COVID-19 Updates, Resources for AR Small Businesses

Date: May 15, 2020

Business grant funding will be released soon
The State of Arkansas will release $124.5 million in grant funds in the coming weeks. This money is to help businesses buy masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, and other items to help keep customers and employees safe from Covid-19.

NFIB worked with Governor Hutchinson and the Legislature to ensure that small businesses received a fair share of these important funds. Seventy-five percent of the money will go to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Businesses will get half of the grant amount upfront. The rest will be released once the owner provides receipts and other records proving the initial funds were spent according to the rules.

Applications will be denied if the business or owner owes state taxes. If your application is approved, the commission will contact you soon. Click here to learn more about the grant program.

 
 
Apply May 5 for grant to protect employees from COVID-19
Arkansas has created a $55 million free grant program to help you get through the Covid-19 pandemic. These funds are for personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, deep cleaning, and other expenses related to protecting employees from the COVID-19 virus.
 
The grants are for $1,000 per employee, a maximum of 100 employees.
 
Officials will begin accepting applications and awarding grants. The funds will be given out beginning May 4 on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
Here is the link to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s website. Right now, the website says the funds are unavailable, but a link will be posted early on Tuesday, May 5.
 
The program was to begin last Thursday, but it was accidentally launched a day early, and the initial $15 million in funding was distributed in under one hour.
 
The Legislature just approved an additional $40 million in grant money, bringing the total available to $55 million. However, most of that money has already been set aside for owners who applied last week, leaving about $19 million for businesses that apply tomorrow and Wednesday.
 
The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive a grant.
NFIB state director named to re-opening task force

NFIB State Director Sylvester Smith has been named to Governor Hutchinson’s Economic Recovery Task Force. It includes 27 leaders from the private sector and public agencies who will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and industries in Arkansas and recommend a strategy to re-open the economy. Governor Hutchinson tentatively set May 4 as the date he hopes to begin to ease restrictions in Arkansas. Learn more here.

Quick Action Loans for small businesses

Governor Hutchinson has set aside $4,000,000 of his discretionary funds for Quick Action Loans. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also provided $3,000,000 for the program. The program has two types of funding: direct loans and loan guarantees. 

Learn more at www.arkansasedc.com/covid19

Unemployment assistance

For those of you making the difficult choice to lay off workers, you may want to consider the state’s Shared Work Program. This program allows you to cut your employees’ hours rather than lay them off completely.

The employee is able to keep working while receiving unemployment assistance to help with some of their lost wages. This saves you from having to recruit and train new workers when your business does turn around. Click here to learn more.

Traditional unemployment

The state is expediting unemployment benefits for employees who are laid of due to Covid-19. The entire process can be handled over the phone. You can have them apply by clicking here

Price gouging

The Arkansas attorney general is already investigating allegations of price gouging in Arkansas.

Price gouging is considered raising prices by more than 10% of the full retail price during a disaster. The Attorney General can fine violators up to $10,000.00 per violation. It is important to remember that the prohibition applies to both businesses and individuals. Learn more about state price-gouging laws here.

Relief for businesses, child-care providers 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Wednesday, March 18, that Arkansas will tap Community Development Block Grant funds and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the news release.

State information

The State of Arkansas has created a special website with links to the latest information about the novel coronavirus. Click here to visit the website.

National information

As small businesses grapple with the coronavirus, NFIB is dedicated to being their voice. We are continuing to track the latest from healthcare officials and congress. Click here for the latest information.

Related Content: News | State | Arkansas | CoronaVirus State

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