COVID-19 Business Information & Resources
T his email is meant to share updates with our downtown and partnered businesses.
We are here to help - If you have questions or need help getting word to your customers/community let us know. We will use social media and other means to help you share news and updates.

Please send details or links to the items you want shared by email or Facebook Message and
Or call 402-223-3244

We have been working to share business posts on Facebook
Let us know if you have a post we can share.
Weekly Virtual Coffee Calls - Wednesday
The Beatrice Chamber, Main Street Beatrice, and NGage are here to serve you -  always -  but certainly during this time. We want to connect with you virtually in a new weekly series we're calling "Gage County Watercooler Talk". Join us on Facebook live every Wednesday, at 10:00am, where we'll give you an update and provide tips for our business community. We will also answer your questions. Check the NGage , Beatrice Chamber , or Main Street Facebook pages for details.

Don't want to join us via Facebook? You can join us online or by phone through Zoom by clicking this link:
    Password: 774565
Join by phone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        +1 669 900 6833 or +1 346 248 7799
    Webinar ID: 974 107 983
    Password: 774565
Round Two: Business Impact of COVID-19, Gage County, Nebraska, April 14 - 22, 2020
Ends at Noon TODAY (Wednesday)

Gage County business community,

Local data is critically important in telling the collective story of the COVID-19 virus impact on our business community. Last month, 63 Gage County businesses responded to Round One of the Business Impact Survey and provided critical information on the pandemic's effect on business.

But that was last month. We know things are changing daily, and we want to check in again to see where the needs of our business community lie.

We've streamlined the survey and we're asking for your help. If you're a business owner or manager, an HR manager or similar, we would value your input on how COVID-19 is affecting your business. As always, your responses are confidential.

We're here for you. We're all in this together.

Gage Area Growth Enterprise (NGage)
Main Street Beatrice
Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce

Gage County has confirmed cases of COVID-19
As cases of Covid-19 in Gage County have been determined to be cases of "Community Transmission" our region and all of Nebraska has been placed under a State Directed Health Measure. Most known cases in the county are located in the Adams area and are connected to the senior care facility but the virus is also present in Beatrice. Take extra precautions.

State and Local Officials Say Now is the Time to Double Down on Safety Precautions

With Nebraska entering a higher level of infection between now and early May State and Local Officials are asking area residents to take added safety precautions to ensure Nebraska sees a peak and can then begin to take steps toward recovery. This is the time to take extra precautions.

Nebraska - Updates from the Governor
Thursday, April 23 at 8:30pm CT - Speaking of Nebraska live one-hour Nebraska town hall session, on NET Television and  NET Radio 91.1 FM  and live on Facebook via NET Nebraska.

Questions will be answered by Gov. Rickett and other Nebraska officals.

Weekdays at 2:00pm (typically) the Governor provides an update on the state's  #COVID19  response. The live steam can be found on social media via sources like News Channel Nebraska, NET, and 10/11 News.

Gov. Ricketts Launches #TestNebraskaChallenge, Rolls Out Plan to Expand COVID-19 Testing
Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new plan to scale up Nebraska’s capability to test for COVID-19. The State is launching a public-private partnership to significantly expand testing in Nebraska over the next several weeks. The program will enlist Nebraskans to take an assessment, get tested, and track their health.

Governor Pete Ricketts announced the State’s first step to relax the health measures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. Starting on May 4th, elective surgeries may resume as long as hospitals and healthcare facilities meet requirements for available bed capacity and have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
*** Federal Stimulus Relief
for Small Businesses ***
> On Hold Pending Additional Funding <
Major Federal Assistance Programs have run out of funding and have temporarily had to stop taking applications.

Congress anticipates that additional funding will be available by next week.

Nebraska currently leads the nation for percentage of Small Business that have already gained access to these programs. A special thanks to our local banks for making our businesses your top priority.

Keep in mind that once these programs resume the Direct SBA Programs are taking 3-4 weeks to be processed and the programs through local banks are taking 2 weeks or less on average.
Business Resources
Temporarily On Hold Pending New Funding
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers guidance for businesses and employers to plan for and respond to Coronavirus disruptions, for general information please visit: The SBA is now offering two primary assistance tools The Paycheck Protection Program known as PPP (through local banks) and through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program that provides small businesses with working capital loans and a $10,000 forgivable advance (now potentially limited to $1,000 per employee). These tools are to provide vital economic support to small businesses to help avoid closure and keep employees or rehire employees. The programs are open to non-profit organizations, sole-proprietors, contract workers, and all traditional small businesses.

Guide to all available SBA Covid-19 Small Business Funding Resources can be found here - This includes the PPP, EIDL, Express Bridge Loans, Debt Relief Programs

> Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
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 PPP loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
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.

Local Lenders have begun processing loan applications. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020 assuming new funds arrive. You can still ask for the application paperwork.

> Forgivable $10,000 Advance Payments are now available
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all states are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.
This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Take extra care when using both the $10,000 advance and the PPP program, be sure to be keeping good records of our eligible expenses and create a plan with your local lender.

The forgivable cash advance is applied for online with the SBA
You are given the option of turning down the loan (if approved) and just taking the 10,000 cash advance.
Even if you are not accepted for a loan you get to keep the $10,000 cash advance.

Points of Clarity:
* Sole Proprietors and Contract Employees may apply
* A business can apply for both programs - please note that if you apply for both you can not use the forgivable dollars for the same expenses and will need to be able to clearly show your expenses. Local Banks can help you make this determination.
* Very small businesses with limited payroll expenses may be best served by the EIDL program, for most employers the Paycheck Protection Program looks to offer the best assistance but both should be considered.
* These programs are taking weeks not days to get you funds, if you need emergency money now apply today but also talk to your bank about short term financial assistance.

Non-Profits Specific Information:

  • If you have not already done so - be sure to communicate with your lender about any difficulties you are having or expect to have - Many banks are extending lines of credit and providing other assistance in this difficult time. Do not be afraid to seek help!
Unemployment Resources
Gov. Ricketts has issued an Executive Order to Loosen Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Requirements.

 The Nebraska Department of Labor is waiving the required work search requirement and the one week wait period for unemployment benefits for those who are unable to report to work due to closure or illness. The employer fee for the short-term benefits is also waived. In addition, the State has expanded their Short-Time Compensation program to help reduce or prevent layoffs by providing prorated unemployment benefits to those still working but who have had their hours reduced.

More information can be accessed on the Department of Labor’s website at: 

If you are needing to temporary lay-off your employees these resources are for you.
Don't Be Afraid to Call and Ask Questions to ensure you get the paperwork done right.

New Federal guidelines have added additional unemployment assistance that included the self employed, contract workers, gig workers, and others. The State of Nebraska should now be processing self employed applications. This new program is called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Unemployment insurance does not cover those who quit their jobs.

There are new emergency rules regarding Sick Leave and Family Leave and Medical Act
Additional Business Resources
Production Creek - A downtown Beatrice shop that specializes in screen-printing, embroidery, and promotional materials has a t-shirt fundraiser campaign taking place now. Businesses can have a t-shirt made for their business and that business keeps the proceeds from the t-shirt sales. Win-Win Learn More by visiting their Support Local Website

Small Business Relief Initiative - GoFundMe : GoFundMe has partnered with Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks to create a Small Business Relief Fund to help small businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these three companies has contributed $500,000 to the Fund, and it's receiving additional donations from the public. The fund will provide $500 grants to any small business that raises $500 on GoFundMe.

Local, State and Federal disaster relief resources and information.

Center for Rural Affairs / REAP - emergency credit available — They have implemented an Express Loan based largely on credit history and pre-COVID-19 income that offers expedited funding of up to $7,500 for new borrowers and up to $10,000 for return borrowers with strong payment histories. Center for Rural Affairs Emergency Loan Assistance Information
Southeast Nebraska point of contact is Craig Eberle - 402-736-4417 -

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help
U SDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the full announcement to learn more about the opportunities USDA Rural Development is implementing to provide immediate relief.

Local Banks and the City of Beatrice have loan tools and deferment plans that may be able to help you if the need arises, do not hesitate to reach out.

The U.S. Chamber is working to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides extensive information and updates on  how to prevent community spread.  Below is specific guidance for community organizations, businesses, and event planners. 

City of Beatrice offers utility relief measures
The City of Beatrice suspended late fees and disconnections for non payment through May 31 2020. Please contact the Board of Public Works to inform them if you plan to delay your payment, they may be able to help you make additional arrangements, so that you do not get further behind.

Tips for Businesses 
✓ If your business is staying open, publish a commitment to public health and outline actions for ensuring a clean facility and healthy staff; have hand sanitizer available for customers and latex gloves available for employees.

✓ Offer digital gift cards that customers and patrons can buy now and use later

✓ Start, maintain, and enhance business webpages, online shopping opportunities, and social media presence

Keep customers updated on new experiences or products you'll offer when conditions improve

✓ Develop customer membership programs, such as “subscribe and save” on delivery or pickup of coffee beans, fresh produce, etc.

✓ Develop online/phone shopping list services. For example, many grocery stores offer grocery pickup or delivery to customers who submit shopping lists online.

✓ Offer digital/phone services and support to virtually sell, answer questions, and provide customer service

✓ Keep it lively! Example: Offer trivia nights via livestream and provide virtual tours of your shop - A lot of people are spending extra time on their phones and on social media, use this chance to create a positive marketing experience and opportunity. It can pay off after these challenges pass

✓ Be sure to keep open communication with your lenders, landlord, suppliers, etc. Most are willing to be flexible as we are are dealing with this crisis. Reach Out and Talk.

If you have the capacity to do so now is a great time to have employees take on new roles such as delivery drivers or tackle refresh projects at your businesses. If you can, get creative and take steps to keep your business open, your employees in a job, and most of all keep your team and customers safe.
Other News Links

Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days & Nebraska delays Sate Tax deadline, extended to July 15th - You may need to request the extensions directly from the IRS and Nebraska Department of Revenue, don't assume you have the extension.

Projections for Nebraska To Begin to Reopen And See A Taste of Normalcy
10/11 News Reports that a leading model now projects Nebraska to hit its peak number of Covid-19 cases around May 1st. The point at which a step toward normalcy might be reached is around the 4th of July weekend. This will still require significant testing and social distancing practices and assumes community members will continue current safety measures until the worst of the danger has passed.
Covid 19 FREE Business Webinars

BCOM in Auburn is offering a weekly webinar series for Small Businesses
The coronavirus has forced companies, causes and campaigns to reevaluate their plans for the foreseeable future. BCom is assisting rural companies and small businesses around the country to help understand the best strategies for preparing for what could be months of this type of "working setup." Specifically, we'll dig into:
- Ways to "stay open" even if your physical doors are closed
- Proper communication strategies to your customers and stakeholders
- Best practices for e-commerce and online retail (even if you don't have something setup now!)
Click below to access the invitation and registration. Please share with friends:
Every Tuesday at 12 noon CT.  Register here.

There are many good resources out there to help answer your questions and help you navigate this challenging time, don't give up. Take Action for your business.
We continue to promote Shop Local Safely
If you have a social media post or message you would like us to help share please contact us.
Community Events
The community has been launching several events that aim to safely get residents out of their homes. Some of these events encourage them to support local in ways they deem safe.

Nebraska has declared every Tuesday to be Takeout Tuesday in an effort to support local food and drink establishments.

Downtown Restaurants - We have sent you an invitation to co-host this event on Facebook
The City of Beatrice & Beatrice Community Hospital are posting regular updates.

Community Partners
We have been working closely with our community partners, if you have a request of us please ask.

Main Street Beatrice | Website | 402-223-3244 |
205 N 4th Street / P.O. Box 125 Beatrice, NE 68310