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 .
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
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 jobs4TN.gov 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.


Who is eligible for PUA?
Individuals are eligible for PUA if they do not qualify for regular Ul benefits (including self-employed workers and independent contractors) and cannot work because they:

  • Are diagnosed COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking diagnosis;
  • Have a member of the household who is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed, due to COVID-19;
  • Are unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine, or because advised by medical provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19;
  • Were scheduled to start new employment and cannot reach the workplace as direct result of COVID-19;
  • Became the major breadwinner because the head of household died from COVID-19;
  • Quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Had their place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19; or
  • Meet any additional criteria specified by U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Individuals are not eligible for PUA if they can telework or are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).
TREASURE DEPT ISSUES GUIDANCE ON PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
There were a couple of the PPP links related to the application form that were broken in Monday's email. They are fixed below.
Assistance for American Workers and Families

In the weeks immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, Americans will see fast and direct relief in the form of Economic Impact Payments. For more information, CLICK HERE .
 
Assistance for Small Businesses

T he Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders. 

SBA FUNDING OPTIONS
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.
UNEMPLOYMENT / LAYOFF PROCEDURES
SHARE WITH EMPLOYEES
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. 


WE MISS YOU
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.
ENGAGING VIRTUALLY
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.

Choose between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Please register in advance for this webinar.
OTHER USEFUL WEBINARS
These and other past webinars can be found on in our webinar archives .
DAILY SBA LOAN INFORMATION SESSION
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.

CARES ACT UNEMPLOYMENT EXPANSION
FREE webinar at Noon ET on April 8.
The CARES Act has provided funding for an exponential expansion of unemployment benefits for employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar will address what employers need to know about the expanded benefits and answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the unemployment expansion provisions of the CARES Act. The webinar also will cover how companies can analyze the impact of the additional unemployment benefits on their workforce in order to make the best decisions related to terminations and layoffs.

Register here- https:// bit.ly/3edNrN0
UNDERSTANDING THE CARES ACT
LBMC is hosting two webinars entitled "The CARES Act - What You Need to Know" on April 9 at 3:30 p.m. Join Justin Follis as he provides initial insights into the impact of the stimulus bill and how your business can benefit. This is a complimentary, educational webinar* for LBMC clients.

Topics Include:
- Understanding the key provisions of the CARES Act
- Maximizing the cash savings benefits of tax planning from the CARES Act

DISASTER LOAN WEBINAR
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a Disaster Loan Webinar for business owners on April 9 from 4-5 p.m. This event is FREE to attend however, pre-registration is REQUIRED.


WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
-Small business owners (sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs LLPs, S-Corps, or Corporations) who are thinking about applying now or later
-Small business owners who have started their application, but have not finished - because they have questions or they lack proper documentation
MARKETING IN UNCERTAINTY
April 9 at 10 a.m. is "Marketing in Uncertainty" presented by  Epic Nine
Join us to learn how to make a new route to conquer your goals or to simply get over this new mountain.
 
UPCOMING TN CHAMBER WEBINAR
April 14 at 2 p.m. - TN Business Response Conference
Updates on labor, federal & state issues and the latest on SBA programs.
PREVIOUS CHAMBER WEBINARS
View the April 2 webinar entitled "Making Sense of the Morass: The Impact of Workplace Laws New and Old During The Pandemic" presented by Howard Jackson and Ed Trent of Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves & Jones, PLLC
View the April 3 webinar entitled " Understanding the SBA Loan Process and the Major Business and Tax Provisions of the CARES Act" presented by Chris Trump of Egerton, McAfee Armistead & Davis, P.C.
View the April 6 webinar entitled " PPP Loan: Applying, Spending, Record-keeping, and not Being Bitten. " presented by Tab Burkhalter of the The Burkhalter Group .
View the April 3 webinar presented by t he U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Inc .. A National Small Business Town Hall discussed the CARES Act and how to access small business loans from the SBA. 
REVIEW OUR BUSINESS RESOURCES
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.
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
BUSINESS/LEADERSHIP ADVISORY
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 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. 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.

DIGITAL SERVICES & ADVERTISING
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 .

EMPLOYER - EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS
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 .

EYE CARE
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. 

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.

HEALTH AND LIFE BETTERMENT
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.

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.

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 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.

PRINTING
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

PROFESSIONAL CLEANING
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 office@servproblountcounty.com

REMOTE WORKFORCE
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 sales@pcsknox.com .

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.




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.

SIGNAGE
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.

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


FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
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.


And follow tourism updates here:
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