COVID-19 Resources

NELEA is with you on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic to provide information and other resources updated daily on our website.

Louisiana Secretary of State Notification

The secretary of state’s office knows these are challenging times for Louisiana’s business community. We are available to assist you with any needs you may have with your geauxBIZ registration or other services our commercial division provides. You can contact us at our website geauxBIZ.com or by calling our office at (225)-925-4704.

On the geauxBIZ site, you can live chat with a staff member. If you place a call to our office, because of the current situation, you will receive a recording and have to leave a message. Someone will return your call as soon as possible.

Also, available on our sos.la.gov website, is a list of federal and state resources that may be helpful to your business during this time. We will update this list as new information is received so check back regularly.

I hope this information is helpful. We are here to serve you.

Sincerely,

Kyle Ardoin
Louisiana Secretary of State
Please do not reply to this email as it is automatically generated. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Commercial Division by email using commercial@sos.la.gov or by phone at 225.925.4704.

Developing a telework security policy

March 31, 2020

LED Allies:  I have attached information that may be helpful to you.  The source is the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (via ESF-17 Team) which provided the attached COVID-19 Guidance on teleworking.

As millions of Americans transition from an office environment to their homes to continue to work, maintaining cybersecurity while teleworking is critical during this challenging time. For organizations/enterprises establishing telework security policies, remote access solutions, etc., NIST has developed a comprehensive telework resource guide that provides information on securing enterprise telework, remote access, and bring your own device (BYOD) solutions.

Some key elements in this document include:

  • Developing and enforcing a telework security policy, such as having tiered levels of remote access;
  • Requiring multi-factor authentication for enterprise access; and
  • Securing all types of telework client devices—including desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, and tables—against common threats.

Please feel free to pass this information to businesses, organizations and stakeholders State-wide.

For additional information:

KENNETH P. DONNELLY, COL(Ret)
Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission
Email: Kenny.donnelly@la.gov

Thank you for your leadership and partnership in these challenging times.

Best regards,

Don Pierson
Secretary
Louisiana Economic Development
T    225.342.5388
F    225.342.5349

www.opportunitylouisiana.com

Info on Virus Makeup and Protection From

The following is from Irene Ken physician, whose daughter is an Asst. Prof in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University, quite informative.

* The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipid (fat), which, when absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or buccal mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and convert them into aggressor and multiplier cells.

* Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and type of material where it lies.

* The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat. That is why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam CUTS the FAT (that is why you have to rub so much: for 20 seconds or more, to make a lot of foam).

By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.

* HEAT melts fat; this is why it is so good to use water above 77 degrees Fahrenheit for washing hands, clothes and everything. In addition, hot water makes more foam and that makes it even more useful.

* Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol over 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

* Any mix with 1 part bleach and 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, breaks it down from the inside.

* Oxygenated water helps long after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the virus protein, but you have to use it pure and it hurts your skin.

* NO BACTERICIDE OR ANTIBIOTIC SERVES. The virus is not a living organism like bacteria; antibodies cannot kill what is not alive.

* NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or cloth. While it is glued to a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only
-between 3 hours (fabric and porous),
-4 hours (copper and wood)
-24 hours (cardboard),
– 42 hours (metal) and
-72 hours (plastic).

But if you shake it or use a feather duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose.

* The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars.

They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster.

* UV LIGHT on any object that may contain it breaks down the virus protein. For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is protein) in the skin.

* The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

* Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break down the protective layer of fat.

* NO SPIRITS, NOR VODKA, serve. The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol, and you need 65%.

* LISTERINE IF IT SERVES! It is 65% alcohol.

* The more confined the space, the more concentration of the virus there can be. The more open or naturally ventilated, the less.

* You have to wash your hands before and after touching mucosa, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. And when using the bathroom.

* You have to Moisturize dry hands from so much washing them, because the molecules can hide in the micro cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better.

* Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide there.

JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL

Update on Business Support Task Force Actions ~ March 23 ‐ 27, 2020

Background: This document contains information gathered by LED and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness office, with the assistance of Genea Lathers, Planning Branch Manager. This information and associated update articles are provided to keep business and industry stakeholders informed of current activities and actions taken in response to the National and State Emergency Declarations issued due to the COVID‐19 event.

Louisiana Economic Development March 23 ‐ 27 Updates

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that his request for a statewide Major Disaster Declaration in response to the spread of COVID‐19 in Louisiana was approved by President Donald Trump. The declaration allows the federal government to provide additional support for state and local agencies in dealing with this growing public health emergency.

On March 27th congressional passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was achieved and POTUS immediately signed the bill into law. The bill contains a number of provisions that will immediately help families and businesses struggling with the impact of the virus.

The small business loans included in the CARES legislation are administered by private banks, and guaranteed through the Small Business Administration’s existing 7(a) loan program. These loans can be used for expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage and utility expenses – and eight weeks of expenses are forgivable as long as the company meets the loan criteria and maintains its employees on the payroll as outlined in the legislation. Employers with less than 500 employees are eligible and loans are capped at $10 million. This loan program is different from the existing SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans which is administered directly through the Small Business Administration.

The CARES Act includes:

  • State Stabilization Fund – $150 billion to states and local governments, allocated by population
  • Individual Aid – $1200 financial assistance for most individuals, plus $500 for children (assistance reduced for individuals with adjusted gross incomes above $75,000 for individuals, $150,000 for couples)
  •  Payroll Tax Credit Refunds – Advance refunds of payroll tax credits enacted in Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing employers with financial assistance in paying mandated sick and family leave
  • Employee Retention Credit – Provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers during the COVID19 crisis; credit is available to employers whose operations were fully or partially suspended or whose gross receipts declined more than 50 percent
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance ‐ Extension of unemployment benefits to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers; increases unemployment assistance for four months

    Louisiana Economic Development announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID‐19. For COVID‐19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll‐free hotline, (833) 457‐0531. The COVID‐19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be aware that high call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voice mail or contact LED via email. For Louisiana businesses seeking federal financial assistance, they are encouraged first to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov/Disaster to apply for COVID‐19 disaster aid. The SBA Customer Service Center may be reached at (800) 659‐2955, with an additional TTY line for the hearing‐impaired at (800) 877‐8339.

    LED is working with all levels of government and the private sector to support Louisiana businesses and their employees during the COVID‐19 pandemic. At the LED website — OpportunityLouisiana.com/covid19 — businesses may find workplace guidance from the Governor’s Stay At Home Order and other proclamations; COVID‐19 public health recommendations; sources of COVID‐19 financial aid; regional resources across the state; and links to information from business and industry trade associations.

Update on Business Support Task Force Actions ~ March 23 ‐ 27, 2020

LED COVID‐19 tab at opportunitylouisiana.com includes local information that can be quickly posted, this allows a way we can provide and amplify local messages and local resources that are posted by REDOs or others. This resource page is fluid and flexible, and will be updated real‐time throughout the duration of this event.

We are finalizing a Rapid Response Fund for Small Biz working capital, with a low interest rate and flexible terms. Final documents are drafted and under review. Anticipate that the program can be announced on Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

Louisiana Department of Revenue March 23‐27 Updates

  • LDR provided analysis of CARES Act to the administration.
  • LDR is leading daily calls with business association and regional economic development organizations (REDOs) and other stakeholders for reporting of updates by LED, DEQ, LWC, DNR and other agencies.
  • LDR provided the UI claims broken down by parish.
    • Beginning with the week starting 3/15/20, we have 120,000 new UI claims filed as of 8:00 a.m. 3/26/2020
    • Weekly new claimants 3/15/2020‐3/21/220 totaled 71,000
    • Thus far, for the week beginning 3/22/2020‐3/26/2020 total new claims 49,000
    • For reference and benchmark the 1st week of March 2020 ~ 1,700 new claimants and 14K continued claimants Division of Administration March 23‐27 Updates
  • The state is NOT under an office closure.
  • All state buildings are closed to the public.
  • Customary state government functions shall continue to be performed by state employees, either by “work from home” if possible, or at their designated place of work.
  • Employees at work should maintain social distancing.
  • All time spent on issues related to the emergency proclamation during regular and overtime hours, including those by workers who are redirected to emergency duties from their normal duties, should be coded as CV‐19.
  • Undersecretary Meeting on 3/24 has provided guidance related to coding, tracking, and compensation.

    Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) March 23‐27 Updates

  • Clarifying previous temporary allowance for restaurants to sell pre‐packaged beer and growlers and wine curbside by emphasizing that restaurants do not need to obtain a delivery permit prior to engaging in curbside service.
  • Temporarily relaxing La. R.S. 26:148 for wine and spirit wholesalers to extend short term credit sales to bars and restaurants impacted by COVID‐19. This extension will go from fifteen (15) to forty‐five (45) days or to April 30, 2020.
  • Permitting vape retailers closed due to Governor Edwards’ Stay At Home Order to accept online orders for sales of vape products to be delivered to customers via USPS or common courier. Delivery of cigarettes remain prohibited as per LSA R.S. 47:872.

Update on Business Support Task Force Actions ~ March 23 ‐ 27, 2020

  • Temporarily relaxing L.A.C. 55:VII.301 et seq. and allowing retailers to pay wine and spirit wholesalers by a credit card issued by a third party as an alternative to payment by cash or check, while giving wine and spirit wholesalers discretion as to whether credit card payments will be accepted in this instance.
  • Permitting Class A‐General (AG) bars closed for public safety concerns to be allowed to lease to public interest, non‐profit, or charitable organizations the use of the business’s kitchen for preparation of meals to be distributed in the community. Sale of alcohol remains prohibited in these circumstances.

    Louisiana Work Force Commission March 23‐27 Updates

  • As more businesses are forced to shutter because of the coronavirus, unemployment claims have skyrocketed. The state’s labor secretary Ava Dejoie said 71,000 people filed new unemployment applications last week, compared to the usual 1,400 or 1,500 people per week.
  • For employers having difficulty securing work permits for minors in your parish(es), visit the special Labor Programs section of LWC’s COVID‐19 page here: http://www.laworks.net/PublicRelations/COVID_19_Information.asp.

    Louisiana Insurance Commission March 23‐27 Updates

    Insurance: Insurance Commission issued Emergency Rule 39 to provide for the procedure whereby insureds who operate commercial enterprises in Louisiana can make demand upon their admitted insurers to allow for either a mid‐ term self‐audit by the insured or a physical audit by the insurer of those insurance policies that are auditable in order to appropriately and immediately adjust the premium for the risks that have negatively affected the ability of commercial enterprises to operate in the normal course of their business. Additionally, Emergency Rule 39 sets forth the procedures that will control the actions of those admitted insurers who have provided commercial insurance coverage to those commercial insureds whose insurance policies are rated using an auditable exposure basis, including but not limited to, payroll, sales, enrollment, attendance, occupancy rates, square footage or any other basis.

    Regarding Health Insurance: https://www.ahip.org/health‐insurance‐providers‐respond‐to‐coronavirus‐covid‐19/Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center March 23‐27 Updates

  • Coordinating daily other state BEOCs on trends, information sharing, and best practices.
  • The Trump administration is expected to soon direct how manufacturers will distribute crucial medical supplies ‐‐ including protective gear and ventilators ‐‐ to combat the outbreak, alleviating what U.S. governors have complained is a chaotic marketplace for the products.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will take charge of allocating the supplies nationwide, according to three people familiar with the matter, under a clause of the Defense Production Act. The law gives the government vast powers to direct industrial production in crises.
  • Managing many inquiries regarding PPE.
  • PPE – many companies, they are offering mainly small sewing companies w/no access to raw material.
  • GOHSEP is coordinating with DEQ on the liability/requirements to manufacture sanitizer since the FDA/OSHA requirements are very strict.
  • We have several distilleries in D91 that are ready to switch over to sanitizer.
  • As we have continued to emphasize during this COVID 19 pandemic, many of our small businesses are impacted by the mandatory shut downs and restrictions to remain at our homes. We would like to take this opportunity to remind the citizens of Louisiana that our seafood industry is also comprised of many small businesses. These businesses are critical to the economies of our coastal parishes and coastal communities. With restaurants and bars closed, a lot of the retail buyers for these products are not operating. We are encouraging people to buy seafood at their local farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and other retail food businesses. It is imperative that we continue to support Louisiana’s fishing industries and the local communities of which they are a part.

Louisiana Small Business Development Centers March 23‐27 Updates

  • The SBA is experiencing extremely high call volume and web traffic as companies across the country apply for assistance. They are working to increase their capacity.
  • The Louisiana Small Business Development Center network remains committed to helping the Louisiana small business community through the COVID‐19 (Coronavirus) event. To adhere to current medical guidance from federal and local government, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center has transitioned to offer our 1:1 business advisory and consulting services virtually using an online platform of choice. To request assistance, visit the website at www.lsbdc.org and users will be directed to electronically request assistance via email. We have also postponed all in‐person workshops, and will provide further updates regarding possible workshops in webinar format.
  • Programs and applications for assistance are available to help existing small businesses handle economic loss associated with COVID‐19. Governor John Bel Edwards announced that all small businesses in Louisiana are eligible to receive COVID‐19 disaster aid from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Please contact the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at lasbdc@lsbdc.org to arrange a virtual meeting or phone call with a Business Consultant and to learn more about programs being developed, and be sure to check www.lsbdc.org for updates.

    POCs:

    Genea Lathers
    Planning Branch Manager
    Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Emergency Management Preparedness Section
    7667 Independence Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Office: 225‐925‐7445
    Cell: 225‐936‐5586
    Email: genea.lathers@la.gov

    Don Pierson, Secretary
    Louisiana Economic Development T 225.342.5388
    pierson@la.gov www.opportunitylouisiana.com

Capital Point CARES Act summary 3.26.20

Small business lending

• Allocates $377 billion in funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Section 7(a) Loan Program. More generous eligibility and terms.

o Increases government guarantee of the 7(a) loan program to 100% through December 31, 2020 o Defines eligibility for loans as a small business with not more than 500 employees
o Includes sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals
o Establishes the maximum 7(a) loan amount to $10 million
o Specifies allowable uses of the loan include payroll support, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments
o For eligibility purposes, requires lenders to determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020, and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes
o Waives borrower and lender fees, collateral and personal guarantee requirements
o Stipulates that maximum interest rates for SBA 7(a) program loans is 4%
o Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for 6 to 12 months and allocates up to $17 billion in subsidies to cover principal, interest, and fees for a six-month period
o Borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness on payroll costs, mortgage interest payments
o Allocates $10 billion in funding for SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Distressed industry support

• Provides $500 billion to Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, distributed as follows…
o $25 billion for passenger air carriers
o $4 billion for cargo air carriers
o $17 billion for businesses important to maintaining national security

• All
o Alternative financing is not reasonably available to the business
o The loan is sufficiently secured, not less than market interest rate pre-outbreak
o The duration of the loan must be as short as possible and cannot exceed 5 years
o No stock buybacks, or dividends through the duration of the loan plus one year
o Borrowers must, until September 30, 2020, maintain its employment levels as of March 24, 2020, to the extent practicable, and retain no less than 90% of its employees as of that date
o Borrowers certify that it is U.S.-domiciled business, employees are predominantly in the U.S.
o The loan cannot be forgiven
o Treasury must receive warrants or equity interests in eligible businesses or senior debt instruments

Treasury-based direct lending must meet the following criteria…

• Provides $454 billion for direct lending, loan guarantees, and investments in support of the Federal Reserve’s 13(3) lending facilities to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities
o Any lending through a 13(3) facility established by the Federal Reserve must be broad-based, with verification participants are solvent and unable to obtain adequate financing elsewhere
o No stock buybacks, or dividends through the duration of the loan plus one year
o Prohibits recipients of any direct lending or Federal Reserve facility recipients from increasing the compensation of any officer or employee whose total compensation exceeds $425,000
o Treasury is tasked with implementing a special 13(3) facility through the Federal Reserve targeted specifically at nonprofit organizations and businesses between 500 and 10,000 employees
o The funds received must be used to retain at least 90% of the recipient’s workforce, with full compensation and benefits, through September 30, 2020
o Recipient will not outsource/offshore jobs for the term of the loan plus an additional two years
o Recipient will not abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements for the term of the loan plus an additional two years
o The recipient must remain neutral in any union organizing effort for the term of the loan

  • Authorizes the FDIC to temporarily establish a debt guarantee program to guarantee debt of solvent insured depositories and depository institution holding companies
  • Establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to audit and investigate loans, loan guarantees, and other investments made by the Treasury Secretary
  • Prohibits any company in which the President, Vice President, an executive department head, Member of Congress or family member to own over 20% of stock from being eligible
  • Establishes a Congressional Oversight Commission charged with oversight these programs
  • Provides grant for employee wages and benefits in the amounts of up to $25 billion for passenger air carriers, up to $4 billion for cargo air carriers, and up to $3 billion for airline contractors
  • Provides for Secretary of Treasury to receive warrants, options, stock and other financial instruments to provide appropriate compensation for the government for the assistance
  • Temporarily repeals federal excise taxes collected in relation to commercial aviation, specifically those applied to the transportation of persons, the transportation of property, and aviation fuel

Business taxes

  • Provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis (up to first $10,000 of compensation per employee)
  • Allows employers, self-employed to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax
  • Relaxes the limitations on a company’s use of net operating losses (NOL) arising in a tax year beginning in 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Temporarily increases the amount of interest expense businesses allowed to deduct by increasing the 30% limitation to 50% of taxable income (with adjustments) for 2019 and 2020
  • Enables businesses to write off immediately costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to depreciate those improvements over the 39-year life of the building Individuals
  • Unemployment insurance
    o Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 for those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, others) who are unable to work as result of coronavirus public health emergency
    o Provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four month
    o Provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020
    o Provides funding to support “short-time compensation” programs (employers reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers, employees receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit)
  • All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married) are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate plus an additional $500 per child
  • Special Rules Related to Retirement Funds

o Waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes made on or after January 1, 2020
o Waives the minimum distribution rules for defined contribution plans and IRAs for 2020

Healthcare

  • Removes various regulatory barriers to the use of telemedicine
  • Temporarily lifts the Medicare sequester, which reduces payments to providers by 2%, from May 1 through December 31, 2020
  • Increases the payment that would otherwise be made to a hospital for treating a patient admitted with COVID-19 by 20%
  • Extends funding for various health plans through November 30, 2020, including delay of disproportionate share hospital (DSH) reductions, community health centers (CHCs)
  • Government spending… hospitals/providers – $100 billion, healthcare preparedness – $32 billion Financials/mortgages
  • Requires the federal banking agencies by interim final rule to temporarily reduce the Community Bank Leverage Ratio for qualifying community banks from 9% to 8%
  • A financial institution may elect to suspend any determination under U.S. GAAP of a loan modified as a result of the effects of the coronavirus as being a troubled debt restructuring
  • An insured depository institution (including credit unions), bank holding company, or any affiliates has the option to temporarily delay implementation of CECL methodology
  • Prohibits foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgage loans for a 60-day period beginning on March 18, 2020 and permits borrowers to request forbearance for up to 180 days
  • Permits borrowers with a federally-backed multifamily mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship due to the coronavirus to request forbearance
  • Prohibits landlords from initiating legal action to recover possession of a rental unit or to penalties for 120 days for properties with federally insured/guaranteed mortgages
  • Requires deferment of student loan payments, principal, and interest for 6 months, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned loans

Labor

  • Limits employer costs for paid leave to no more than $200/day, $10,000 in aggregate per employee
  • Limits employer costs for sick leave to no more than $511/day, $5,110 in the aggregate or more than $200/day, $2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined individual or child for each employee)
  • Allows an employee who was laid off by an employer March 1, 2020, or later to have access to paid family and medical leave in certain instances if they are rehired by the employer
  • Allows employers to receive an advance tax credit from Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end

Other government spending

• Increase government spending on programs in following areas… o Health care (see prior section)… $132 billion
o States/localities – $150 billion
o Education – $31 billion
o Transit – $25 billion
o Food and nutrition service – $25 billion