The Blount Partnership is committed to leading the Blount County business community through this crisis. Be sure to check out our continually updating Managing Your Business during COVID-19 webpage. If you missed a daily update, refer to our listing page .

Please scroll through this email as there is updated information about PPP, self-employed unemployment, hospitality relief, important Town Hall webinar and the Nextdoor app.

Independent contractors--who file their taxes using 1099 forms--have the ability to apply for their own PPP loans beginning April 10.

The distinctions between the different types of enterprises are below.
  • Generally, a small business has 500 employees or fewer, though the standards vary in some industries.
  • sole proprietorship (also called a solopreneur) is essentially a one-person business. 
  • Independent contractors can include doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, and others "who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public," according to the IRS. They file their taxes using 1099 forms, as opposed to employees, which use W-2s.

Your first step in trying to secure a loan should be to check with your current bank or lending institution to see if they're participating in the PPP.

Truist  (Formerly BB&T and SunTrust)

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a copy of the  PPP borrower application form  to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender.

A Video Guide to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

You Can Get Both
Many small business owners do not know they can apply for both an EIDL loan and a PPP loan for the same COVID-19 disaster. There are rules, including the key requirement that you can't use money from both loans for the same thing. For example, if you use the proceeds from a PPP loan for payroll, you can't use an EIDL loan for payroll also.

Before you apply for a PPP loan, you may want to look more  closely at the EIDL program  to see if it might be a better fit or to decide if applying for both loans makes sense in your case.

Download this chart to help clarify differences. We are aware that terms are continuing to change for these programs. NOTE: Local SBDC offices & lenders are working hard to get the most updated guidance from the federal SBA office.

The  Paycheck Protection Program business loans account is a new stimulus package designed to help companies retain workers by covering eight weeks of payroll plus some other costs of remaining in business. This loan is 100% forgivable if you follow forgiveness guidelines.

The  Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is an established program that helps small businesses overcome the loss of revenue during a declared disaster such as a hurricane, major fire, or, in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. This loan includes a $10,000 advance (if you apply) that is automatically forgiven.
Self-employed, gig workers, freelance & contract employees; Jobs4TN has tips to help you navigate the unemployment application process. Click the link below.

If you are self-employed, and already filed a claim, you do not need to file again. Your claim will be processed as soon as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments begin.
The Tennessee Department of Labor has developed a new FAQ page with contact information and resources for employers, employees and those who are self-employed. LEARN MORE .
Tennessee restaurants, catering companies and bars left reeling due to the COVID-19 crisis now have another community-led option for financial relief.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and Tennessee Action for Hospitality announced the creation of "A Fund for Us" on April 3, which will be used to provide grants of up to $1,000 to employees of qualifying businesses. 

CMFT will process individual  applications  for the donation-powered grants starting Monday, April 13. Donations to the fund are now being accepted through the  Tennessee Action for Hospitality website .

To qualify, businesses must:
  • Be in the hospitality industry.
  • Be based in Tennessee, with an operating business license as of March 1.
  • Offer food/beverage experiences with an emphasis on restaurant service.
  • Employ full-time front- and back-of-house workers.
  • Have owners who work full-time for the business or business group.
  • Be independently owned by individuals who "were instrumental in the creation of their business."
  • Not be publicly traded, part of a franchise, or part of a chain.
Once a business has qualified, its employees can apply for grants. Anyone in the independent hospitality industry — including chefs, servers, line cooks, bartenders, dishwashers, managers and caterers — can apply. Employee applicants must:
  • Be currently employed or recently employed by a pre-qualified business for at least six months.
  • Plan on re-entering the hospitality industry after the crisis subsides.
  • Earn at least 80% of their income from hospitality work.
  • Make less than $85,000 per year.

There is no limit on the number of applicants per household. Those who do not receive a grant will be advised on other resources available to them.
The grants are meant to fill the gap for individuals who need more assistance than unemployment can offer, but might not qualify for other programs, according to the release. 
The state of Tennessee is partnering with Nextdoor to provide official, real-time information to the Tennesseans about the state’s response to COVID-19. The partnership will allow the state to reach thousands of neighborhoods with critical information during this unprecedented time. All Tennessee neighbors on Nextdoor will automatically receive messages. If you're not on Nextdoor, but interested in joining your Nextdoor neighborhood, you can visit to download the free app.
Links to past SBA loan, PPP, CARES Acts webinars can be found in our webinar archives .
Today, April 10 at noon ET, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will team up for a third virtual National Small Business Town Hall to help small business owners and sole proprietors alike navigate the programs that are available to them.  

Inc. Editor-At-Large Kimberly Weisul will moderate a discussion with the U.S. Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley to lay out the new guidance for sole proprietors, address the steps all impacted businesses should take to tap into available resources, and discuss the potential for more aid in the future.

A panel of business experts will join them to questions from business owners of all sizes, and to offer counsel to anyone attempting to access the loans the CARES Act provides.
Families can apply online for up to two months of emergency cash assistance if they were employed as of March 11, 2020 and they’ve lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income as a result of the pandemic. This assistance is available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may be receiving.

If you lost or expect to lose your health insurance due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for health insurance through a Special Enrollment Period, and depending on your income, you may qualify for a subsidy to reduce the cost of your health insurance premium.
With the success of our virtual coffee club, the Blount Chamber is hosting virtual afternoon mixer on Tuesday, April 14 at 3:30 p.m.

For those who have never participated in an online meeting, here's some useful tips.
  • Please include your name and company name
  • Use the option to meet others in a small group setting by participating in our breakout rooms
  • Limited to 100 guests

Housekeeping Items:
  • Keep microphone muted when you aren’t speaking
  • Raise your hand (virtually) for a turn
  • Chat is available for questions
  • Look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the screen 
Join Our Webinar Powered by Zoom Meeting

Attendees are asked to register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Our Impactful Storytelling session scheduled for April 16 is still on, and now it's virtual. It's also been tweaked to address the unique challenges of engaging virtually.

Recent events have pushed many into the virtual world; some of us are now there almost exclusively. As you’ve likely noticed, engaging in the virtual world is different. It isn’t necessarily worse, and can be better, but it’s definitely different.

In “Engaging Virtually” you’ll learn how to thrive and shine in the virtual world. We’ll discuss the three things you have to work with when virtual: environment, technology and yourself. Failing to make the most of all three can result in looking unprofessional and not getting desired results.

The Federal CARES Act provides additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to
Tennesseans impacted COVID-19.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides 39 weeks of eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for Ul benefits. (Self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors)

This Pandemic Unemployment Compensation included an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all Ul recipients; and provides an additional
13 weeks of UI benefits.

To apply for PUA, claimants will need to file an application on or call (844) 224-5818. Filing online is the fastest, most efficient way to receive your benefits. Due to high call volume, you will experience extended wait times when applying by phone.

This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.

Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan.
The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
We have compiled quick reference sheets for these SBA Loan options.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development released a  website   with guidance for employers and employees affected by to COVID-19. The department has provided resources for mass layoff and unemployment claim information.

These PDFs below provide step-by-step instructions for employers and employees regarding layoffs and unemployment benefits to expedite payment to employees.

Knowing the basics of unemployment benefits before you apply will save time and allow you to concentrate on looking for a great new job. 

TNECD is hosting a daily webinar for SBA-loan related inquiries, Monday through Friday. Note: Links refresh daily. Check back – log in information is available immediately before the call. The afternoon calls are from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT and will exclusively assist Tennessee businesses with COVID-19 disaster loans inquiries.

April 14 at 2 p.m. - TN Business Response Conference
Updates on labor, federal & state issues and the latest on SBA programs.
If you have questions about any business related topic about the COVID-19 crisis, please refer to our Managing Your Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak page that is updated daily. There's good information that can point you in the right direction.

Also take advantage of our member-to-member offers at the bottom of this email and online . There are a number of resources that you may find beneficial.
Please do the following for both jobs and food groups:
(1) JOIN as your business page AND as an individual.
(2) SHARE with other businesses and individuals so they can join (membership is NOT required to join or post for this group!)
(3) POST your business' NEW or existing take-out/delivery services, menu specials, precautions you are taking for the safety of customers, etc.

We continue to add to the number of available jobs, so please share and post to this public Facebook group . This page was established to assist those looking to hire with an additional outlet.

If your company expects or is experiencing layoffs or work furloughs, or needs employees to fill open positions, please email Jessica Belitz at or call 865.273.1214.
We've also created a public Facebook group page . The goal is to offer another way for area restaurants and service providers to promote their menus, takeout & delivery specials and ANY other information they'd like to share with the public.

Help us help and support our businesses when they need us most. Click the link below to view or offer a product or service to assist the public or business community.

Listed below are resources offered by our Blount Chamber members that may be beneficial during these trying times. Please review and share with another business operator if you think it may be helpful.

Send us your resources and we'll continue to communicate those out to our membership.
  • Buy gift cards
  • Order carry-out OR delivery
  • Engage with them and review them positively on social media or the web
  • Order an item and ask for it to be held until you can pick it up
  • Tip generously if you can
  • Check on owners and staff; ask what you can do, if only to listen
Vistage  — Free public  Coronavirus Resource Center  - a public, one-stop shop to help business leaders better lead themselves and others during these challenging times.
Also from Vistage, "The Situation Room" — a twice-weekly informal, live virtual forum for greater Knoxville area business owners, CEOs, and senior executives. Its purpose: To help owners and senior leaders from all industries to stay connected, compare notes, ask questions, share learnings, confront reality, and otherwise get help and perspective from similarly situated peers. Mondays and Thursdays at 11:30a ET, usually an hour or less, depending on number of attendees. Free. Sign-up is required (to avoid Zoom-bombing), contact Vistage Chair  Kurt Greene

Blount County Library -- Click the link to the left and see that t he BCPL offers plenty of reading materials through its Tennessee READS resource which provides digital access to both audiobooks and e-books for children and adults. It also offers many online resources for businesses.

AT&T -- AT&T will waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic. These fees will be retroactively waived, dating back to March 13. We will not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. See expansion of our low cost home broadband service. 

Spectrum Enterprise -- Offering existing fiber clients the ability to upgrade their current bandwidth on a month to month basis, as many companies will need increased speeds to allow employees to work from home or to host video conferencing.

Cell Phone Repair (CPR) -- Offering free pick up and delivery repair service on your laptops, tablets and mobile devices. Device will be disinfected upon return.

WVLT-TV -- Offering TV advertising and digital services like SEO, SEM, targeted video and display and OTT. Willing to match in value for new advertisers schedule to get the word out for “we are open,” “we are hiring,” etc. Contact Allen Koch .

Gallaher & Assoc . -- proactive in research, outbreak response planning, communications with our employees and customers.  The resources we've have assembled may not fit for everyone, but I am pleased to share with all to assist in any way other businesses and employers in the area.   Download here .

Blount County Eye Center -- Offering doctors to everyone in the community for all eye-related issues and questions. Our doctors are on call 24/7 to triage any needs regardless of if you are a current patient or not, insurance or ability to pay. We're able to help with contact lens supplies, broken glasses and telemedicine options. 

Creekside Cyber Systems -- Offering 19% off of many services for all who need assistance with IT until April 30. Mention the promo code COVID2020 when you speak to a representative at 865.217.6073 .

SCHAS -- SCHAS has created the S.O.S Program to provide grocery delivery services to those who have compromised immune systems or are age 62 or older.

Resilient Pathway -- Offering free online classes, prayer in the virtual vertical gardens, and an open space for all healthcare providers to reflect and be heard.

Epic Nine -- Free virtual (phone or video conferencing) one hour BaseCamp consultation to help businesses identify and implement marketing strategy.

Express Strategic Services -- Information regarding online presence, website refresh, employee communication, disaster planning. Free 1 hour strategy business/marketing session (done by phone or video conferencing).

Reinhart Food Service -- If your restaurant isn’t taking online orders, here’s a great resource that can answer questions and get you started on the path to offering your customers another outlet to connect with you.

Additionally, Reinhart Food Service has available disposables for To-Go / Takeout needs.

Airport Hilton -- Working from home not going as planned or just need a quite space to get work done? The Hilton Knoxville Airport is offering a special Home Office Package during this time where seclusion is key. Please contact the hotel's Sales and Catering Department to inquire. 865-970-4300 option 2.

Luxbury Inn -- Do you or a family member need a quiet space? Let Luxbury Inn help with suites offering spacious lodging space that are complete with full size appliances and strong Wi-Fi.

Pest-OPS : Let us help manage mosquitoes for $45/month. We can also take care of your spiders, carpenter bees and wasps at your home and business. Please give Jeff Haun a call at 865-567-7665.

Ullrich Print Plus -- Offering 20% discount on all in-house printed materials including print, copy and sign services. All promotional products are a 10% discount. These offers are good for Blount County businesses. We also have access to certified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Moving to Blount County in May. 3211 Regal Drive Unit B Alcoa TN 37701

Restoration 1 -- COVID-19 Emergency Disinfection available 24/7. Providing disinfecting services for retail businesses that have a confirmed or unconfirmed Covid 19 exposure. Our prices are $0.55 a square foot for most places.

SERVPRO -- Trained to adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitization standards set forth by the CDC. Call 865-982-2332 or email

PCS, Inc – We can help your organization with secure remote control of office PCs, secure VPN access, remote monitoring and maintenance, or fully managed worry-free IT support. Give us a call at 865-273-1960 or email .

Allevia Technology -- Produced a video highlighting .four essentials to successfully work from home

Epic Nine -- Keep Your Pants On! How to work remotely and succeed. Learn how using valuable apps can help your team remain connected and productive while working remotely .

Gallaher -- Gallaher is here to assist you with your remote working needs. We offer remote telephony options as well as ways to monitor your business while you are away. Call 865-970-2471 for more information.

C-Spire -- Make your business remote-work ready. Equip your team to work from home or on the go with powerful resources like Office 365 and UC-One from C Spire Business - perfect for business of all sizes.

BigWheel -- Your website and social media presence are more important than ever. With so many people stuck at home, your social media and website are more important than ever. BigWheel can help you get in front of new customers, keep current clients engaged, and drive sales online. Get a free SEO audit and digital marketing plan.

Tip Signs -- Your Local Sign Company is offering 20% off Yard Signs & Banners related to communicating your COVID19 policy to your employees & customers. Also, 10% off all orders with in stock materials.

FASTSIGNS -- Offering 20% off several of its signage and banner products to help you communicate whatever you need to employees or clients. Call (865) 558-0180.

GemCare -- Gem Care is helping to connect people who have been recently laid off with companies that are experiencing an increase in worker demand. Call us at 865-560-9891 or visit our website

If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.

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