receipts, could be eligible for an expanded credit of up to $50,000 per quarter for the third and fourth quarters of 2021. 

    Restaurant Revitalization Grants

    The Small Business Administration has a new program specific to restaurants which aims to offset a "pandemic-related revenue loss" in 2020. Guidance is needed from the SBA to detail how this program operates.  

    Emergency Rental Assistance Program

    The program, funded through the U.S. Treasury as part of a federal coronavirus relief package, is available to eligible tenants and landlords.  The State’s program provides assistance for both rent and certain utilities.  The program is available for renters and not homeowners according to federal guidance. The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) is coordinating with the State to administer the rental assistance program. Starting today, Nebraskans can apply online at coronavirus.nebraska.gov
    • The latest round of coronavirus relief funding provided Nebraska with $200 million of Emergency Rental Assistance funding.  Of this amount, $158 million will be administered and distributed by the State to persons in all counties other than Douglas and Lancaster, which, along with Omaha and Lincoln, received separate funds.
      • Applicants residing in these areas will have the ability to apply to those respective programs around the beginning of March, with more information to be provided as it becomes available.
      • If the separate area funds are fully exhausted and need still exists in those areas, the remaining State fund will then become available to persons in those areas.
    • The State’s program provides assistance for both rent and certain tenant-paid utilities such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, and garbage services.  
    • Application approval requires:
      • A copy of the current lease with the applicant as a party to that lease.
      • Contact with the landlord for verification of current tenancy, amounts due, or other application information.
      • A demonstrated loss of household income as a result, either directly or indirectly, of COVID-19.
    • When an application for assistance is approved, payment will be made directly to the landlord or utility providers on behalf of the tenant.
    • Either the landlord or the tenant may apply for this assistance.  Both the landlord and the tenant will be required to verify information and provide relevant documentation.
    • Only tenants whose household income is verified as less than 80% of the average median income of their county are eligible for assistance.
    • During the application process, required documents will be uploaded directly to the portal.  The portal is mobile-friendly to make the application process as easy as possible even for people without a home computer.
    • NIFA’s website (www.nifa.org) and YouTube channels will have additional training materials and webinars about the program.
    • A call center is available to provide assistance from Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and, at least the first weekend, on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The call center number is 1-833-500-8810.

    Paycheck Protection Program

    As a part of an end-of-the-year pandemic relief package, Congress passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a "Second Draw" PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans. Congress also made changes to other programs — including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL Program), the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Venue Grant program, and SBA loan programs — that will benefit small businesses.
    The following is a list of resource links with information you need to know:

    SBA, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will open the Paycheck Protection Program loan portal on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 9 am ET.  When the PPP loan portal system opens, it will initially accept First Draw PPP loan applications from participating CFIs, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries.

    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 employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

    • PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
    • Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a maturity of 5 years.
    • Loan payments will be deferred for borrowers who apply for loan forgiveness until SBA remits the borrower's loan forgiveness amount to the lender. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, payments are deferred 10 months after the end of the covered period for the borrower’s loan forgiveness (either 8 weeks or 24 weeks).
    • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
    • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

    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. 

    Click here for more information. 

    Looking for an authorized Paycheck Protection Program lender?

    Amur  |  308-398-4140  |  www.amureF.com

    Equitable Bank  |  308-382-3136  |  www.equitableonline.com 

    Five Points Bank  |  308-384-5350  www.5pointsbank.com

    City Facial Covering Ordinance

    An emergency ordinance requiring the use of facial coverings in public was approved during a city council meeting on November 24. Items worth noting for businesses: 
    •  The ordinance begins November 27th, 2020, and ends February 23, 2021.
    • All businesses open to the general public shall require all individuals age five and older to wear a face-covering while indoors of said premises (unless a minimum of 6-feet separation is held at all times)
      • ​Exemptions include:
        • Seated at a bar/restaurant to eat or drink.
        • When the wearing of a mask would create a job hazard.
        • Individuals alone in an office/room/a vehicle/cab of heavy equipment/enclosed area.
        • Communicating with individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing or who have a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with that individual while wearing a face-covering difficult. 
    • ​​All businesses must have one or more signs posted and visible to all persons instructing them to wear face coverings. Download a mask sign here
    • To view the ordinance and all regulations, click here.

    Do Right, Right Now
    Do Right, Right Now is a practical call for a unified response to COVID-19. As Nebraskans, we pride ourselves on doing the right thing, caring for one another, and working together to address problems and affect change. We can get the good life back when we Do Right, Right Now. For access to the digital resources provided by the campaign, click here
    Grown Nebraska 2 - Grant Funding
    The Governor announced targeted grant programs to help assist businesses in industries that were particularly hurt by COVID-19. Including: 
    • Restaurants and Bars - $20 million available
      • ​$12,000 grant awards to eligible awardees
      • Entities who did not participate in the original Small Business Grant program may be eligible for $24,000
    • Cosmetic, Massage, and Body Art Services - $22 million
      • ​12,000 grant awards
    • Event Centers and Sports Arenas - $20 million
      • ​Up to $500,000 grant awards on a tiered basis based on seating and square footage
    • Hotels and Convention Centers - $34 million
      • Up to $500,000 grant awards on a tiered basis based on meeting space and approximate guests
    • Movie Theaters - $3.2 million
      • Grant awards will be distributed on a $10,00 allocation per screen in the facility. 
    Grant applications open October 21st and close November 13th. To apply, click here. 
    Business and Livestock Producer Stabilization Grant Program
    Governor Ricketts announced a new grant program for eligible businesses and ag producers who have not yet received assistance.
    • Grant applications open October 21st and close November 13th. To apply, click here. 
    • Small Business - $15 Million available 
      • $12,000 grant awards
    • Livestock - $10 Million available
      • $12,000 grant awards
    Employee Retention Tax Credit
    The CARES Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19.
    Families First Coronavirus Response Act
    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1, and they expire on December 31. 

    (The following has been adapted from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services) 

    Signage for your business 
    The Chamber office no longer has any printed copies of the following signs. If you need a copy to hang at your business, they are free to download. Simply click on the sign you would like to download. They print best on 11 x 17 paper but can be printed on any standard size printer paper.