Updated August 2021

Supporting our local businesses community is something that each of us can do right now. This page is full of resources, contacts and key information. Quick links to information in this document are listed below.

For the most recent CDC recommendations please visit their website, here.

For the most recent updates on vaccinations in Transylvania County, visit Transylvania County Health’s website, here.


2021 Event Updates

For many years, Halloweenfest has been one of our community’s most anticipated and beloved events. Last year we were forced by the pandemic to cancel all major downtown events. Our special events require months of planning to ensure a fun and successful event for all and we have been planning since the spring to bring Halloweenfest once again to downtown.

With the health and safety of our community as our highest priority, we will continue to monitor the recent surge in the Delta Variant, determine the best strategies moving forward in light of this ever-changing situation, and make any warranted changes or cancellations to ensure the safety of our community.

 Safety FAQs

The most important thing that any of us can do is to take care of ourselves and our families. Please stay home if you are not feeling well. If you do have to go out, please maintain good hygiene practices and social distancing recommendations. The CDC’s website is an excellent resource. You can also read more about COVID-19 on Transylvania County’s Health and Human Services website.

Business Resources

Below are suggestions from the Blue Ridge Small Business Center:

Encourage employees who think they might be sick to stay home. Employees who have respiratory illness symptoms should not return to work until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours. Don’t require a doctor’s note for employee absence; healthcare providers and medical facilities will probably become busier in the coming weeks, and unable to produce documentation.

Maintain flexible policies. Employees may need to work from home more than usual to take care of kids and family members in addition to their own health needs.

Regularly sanitize the workplace. Focus on bathrooms, door handles, keyboards and mice, etc. Provide tissues and no-touch receptacles for employees, and make sure hand sanitizer is readily available in the office.

Keep Cash Flowing: Encourage customers to purchase gift cards or future services from yours and other’s small businesses to keep cash flowing in your local economy. Find ways to preserve on-hand cash to weather lean months in the near future; consider suspending expansion initiatives or larger investments until markets stabilize

Start a conversation with your bank: Early communication with your lender can present financing opportunities now, that can be taken advantage of later. Lines of Credit, SBA Disaster Assistance Loans, etc. can all be considerations. More information below.

Communication: Customers & employees will likely be exposed to conflicting information and feel anxious or confused. Be sure to communicate safety and general policies promptly, clearly, and in a balanced manner. Furthermore, communicate contextual information and the reasoning behind policies to deepen understanding and operational direction.

Inventory Management Practices: Evaluate your inventory to determine which products can be quickly turned over. Smaller margins may be more important in the short term in order to keep cash moving; this evaluation takes careful planning to not disadvantage your long term profit.

Re-Evaluate Your Break-Even: Markets have shifted, demand has shifted similarly. Review to better gauge inventory and financing requirements.

The CDC has created an Interim Guide for small businesses and employers with more detailed recommendations for how to prepare your workplace and formulate a plan for a potential local outbreak.

Below is also a listing of helpful links for businesses and non-profits:

Small Business Administration Loan Information 

below from Sandra Dennison, SBTDC

Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for recovery funding. The SBA is offering designated states and territories up to $2 million in low-interest Disaster Relief Loans to help businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. According to the loan terms, the money can be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills businesses may be struggling to pay because of the virus’ impact. The interest rate varies depending on credit score and nonprofit status. The SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with state Governors to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.

The SBTDC is working with AB Tech’s Small Business Center, The Western Women’s Business Center, Mountain BizWorks, and many others to get our local businesses prepared to send these loan applications in. Below are the forms and information that the SBA will be looking for to make their decision. Sandra advises that all businesses work with a local business resource provider to make sure a complete application is submitted. As you can imagine the SBA is going to be flooded with requests and if an incomplete application is submitted, it could be rejected. Additionally, business owners should inquire with their primary bank 1st to begin restructuring their current loans as well as having conversations with their landlord about potential rent deferment if necessary. The SBTDC as well as the providers above can also help get financial packages assembled for local lenders as well.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

Gather the following information:

  • Most recent Federal Tax Return
  • Year-End Profit & Loss Statement
  • A current year to date Profit & Loss Statement
  • Monthly break down of sales figures


Get Familiar with the Necessary SBA Forms:

  • Completed SBA loan application (SBA Form 5 for business) or (SBA Form 5C for sole proprietor)
  • Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506T) for the applicant, principals and affiliates (20% Owners/GP/50% Affiliate)
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)
  • Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413). 20% Owners/GP


For more information, call 1-800-659-2955 or email [email protected] or go to their website, here.

Information for Workers

Unemployment Insurance

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 118 – North Carolina

In addition to ordering that restaurants end sit-down service and move to take-out or delivery only, it also expands access to unemployment insurance for workers affected by COVID-19 in any industry.

  1. Removes the 1-week waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance;
  2. Removes the requirement that an applicant must look for another job during this time;
  3. Allows employees who lose their jobs or have hours reduced to apply for benefits;
  4. Permits applicants to apply for benefits remotely by phone or online; and
  5. Employers will not be held responsible for benefits paid as a direct result of COVID-19 claims.

Gig Workers Assistance

Musicians, Artists and Event Producers Assistance


CDC information on mass gatherings and events

Families First Act

below from Roberts and Stevens Attorneys at Law,

On March 18, 2020, the federal government enacted paid leave for workers affected by COVID-19 as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Highlights include:

  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
    • Applicable to employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • Available to employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days
    • Provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for workers to care for a family member ill with COVID-19, or children whose school or child care is closed because of the pandemic
      • Initial 10 days of leave are unpaid unless employee chooses to use accrued employer-provided leave
      • After 10 days, employee is entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of employee’s regular wages, up to $200 per day
    • Becomes effective April 2, 2020 and remains in effect until December 31, 2020
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
    • Applicable to employers with fewer than 500 employees
    • Employer required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave at employee’s regular rate, up to $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee (If sick leave is needed to care for someone else, the employee is paid two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular pay rate and  is capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate)
    • Employees may take paid sick leave if:
      • They are ordered to quarantine
      • They are told to self-quarantine by a health care provider
      • They are showing symptoms or seeking a diagnosis of COVID-19
      • They are caring for someone under quarantine
      • They are caring for a child whose school or child care is closed to COVID-19
    • Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempted if they can show hardship
    • Employers will receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for this paid sick leave

If you need help planning for your employment response to the COVID-19, please contact Roberts & Stevens employment law attorneys Jackie Grant at 828-258-6909 or Susan Russo Klein at 828-210-6821.

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program

The Small Business Owners FAQ Sheet to the CARES Act

below from Allen, Stahl and Kilbourne law firm,

On March 25, 2020, the Senate passed the ‘‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act’’ (link) by a unanimous 96-0 late night vote.  The Bill will likely be considered by the House of Representatives on March 27th by unanimous consent and signed by the President thereafter.

The bill is over 800 pages long and carries a price tag of $2 trillion.  This stimulus package contains provisions for a small business loan package, increased unemployment benefits, recovery rebates for individuals, a small business payroll tax credit, student loans, revisions to the recently passed Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, changes to the tax law, loosening the laws governing retirement funds, assistance for airlines, direct cash injections for mid and large businesses, support for states, tribes and municipalities, support for healthcare (addressing medical products, medical devices, drug shortages, testing, health care providers, telehealth, rural health, Indian Health, Medicare, Medicaid, public health, over the counter drugs, and other areas), and increases in funding for nearly every Federal Agency.

In this first part, we will outline the relief to small business included in the “Keeping American Worker’s Paid and Employed Act” (§ 1101-1114 of the Act):

The Paycheck Protection Program:

  • 100% guaranteed by SBA
  • Loans available 2/15/2020 through 6/30/2020
  • $349,000,000,000 available ($349 BILLION)
  • Eligible entities
    • Small business concerns, business concerns, nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations, or Tribal business concerns who employ not more than 500 employees or SBA standard for industry
      • Employees include full time, part-time and other basis
    • Individuals who operate under a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals
    • Accommodation or food service businesses that employ not more than 500 employees per physical location
    • Affiliation rules are waived for accommodation or food service businesses and franchises
    • Companies receiving assistance from Small Business Investor Company
  • Broad Approval Requirements
    • In operation on 2/15/2020
    • Had employees for whom the borrower paid salaries and payroll taxes; or
    • Paid independent contractors, as reported on a Form 1099–MISC
  • Borrower Requirements
    • Good Faith Certification
      • that uncertainty of current economic conditions makes necessary the loan request to support the ongoing operations of the eligible recipient
      • acknowledging that funds will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage payments, lease payments, and utility payments
      • does not have an application pending for a loan under this subsection for the same purpose and duplicative of amounts applied for or received under a covered loan
      • has not received amounts under this subsection for the same purpose and duplicative of amounts applied for or received under a covered loan during the period beginning on 2/15/2020 and ending on 12/31/2020
    • the requirement that a small business concern is unable to obtain credit elsewhere does not apply
    • can be combined with economic injury disaster loan under 7(b)(2)
  • Maximum loan amount
    • 2 ½ months of average total monthly payroll costs during prior one-year period
      • Special rules for seasonal employers
      • Special rules for a new business less than 1 year old
    • Outstanding amount of any (b)(2) loans made beginning on 1/31/2020
    • Maximum loan of $10 million
  • Payroll costs are
    • salary, wage or commission
      • does not include salary at rate of over $100K per year
      • does not include certain taxes
      • does not include employees with principal place of residence outside of the United States
      • does not include qualified sick leave with credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
      • does not include qualified family leave with credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
    • payment of cash tips,
    • dismissal/separation allowance
    • group healthcare benefits
    • retirement benefits
    • state or local tax on compensation
    • also the sum of payments of any compensation to or income of a sole proprietor or independent contractor that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in 1 year, as pro-rated for the covered period
  • Allowable uses
    • existing allowable uses for 7(a) loans
    • payroll costs
    • costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums
    • employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensations
    • payments of interest on mortgage, but not payment of principal)
    • rent
    • utilities
    • interest on other debt obligations incurred before the covered period
  • Forgiveness
    • For 8 weeks beginning on date of origination of loan
      • Payroll costs
      • Payment of mortgage interest
      • Payment of rent
      • Utility payments (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access for which service began before February 15, 2020)
    • Considered cancelled indebtedness
    • Reduced if employees or wages are reduced
      • Forgiveness amount is reduced by a formula based on the reduction in number of FTE employees during the 8 week covered period after origination
      • Employer chooses reference period (2/15/2019-6/30/2019 or 1/1/2020-2/29/2020)
      • Only reduced if greater than 25% loss of FTE
      • Special rules for seasonal employees
      • Average per pay period
      • No reduction if rehired or wages return by 6/30/2020
    • Wages paid to tipped employees included
    • De minimis exception
    • Excluded from gross income for tax purposes
  • Application for Forgiveness
    • Documentation verifying FTE and pay rates
      • Payroll tax filings to IRS
      • State income, payroll, and unemployment insurance filings
      • cancelled checks, payment receipts, transcripts of accounts, or other documents verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, payments on covered lease obligations, and covered utility payments
      • Certification for repetitive of borrower that information is correct and was used to retain employees, make mortgage interest payments, pay rent or pay utilities
    • Must have documentation
    • Decision made in 60 days
  • Maturity after forgiveness
    • remaining balance continues to be guaranteed
    • covered loan with maximum maturity of 10 years
    • interest rate than 4%
    • no prepayment penalty
    • Loan deferment
      • Presumed to have been adversely impacted
      • Deferment relief for 6 months to 1 year
      • Applies to loans sold on secondary market
  •  Non-recourse
    • any individual shareholder, member, or partner of an eligible recipient of a covered loan for non-payment of any covered loan,
    • except to the extent that such shareholder, member, or partner uses the covered loan proceeds for a purpose not authorized
    • No personal guarantee
    • No collateral
  • Lenders
    • delegates approval authority to lender
    • extended to additional lenders determined by the Administrator and the Secretary of the Treasury to have the necessary qualifications to process, close, disburse and service loans made with the guarantee of the Administration
    • loans can be sold in secondary market
    • has zero risk weight
    • an insured depository institution or an insured credit union that modifiesa covered loan in relation to COVID–19-related difficulties in a troubled debt restructuring on or after March 13, 2020, shall not be required to comply with Receivables-Troubled Restructurings by Creditors’
    • SBA will reimburse lender for processing within 5 days after disbursement:
      • 5% of loans below $350,000
      • 3% of loans of $350,000 to $2,000,000
      • 1% of loans over $2,000,000
    • Amounts forgiven are treated as loan guaranteed for SBA
    • SBA pays forgiveness not later than 90 days
    • SBA shall purchase from lender Expected Forgiveness Amount not later than 15 days
    • Expected Forgiveness Amount is amount expected to expend in 8 weeks after origination for
      • Payroll costs
      • Payment of mortgage interest
      • Payment of rent
      • Utility payments
  • Fee Waiver
    • SBA collects no fee under 23(a) and 18(a)

If you have an questions involving the CARES act or other business challenges, contact Allen Stahl + Kilbourne By James Kilbourne and Derek Allen

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.

Ways to Support Local Businesses

We encourage everyone in our community to reach out to your favorite businesses directly. Look for their phone number or email address online. Get information about what they are doing, and share that with your own social media networks. This is the best way to share information quickly with the larger community. Some other things you can do are:

  • Shop online or by phone instead of in person
  • Purchase gift certificates to use later this year
  • Check out online offerings, like classes and more
  • Share what you find/learn with others through social media

Resources for Employees and Employers

Mountain BizWorks has some recordings from some great Webinars (some example topics are listed below) they’ve offered to help those now working virtually. The recordings and more information on COVID-19 are available on their resource page.

  • Preparing Your Business for the Threat of the Coronavirus
  • Tools and Tips for Creating and Offering Simple Online Webinars and Classe
  • Tips for Setting Up and Managing Successful Online Meetings

Blue Ridge Community College’s Small Business Center is hosting several webinars related to general business practices, as well as COVID-19 specific topics. All of their opportunities can be accessed on their website, here.

The Transylvania Times is another great resource for updated information on our community, businesses, meetings, and more.