Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Guide for Business Owners

by Mar 20, 2020

Please share your story.

Columbia County businesses that have been impacted by the current health crisis need to come forward and tell their story.

The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce has stated that federal assistance is contingent on local businesses speaking up and letting the state know that they are struggling.

We are asking businesses to share their stories and examples of economic hardship, so that we can pass them on to state and national government. 

 

In addition to sharing your story with the chamber, consider sharing your story through the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce website.  

The following is a growing list of resources available for business owners in Columbia County who are looking for assistance as a result of COVID-19.

 

Financial Assistance

 

General Assistance

 

 

InRoads Assistance Loans

 

The InRoads lobby will be closed until April 14th. They have the following options to eligible business owners:

 

Wauna Credit Union Assistance

 

Wauna has temporarily suspended services at the Astoria Safeway branch. All other Wauna Credit Union locations remain open with regular business hours; however, lobby access has been limited to ‘by appointment’ only.

Those who are unable to visit a branch can use their U-Banking app, online banking 24/7, and video banking via WaunaCU Now. If members have questions regarding their accounts, please send them a secure message within U-Banking, or contact the Virtual Branch at 800-773-3236 (Monday-Friday 9 am – 5:30 pm). Our ATMs and Video Teller Units remain operational with regular hours, including Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm.

Additional Financial Assistance:

  1. 0% Visa Balance Transfer promotion (extended through April 30th, 2020)
  2. Variable rate EZ $ Premium  Loan (up to $2,600)
  3. Credit card limit increases
  4. Loan Rebate promotion (60 days no payment, up to $500 cash back)
  5. Easy $ Loan (up to $1,100) 
  6. Home Equity Line of Credit options

Additional loan resources available over at Business Oregon

Housing, Student Loan Information

 

No Evictions of Foreclosures

Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order placed a moratorium on evictions due to nonpayment of rent for 90 days.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has placed a moratorium on foreclosures if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (most loans are, call your mortgage company to ask). Read about this here.

 

Pause Mortgage Payments

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced earlier this month that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will provide payment forbearance for single-family residences provided borrowers could demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19. The forbearance can last as long as a year.

FHFA also said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will grant mortgage forbearance to owners of multifamily properties in exchange for suspending evictions.

The forbearance is simply a pause on having to make your mortgage payments. Interest will still accrue during that time and will be added to your balance.

How to Take Advantage: call your mortgage servicer (the company on your mortgage statement), ask them if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (chances are high it is), and ask them about pausing your mortgage payments.

 

Catch Up On Mortgage Payments

The Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative has resources to help homeowners catch up on their mortgage payments.

How to Take Advantage: get all of the information and apply here.

 

Student Loan Debt

On March 13, President Trump said all interest on federal student loans would be waived for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. Additionally, you can put your monthly payments on pause for at least 60 days during the crisis. (Hint: you could actually already do this!) Read more about this here and here.

How to Take Advantage: to pause your payments, contact your student loan company and ask them. For interest relief, watch your student loan statements. Any interest charged during the emergency should be eliminated retroactively, according to the Department of Education.

 

Free Internet

Xfinity has opened their WiFi Public Hotspots to everybody. Learn more here.

How to Take Advantage: Simply connect to the nearest “xfinitywifi” network near you and follow the prompts.

 

Many, many thanks to our chamber member Ali Hasenkamp with Keller Williams for putting this together!

Layoff Aversion Reimbursement Funds Available

 

Layoff aversion funds are available from Northwest Oregon Works. Layoff funds are avilable in assisting businesses who cannot stay open but can stay operational while working remotely.

Examples of Layoff Aversion Assistance:

  • To support employers’ efforts of remote work locations, funds are available for those companies that are unable to purchase software, programs and/or computer equipment needed to enable their employees to work remotely. NOW will reimburse for these purchases upon the submittal of payment invoice and narrative of what was purchased that includes, employee’s titles or positions, number of employees assisted and detail list of purchases.
  • To support employers’ efforts to maintain a clean or socially distance workplace environment for those employers that need their employees at work. NOW will pay for cleaning/sanitization services or internal cleaning materials and supplies. This will also include supplies or materials used to alter workstations or working platforms in order to achieve proper social distancing while at work.
  • To support employers where additional costs have been incurred by their employees for costs of daycare assistance, home office supplies, internet connections, gas costs due to additional shifts, etc. Daycare costs can be paid directly to the daycare provide by NOW or reimbursed to the employer.
  • To support employers where excessive delivery needs of food, products or services are putting a strain on the employer and employee’s delivery capabilities by reimbursing for the cost of rental vehicles used for these delivery type services, or supplies to ramp up increased delivery services.
  • Transportation assistance (still exploring what that means)
  • Hiring an Accountant or CPA to help get your financials in order to apply for the SBA Loan

For more questions about how you can take advantage of this, please contact Executive Director, Heather DeSart at (541)9211 or Program Manager Debra Smith (541)921-7329.

 

To apply for layout aversion funds, please fill out this form and email it back to Heather@onwib.org

Statewide Resources

 

#SupportLocal

Now more than ever, we need to truly #supportlocal and spend our local dollars with our local businesses owners who are feeling the economic impact. All of the Columbia County Chambers, Keep It Local Columbia County and the Columbia County Economic Team have come together to help support our business owners who are feeling the impact.

If you are uneasy about going our right now, you can still support our local businesses by doing the following:
agsdi-gift

Buy Gifts Cards for Later

If you usually frequent a business, buy a gift card that covers your usual spend. Then spread out the use of those gift cards over time while you continue to support them as normal or give them away as gifts.

agsdi-refresh

Keep Your Subscription

If you have a subscription to a local business or organization, keep it going. Many small businesses rely on that support to keep their doors open and pay the bills. Your continued support can literally save their business

agsdi-clothing-handbag

Buy Now, Pickup Later

If you planned ahead on a purchase, pay for it and have them set it aside for you to pick up later.

agsdi-people

Ask How You Can Help

If you know the owners or employees personally, drop them a line and ask how you can help. They may have specific ideas to their business

Have you ever thought of offering eGift cards to your customers?.

Click here to set that up for free with Square. All you pay is the processing fee when someone purchases a card from you.

Click on anyone of these images to download and share on your social media channels.

Support Local Business Through Merch #loveyourlocal

The impact of COVID-19 on our local communities inspired us to take action. Our aim is to create opportunities for people to support local businesses that have been impacted. We are dedicating a team to support this initiative with 100% of profits going directly to business owners.

Zero inventory, zero costs, zero hassle. 
Everything is made on demand so there’s no upfront inventory required. When you sell a product you’ll keep the profit. We’ll produce it, ship it, and take care of your customers too.

Visit creators.teespring.com/loveyourlocal or click on the picture for more information.

COVID-19 Special Discount Deals

We are collecting a growing list of discount deals available to help business owners save some money while weathering the COVID-19 crisis.

If you are uneasy about going our right now, you can still support our local businesses by doing the following:

20% OFF Constant Contact for 3 months

Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, especially with social distancing restrictions. Click the picture to start your email marketing today and take advantage of this deal.

Free Email Marketing 101 Class Slide Deck

We want to offer our chamber members and the community free copy of the slide deck that was used for the Email Marketing 101 class that was taught at the chamber back in January. Another tool to help you communicate with your customers remotely during this time. Click on the image to download at no charge.

50% Offer off Graphic Design Service

For a limited time, Virtual 9 Design is offering 50% off Digital Graphics, Custom Menu or Service Listing and Creative Strategy. Click here to download the flyer for this offer.

State and National Updates on Coronavirus Impact

 

America’s Small Business Development Center Resource Page

US Chamber of Commerce – Emergency Coronavirus Loan Small Business Guide & Checklist

US Senator Jeff Merkley’s COVID-19 Resource page

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce Resource Guide

Governor Kate Brown Coronavirus COVID-19 Resources and Information

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • On March 14, the House of Representatives passed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. President Trump has announced his support for the bill and it is expected to pass the Senate early next week.Contents of the bill
    • Unemployment Compensation
    • Paid Sick Leave
    • Paid Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)
    • Provisions for Diagnostic Testing
    • Health Services
    • School Nutrition Programs, WIC, SNAP, Senior Food Programs
    • Medical Devices Liability
    • Discussion of Liquidity Impact for Small Businesses

     

    Letter to US Government Leaders on Coronavirus Response

    The US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the United States Government on behalf of business owners across the nation who have felt the economic impact of COVID-19. The letter asks congress to consider the following 3 proposals:

    1. Cancelling payroll taxes paid by employers for the months of March, April and May
    2. Streamlining loan programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees experiencing revenue loss as a result of the Coronavirus
    3. enabling the creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees experiencing significant revenue loss as a result of the Coronavirus

Remote Work And Connection Tools

 

These links are tools you can use to handle digital meetings. Many companies in this space have started offering relaxed plans, or extra services during this time.

Loom

Loom is a cloud-based screen recording software, and it is awesome! I personally have used it many. many times when I ran my web design business to record trainings for clients and for contractors that I would work with. This would be a great resource for anyone who is needing to work remotely during this time, especially as a means of passing on or receiving instruction.

Loom is offering a free for life plan for all students and teachers, and have dropped the price on their PRO plan from $10 to $5 per month.
https://www.loom.com/blog/coronavirus-response

Zoom

Zoom is what I use to do video conferencing software. What I love about Zoom is you can do audio calls, video calls, screen sharing, and also record the call for future use. A fantastic tool for not only meetings but instructional use.

Their free plan allows up to 100 participants and unlimited number of meeting, but the time limit is set to 40 minutes, Their paid version starts at $15/month. We’ve heard they were offering reduced limits on their free plan, but we don’t have any specific details.
https://zoom.us

Cisco WebEx

Cisco has changed to unlimited meetings with up to 100 attendees on their free plan.
https://www.webex.com

Google Hangouts

Google hangouts is a great way to connect with others in your team or business. We don’t have any specific details on the service offers or pricing, but you can download the plugin or app >>HERE<<

Keep in mind that the demand on these services is far exceeding normal, and they may experience service outages. Many are doing their best to increase service capacity, but that increase takes time (and workers).

 

Many thanks to our chamber member Alex Johnson of Pacific NW Web Works for putting this together!

Donations

 

How you can donate and help out.

COVID-19 Response Fund

United Way of Columbia County fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. In these trying times, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing rapid and straining changes here at home, United Way of Columbia County has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to aid the most current critical needs of our community.

Effective immediately donations can be made by clicking the donate now button below or via mail to United Way of Columbia County, PO Box 538, Rainier, OR 97048

How the COVID-19 Response Fund works:

This flexible fund is designed to receive community contributions to swiftly meet the most critical areas of need in Columbia County including, but not limited to, nutrition access, mental health access, shelter, childcare supports, and prescriptions.

  • 100% of contributions given to this fund will be directed to the areas most in need
  • No administrative fees will be deducted
  • The Untied Way Board of Directors will approve funding distributions swiftly and on-going as needs are assessed
  • The COVID-19 Response Fund is meant to serve the community for a short to medium term ranging from 3-6 months, but may extend past that time depending on developments
  • Updates will be made to the public on a monthly basis via email newsletter to inform doors and community members on funds distributed

For questions, please e-mail uwcc@hotmail.com

Start Or Support A GoFund Me Account for Your Small Business

 

How you can donate and help out.

The Small Business Relief Fund Initiative

The Small Business Relief Initiative was started by GoFundMe to help small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and empower their communities to rally behind them. GoFundMe has partnered with Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks to provide small business owners with the financial support and resources needed to continue running their businesses during and after the coronavirus crisis.

As part of the Small Business Relief Initiative, GoFundMe, Intuit QuickBooks, and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund. GoFundMe.org, the charitable and advocacy arm of GoFundMe, started the Small Business Relief Fund to benefit small businesses. Supporters can donate to the Small Business Relief Fund, which will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe. More partners will be announced in relation to this initiative at a later date.

The South Columbia County Chamber is very grateful for our $1000 Columbia Level Sponsors

Grocery Outlet
Hurliman CPA
InRoads Credit Union
Port of Columbia County Logo
mark lang logo
RA Construction
Western Heating & Cooling
Finish Line Graphics
Hailey Iverson Edward Jones
City of St Helens
Columbia County Oregon Color Logo
NEXT renewable logo

The Chamber is also excited to recognize our $500 Willamette Sponsors

NW Plumbing Services Logo
sembro logo
Healthy Smiles of Scappoose logo
John L Scott Real Estate
Hagan Hamilton
Michael Ismert Insurance Agency