Arlington, VA

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, BizLaunch

While we are experiencing unprecedented times, it’s important to know we are in this together and we will overcome this as a community.

In challenging times, small business owners wear many hats and keep changing hats as they work to retain their staff and fight the effects of COVID-19. Today Governor Northam’s executive order goes into effect limiting gatherings to less than 10, closure of dining areas such as restaurants (restaurants may still offer takeout and delivery) and closure of public access to recreational facilities such as theaters, fitness centers and more. It truly is an unprecedented day.

Representing almost a quarter of all employment (47,834 jobs) in Arlington County, small businesses have always served as an integral component of the local economy encompassing 92% of all business establishments. Not surprisingly to what we have encountered, many of the early responses to Arlington Economic Development’s recent business survey indicated small businesses are feeling the pain.

If you haven’t yet, please take AED’s COVID-19 business survey. For the small businesses wearing more hats, here are five tools to survive a pandemic:

  1. New Grant Opportunity — Arlington/Alexandria Layoff Aversion Program: Layoff aversion funds can be utilized to help maintain business operations. Such examples include cleaning/sanitation service, purchase of software or remote access supplies such as laptops, or the purchase of an online sales platform. Applications are accepted through March 27 at 5 p.m. with award notifications on March 30. For more information or to apply visit the Alexandria/Arlington Workforce Council or join our webinar on Thursday with the SBA and the workforce council.
  2. SBA Disaster Assistance: Arlington businesses can apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans in which qualified borrowers can receive up to $2 million for working capital. In addition, SBA is implementing automatic deferment on existing SBA Disaster Loans through end of 2020. To help businesses in applying for loans, BizLaunch in partnership with the SBA for an online webinar on Thursday to provide businesses a forum to ask questions and learn what documents are required.
  3. Unemployment Insurance: For businesses who have had to lay employees off because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Northam has directed that the one week waiting period to receive benefits be suspended. For detailed instructions on how to apply for unemployment benefits visit the Virginia Employment Commission or join us on Thursday to hear from the Arlington Employment Center and the SBA.
  4. BizLaunch Resources: We’ve been curating and providing resources to help businesses on our website to provide you with easy access to information as well as information on the virus.
  5. Webinars: All of our webinars including those on emergency management and our most recent on maintaining sales during a pandemic are available online and can be used to reference. New topics will be announced in the coming days.

Most importantly the BizLaunch team is here for you. We’re taking appointments by Microsoft Teams or over the phone, and we are here to answer your questions or to provide you with the tools you need to support your business during these challenging times.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive information about upcoming topics and information about additional resources. We look forward in seeing everybody safe and healthy soon; however, in the meantime, please stay in touch with us and let us know how you and your business are coping during these unprecedented times.

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