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 .

In today's email there is information about:
  • Gov. Lee extends franchise & excise tax deadlines to July 15
  • GSM Park announces closure through April 6
  • Join our Facebook groups for jobs and food service
  • Browse our resources for unemployment and layoffs
  • Three new member to member resources
GOV. EXTENDS TAX DEADLINES
Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order 19 , amending Executive Order 15, related to commercial vehicle operations, drivers licenses, and Real ID requirements.
 
Additionally, Governor Lee announced the following during his COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday:
 
  • The State of Tennessee Franchise & Excise (F&E) Tax filing deadline is extended to July 15. Here are the guidelines.
  • The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance is working on policies to prevent cancelation of insurance policies for non-payment.
  • The state is asking utilities to not terminate services for non-payment during the state of emergency.
  • The governor is asking schools to remain closed through April 24.
  • State workers will continue to work from home through April 24.
  • The deadline for implementation of Real ID is being extended by the federal government.
  • The Tennessee Department of Safety will not issue Real ID until May 18.
GSM PARK CLOSED THROUGH APRIL 6
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that all park areas, except the Foothills Parkway and the Spur, are closed through Monday, April 6, in a continuing effort to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The park will continue to assess changing conditions in our region and work with local communities to extend or terminate closures, as appropriate to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, partners, and local residents.
 
All access to the park, including trails and roads, will temporarily close in alignment with efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 across the region. 

During the closure period, visitors can experience the park using digital tools including our social media platforms and website where near real-time views can be seen via park webcams . Park rangers can still help answer questions via email or phone during business hours at (865) 436-1291 or email .
SBA LOANS FOR BIZ & NONPROFITS
Please file for an SBA loan as soon as possible.
Blount County small businesses and nonprofits are officially eligible for disaster assistance from the Small Business Administration .
 
Small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered economic injury as a result of COVID-19 can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per applicant to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have otherwise been met.
 
The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are administered and processed through the SBA. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at  sba.gov/disaster .
 
Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov  for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
 
Interest rates for the loans are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit organizations. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable or other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact.
 
Below are helpful links regarding loan application process.
FACEBOOK GROUPS YOU NEED TO JOIN
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 jbelitz@blountpartnership.com 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.

MEMBER TO MEMBER RESOURCES
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.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT BUSINESSES?
  • 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
Today's new resources
STAFFING
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

SEO & DIGITAL MARKETING
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. 

WORK 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.
BLOUNT COUNTY LIBRARY ONLINE RESOURCES
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.

COMMUNICATIONS
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 th . 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.

DEVICE REPAIR
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.

IT SERVICES
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 .

GROCERY DELIVERY FOR IMMUNE DEFICIENT & SENIORS
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.

MARKETING & HR
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).

ONLINE ORDERING
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.

PERSONAL MEETING SPACE
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.

PEST MANGEMENT
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.

PROFESSIONAL CLEANING
SERVPRO -- Trained to adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitization standards set forth by the CDC. Call 865-982-2332 or email office@servproblountcounty.com

REMOTE WORKFORCE
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 .

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.




SIGNAGE
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.