How California Small Businesses Can Manage COVID-19

Kim Solis | Apr 1, 2021 | minute read

small business managing COVID-19

The year 2020 has certainly been an unprecedented year for America. The coronavirus took us by storm and changed everything from how we interact with friends, family, and coworkers, to how we study, exercise, and do business. Perhaps no sector has been hit as hard as small business. Across America, thousands of small businesses have had to shutter their doors, and sadly, many will never re-open.

In California, small businesses have endured some of the strictest lockdowns in the country and have had the challenge of not only adapting to changes in customer behavior, but also keeping up with safety protocols and new rules issued by the state government. It’s not surprising that as we enter the new year, many small business owners aren’t sure what to do next and are beginning to feel what’s being referred to as “pandemic fatigue.” Fortunately, there are some resources available to help small business owners stay afloat and protect their employees during these dire times.

Know What Resources Are Available

With more state lockdowns and no federal aid in sight, many small businesses are worried about how they’ll make it through the winter. However, the California government realizes the extent of the crisis and is providing various types of aid and relief to small businesses across the state. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the resources that are available to you and your employees.

Listed below are some of the state and federal resources for small businesses in California:

  • Tax breaks. The state and federal government are providing a variety of tax deferrals and credits to small businesses during the pandemic. One example is the Small Business Hiring Tax Credit, which grants a $1,000 tax credit for new hires.
  • Debt relief. The Small Business Association (SBA) is providing debt relief to small business during the pandemic including paying 6 months of principal balance and interest for borrowers on certain loans.
  • The California Rebuilding Fund. Created using private and public funds, the CRF is intended to serve the “smallest of small businesses” and those located in economically disadvantaged communities.
  • Loans. The Loan Guarantee Program, which is issued via IBank, was created to give small businesses in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods access to affordable capital.

small business COVID-19 resources

Another sign of help on the way for small businesses is coming through the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. There is currently $500 million in grants that will be available to small businesses in California, and applications will soon be accepted on their website.

Other resources include Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program. For a full listing of resources in California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled this list of resources for small businesses and their employees.

Protecting Your Employees First

No one is more important to small businesses than the people who make them run. While these times can be trying for those in charge, it’s even harder on employees who may be concerned about their next paycheck, job uncertainty, childcare or whether they’ll have health insurance in the months to come.

As a business owner, it’s important to take the proper steps to assure your employees safety throughout the pandemic and as the state begins to re-open. The first place to start is by reading and studying the Employer Playbook, which was issued by the state of California and provides guidelines for re-opening your business safely.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published – and regularly updates – COVID-19 guidelines for businesses and employers. The guidelines can help to prevent or slow the spread of workplace exposures to the coronavirus. Each business is different, but employers should ensure their plan identifies all areas and jobs with potential risks to COVID-19 exposure and includes measures to reduce or eliminate these exposures.

The CDC COVID-19 website includes a wealth of information to help you keep your employees and workplace safe. The small business guidance provides easy-to-follow steps and tips to implement. Business owners are undoubtedly fatigued as we approach the anniversary of the onslaught of the pandemic, but employees are also feeling overtaxed. Share the CDC’s tips on managing fatigue with your team to help them manage in this stressful time.

COVID-19 safe workplace

If any employees have a fever, cough, or other coronavirus symptoms, be sure to instruct them to stay home, contact their medical provider, tell those they may have exposed, monitor their symptoms and seek emergency medical attention if or when warranted.

Here are some other things you should consider to help your employees:

  • Flexibility. During these uncertain times, employees need more flexibility than ever. You should not be requesting doctor’s notes or preventing employees from taking care of sick family members if they must. You should also plan for increased absenteeism and how your business will adjust if it occurs.
  • Childcare. With schools around the state and country closed, you must understand your employees are dealing with unprecedented problems at home as well. If you can provide or assist your employees with childcare in any way, it will benefit everyone in the business.
  • Sick leave. Update your policy so that it is more flexible and does not discourage employees from staying home if they are showing symptoms.

Most importantly, there’s never been a more crucial time for your employees to have adequate health insurance. Consider how COVID-19 and potential closures are affecting your employees health insurance, and if you don’t have proper coverage for them, now’s the time to make a change.

Leap | Carpenter | Kemps Insurance Agency Helps Can Help Meet Your Needs and Those of Your Employees

At Leap | Carpenter | Kemps Insurance Agency, we provide quality life and health insurance, as well as complete employee benefits packages to meet your needs and those of your employees. If you’re looking for ways to help reduce the risk in your workplace and make sure your employees are adequately insured, schedule an appointment with one of our insurance agents to discuss your current coverage and explore your best options.

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