Governor Carney Announces Interim Steps Allowing Small Businesses; Universal Testing in Nursing Homes

Retail, hair dressers able to resume limited services while maintaining health guidelines

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced a series of interim steps allowing small businesses to resume limited operations effective 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 8.

The goal of the interim steps is to provide economic relief to Delaware citizens and businesses who are struggling financially – while maintaining strict adherence to health and safety guidelines. The steps also will help as Delawareans and Delaware businesses adapt to new ways of operating once Phase 1 begins. 

Also on Tuesday, Governor Carney and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announced a plan to test all residents and staff of Delaware long-term care facilities for COVID-19. DPH will provide facilities with tests, testing supplies, training, and support for the universal testing program to protect the most vulnerable Delawareans. Expanding COVID-19 testing capacity for vulnerable populations is a requirement of federal guidance for economic reopening.

Public health experts at the Division of Public Health (DPH) will support clinicians at long-term care facilities with the new testing program. DPH will provide guidance on testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic persons and the interpretation of results.  DPH will also provide recommendations to protect residents and staff based on results, including transmission-based precautions, isolation, and patient and staff management strategies.

“I understand how hard this has been for Delawareans across our state. We’ve tried to find ways to ease the pain without compromising public health,” said Governor Carney. “But even these limited steps allowing businesses to offer additional services will require strict compliance with safety standards, especially social distancing. We cannot afford to go backwards and see new cases and hospitalizations spike. Getting used to a new normal won’t be easy, but this is the first step to being able to reopen our economy.”

“Residents of long-term care facilities are extremely vulnerable to complications from the virus that causes COVID-19 due to chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We are incredibly pleased to be able to support this testing strategy which will enable us to help the facilities better identify outbreaks among both staff and residents and contain the spread of the disease through a variety of interventions. It is an important component in our rapidly expanding testing strategy.”

Below are the interim steps the Governor announced are effective at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 8:

  • Small business retailers will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup as long as social distancing can be maintained.  These retailers include:
    • Clothing stores
    • Shoe stores
    • Sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments
    • Book, periodical, music stores
    • Department stores
    • Tobacco and Vape
    • Other general merchandise
    • Office supply, stationery, and gift stores
    • Used merchandise stores
    • Consumer goods rental
  • Jewelry stores may do business by appointment only, and the Governor has instructed the Division of Small Business to consider additional changes like this for other similar retailers.
  • Cosmetology: Hair care services only are permitted to be offered, and only to workers at essential businesses. Guidelines include:
    • No more than two appointments at a time per location (and never more than the number of available staff, so just one for a sole proprietor). Need to leave 15 minutes between appointments for proper cleaning.
    • Employees and customers must wear cloth face masks at all times, and customers must cancel appointments if they have any reason to believe they may be ill or may have come into contact with the virus.
    • Staff must wear disposable gloves when providing services and must throw away gloves between customers and wash hands.
    • Employer must require employees to report their temperature daily — above 99.5 means they are ineligible to work.
    • Customer stations must be sanitized between use, along with any equipment used for the customer. In addition, any item a customer handles (like a magazine) must leave with the customer.
    • Entrance door must remain locked to outside to prevent walk-ins.
  • Other
    • Golf carts allowed at courses for 1 rider at a time with proper cleaning between customers
    • Drive-in movies are permitted, but patrons must remain inside vehicles and social distancing must be maintained at all times.

Employees required to report to work as a result of these changes will now be permitted to utilize child care services, provided neither parent works from home and they do not have alternate care.

Anyone with a question about COVID-19, whether related to medical or social service needs, should call Delaware 2-1-1; or 7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Questions can also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.


COVID-19 and Global Markets: Free Webinars from Export Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. – Global supply chains will be forever changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. No company or organization will have one sole source of supply in any one country again. Sourcing is already shifting away from China and toward other markets. This offers a bright side for Delaware businesses, as exports could ultimately increase.

Local businesses can learn more about how international markets and exports will be affected by this pandemic from a new webinar series presented by Export Delaware: “Global Conversations….With Our Export Delaware Family Worldwide”.

“For business professionals, now is the time to be proactive and assess which countries and markets are best for you to focus on,” said Beth Pomper, director of Export Delaware, a division of the Delaware Department of State. “While we are all working from home, it is important to maintain relationships with those clients you have or new ones you met on business trips, and learn what you can do proactively now to relaunch when borders open.”

The Export Delaware foreign trade office family will be featured in each session, providing details of their current market situation and opportunities in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, South America, Canada, South Korea and Southeast Asia.

The sessions will be interactive, with an opportunity to ask questions live from home. Exporters already doing business in the region and businesses just curious to learn more are encouraged to join. Registration is complimentary.

Opportunities for Delaware Exporters in Australia & New Zealand
Live from Brisbane, Australia
April 21, 2020 at 4:00 PM
Register Here

Join us for a free webinar addressing the current state of play in the Australian and New Zealand markets, the future outlook, and tips for conducting international business in this challenging time.

European Market Overview and Forecast
Live from Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
April 28, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Register Here

Join us for this webinar to learn first-hand about the current business situation and future outlook in the United Kingdom and Ireland from Delaware’s trade representative, Declan Barry. Declan will share how suppliers will be diversifying, and outline opportunities for Delaware exporters.

Mexico and South America Market Overview and Forecast
Live from Mexico City
Friday, May 8, 2020 at 10:00 AM
Register Here

Join us on this webinar to learn first-hand about what’s going on in South America, specifically, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Delaware’s trade representative in Latin America, Miguel de Regil will share his intel on the ground from Mexico.

Opportunities for Delaware Exporters in South Korea and Southeast Asia
Live from Seoul and Singapore
Monday, May 12, 8:00 AM
Register Here

Join us for a free webinar addressing the current state of business in South Korea and Southeast Asia. Delaware’s trade representatives, Ken Yang and Sarath Menon will provide a future outlook in their markets and share tips for conducting international business during this challenging time.

Proactive Strategies for Increasing your Business in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
Live from Frankfurt, Germany
Tuesday, May 19, 10:00 AM
Register Here 

Join us for a free Zoom meeting addressing the current business situation and opportunities for Delaware businesses in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. As Germany will likely be the first country in Europe to open its borders, learn what you can proactively be doing now to expand and launch your products. Delaware’s trade representatives, Anette Hass, Sebastian Hass, Markus Wellman, and Fred Glickman from PM&P partners will share their perspectives from Germany.

About Export Delaware

If you are a new exporter, or want to explore new markets, we can help you get started! Export Delaware is an initiative of the Delaware Department of State. Our experienced staff provides on-site guidance to businesses that are looking to explore export opportunities or to expand their current export activities to new markets. We are the official global division of the State of Delaware; with a network of State foreign trade offices worldwide and funding assistance to help Delaware businesses. To connect with our team, contact Export@delaware.gov or go to www.export.delaware.gov.

Picture of the Seal of the Delaware Secretary of State


Governor Carney Expands Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.)

H.E.L.P. to include more industries and additional small businesses

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Thursday announced the expansion of the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.) to provide financial relief for additional industries impacted because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The expansion makes personal care services businesses – such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and beauty shops – eligible for the program.  

Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year and have annual revenue below $2.5 million. The cap on the size of eligible was previously $1.5 million in annual revenue.

“Delaware workers and small business owners have been hit especially hard by the restrictions in place to fight this public health threat,” said Governor Carney. “Expanding the HELP program from the Division of Small Business will get more help to more Delaware families and entrepreneurs who are facing significant uncertainty. We all still need to do our part, and take the public health threat seriously. Stay at home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Practice basic hygiene. We’ll get through this, but everyone needs to pitch in.”

H.E.L.P. offers no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month. The loans can go toward rent, utilities, and other unavoidable bills, but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with a nine-month deferment period. 

The Division of Small Business has been processing applications that have come in for the H.E.L.P. since it was first announced on March 18 to provide assistance to restaurants, bars, and other hospitality industry businesses. The Division expects to have the first round of payments out to approved businesses by the end of the week.

The Division of Small Businesses created a list of the most frequently asked question received from business owners as they completed the application. A list of the questions and answers are provided below.

Q: Which businesses qualify for H.E.L.P. under this expansion?

  • Small businesses that have been in operation for at least a year and have annual revenue at or below $2.5 million in the following industries are eligible to apply:
    • Restaurants/Food Trucks/Caterers/Bakeries – 7225, 7223 3118
    • Bars and craft beverage makers – 7224 & 3121
    • Spectator Entertainment – 7111, 7112, 7113
    • Recreation Activities – 7121, 7131, 7139
    • Sightseeing Transportation – 4871, 4872, 4879, 4855
    • Travel Accommodations – 7211
    • Personal care services – 8121

Q: Does all the paperwork need to be completed, or should I submit to hold my place in line?

  • Send in your application and related documents only once you have compiled all of them. Applications will not be placed into the queue for processing until ALL required documentation is submitted.

Q: Will the loan be turned into a grant?  

  • No. H.E.L.P. offers zero interest loans with a nine-month deferment period.  At the end of the nine months, borrowers will be required to start making payments on the amount disbursed under the program.

 

Q: What do I do if my bank won’t let me accept another loan? 

  • We would encourage you to reach out to your bank to discuss your options. You may still be able to apply for H.E.L.P.

 

Q: Can I apply if my annual revenue is over $2.5 million? Can I get more than $10,000?

  • At this time, the program is only open to those businesses with annual revenue at or below $2.5 million and is capped at $10,000 per business per month. Businesses with revenue over $2.5 million are encouraged to reach out to the U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov) if they need financial assistance. Any changes to the program will be posted to the Division of Small Business Coronavirus website: delbiz.com/coronavirus

 

Q: Why do you need all the financial data and business license information? 

  • H.E.L.P. offers loans to eligible applicants. While the process is much simpler than traditional underwriting, this data is needed to verify eligibility for the program.

 

Q: What if my business is not eligible for H.E.L.P.?

  • Applications received for ineligible businesses will not be processed. The SBA is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million regardless of industry. More information is available at sba.gov/disaster. If any additions or changes are made to H.E.L.P., the updates will be shared at delbiz.com/coronavirus.

 

Additional resources for business can be found here.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

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Watch: Coronavirus Update from March 18 in the Evening

Governor Carney and State Officials give a media briefing on Wednesday March 18, 2020 in the evening, announcing an updated emergency declaration and help for small businesses.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ec34D4Vbsbc


Governor Carney Announces HELP Program to Support Delaware Small Businesses

Hospitality businesses will be eligible for immediate financial assistance, unemployment benefits for workers expanded

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide financial relief for restaurants, bars and other hospitality industry businesses that employ thousands of Delawareans.

“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality-related businesses, and their workers, are among those most seriously impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Delaware,” said  Governor John Carney. “We’ve limited restaurants to takeout and delivery services and asked all Delawareans to avoid being out in public unnecessarily. Many people from other states have postponed non-essential travel, meaning they are not coming to Delaware for vacations or business. We feel it is crucial that the state step in to assist these businesses and their employees.”

The no-interest loans are capped at $10,000 per business per month. The money can cover rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months.

The Division of Small Business will administer the program using existing state funds and is aiming to have an application available later this week. Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year, have annual revenue below $1.5 million and be in a certain hospitality-connected industries. Email business@delaware.gov to learn if you qualify or call 302-739-4271 with additional questions.

Assistance is also available for Delaware workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Carney approved the following changes to Delaware’s unemployment benefits program for the hospitality industry: 

  1. The Department of Labor (DOL) will begin processing unemployment claims as they are received with the goal of  benefits becoming available within a week.  
  2. DOL will allow part-time income while collecting benefits as long as employees can demonstrate their decreased hours and earnings.
  3. DOL will not classify tipped employees as minimum wage earners as long as their tips are reported as wages. 

Businesses applying for assistance through Delaware’s HELP  program will need to prove they meet the eligibility standards. This includes providing documentation to show the business has been current for at least 80 percent of payments over the past 12 months, and not past due on its most recent payment on any bill for which it is applying for relief. This can be done through proof of payments or a letter from the entity to which the money was due.

The program announcement comes as the state also awaits official confirmation from the U.S. Small Business Administration that it has received the Economic Injury Declaration which Governor Carney formally requested on Monday.

More information will be available later in the week on sending in application information for HELP. In the meantime, businesses can reach out to the Division of Small Business with questions by emailing business@delaware.gov or visiting www.delbiz.com.

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email DPHCall@delaware.gov. For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to de.gov/coronavirus.

 

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