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Small Business Resources: Emergency Loans, Unemployment and More

Business Health Trust’s core value is to be a resource to employers, and that’s especially important now as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our small-business community.

We’d like to share new information related to our previous post on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Last week, the U.S. Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). As a part of the new legislation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a nearly $350 billion loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program. This program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more. The SBA has also expanded a number of their existing programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The federal government is currently finalizing the details and protocols about how and when different programs and relief will be implemented, and how financial institutions will help facilitate the execution of these programs.

Find out if your small business is eligible and what other questions you need to know before you apply in the CARES Act Q-and-A.

Additional preparation tips include this list of documents your bank may request when you apply for the loan.

CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Please be aware that the CARES act also includes two separate unemployment provisions, one which applies to individuals already eligible for unemployment compensation under state law, and another that creates a temporary, federally funded “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program, which provides benefits to individuals who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits under state or federal law.

For more information, please see the Summary of CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

 

 

Roundup of COVID-19 Webinars from Business Health Trust Partner Associations

Looking for resources to help stay informed on the developing COVID-19 outbreak? With our core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust would like to share how our partner chambers are working to stay connected with members.

Although all in-person events have been canceled for the coming weeks, our partners are utilizing their robust networks to host webinars featuring the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 among other resources. The below list is still preliminary, so please be sure to keep an eye on the different Chamber websites or sign up for alerts:

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
#WeGotThisWA series – free, registration required

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance Snohomish County
Keeping the Lights On: A Business Resiliency Webinar – free, registration required

View upcoming webinars and sign up at https://localsnoco.com/educational-resources/

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Webinar on COVID-19; free and open to all; join at https://zoom.us/j/843841095 or click below times to learn more or for more accessibility options:

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
Thurston’s Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know; free and open to all; click below to register or learn more:

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Free informational videos can be viewed on the following topics:

SBA to Provide Disaster Loans for Coronavirus-Related Economic Disruptions

Business Health Trust is more than just your source for employee benefits. We advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington state, and are vigilant about staying on top of changes in the small business health insurance market.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact small businesses in Washington and nationwide, we would like to offer resources in light of an announcement from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that it will provide economic injury disaster loans for coronavirus-related economic disruptions.

Please view the SBA’s Fact Sheet as the loans pertain specifically to the COVID-19 impact in Washington state.

To determine whether your small business might qualify, the SBA’s Three-Step Process PDF outlines steps to apply and other details. You may download the following forms to apply for the loan:

For additional detailed information, please view a PDF presentation from the SBA.

More information also is available on the SBA’s Disaster Assistance website.

Tips to Stay Focused and Efficient While Working from Home

In the gig economy, working from home is already the norm for many Americans. But for workers more accustomed to a scheduled 9-5 office job, it can be a challenge to find work-life balance from a home office.

Whether you’re working on a laptop or a home computer, it’s important to create a space that puts you into work mode. It may be obvious that means turning off the TV and finding activities in advance for your kids, but your home likely offers a wealth of distractions you haven’t even thought of.

If you’re among the many Washington residents — and soon possibly the entire nation — in search of normalcy from your new home office, we’ve put together a few resources to help you remain focused and efficient when you’re on the clock.

Start with a Clean House

With both spring and potentially COVID-19 in the air, you’ll want to prioritize your annual spring clean if you haven’t already.

To properly clean and disinfect surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work, or you can make a bleach solution with 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water, or an alcohol solution of at least 70 percent alcohol.

Once your household is spic and span, try to keep it that way so cleaning doesn’t turn into a distraction during work hours. In the article 5 spring-cleaning tips for a healthier home, Kaiser Permanente recommends you set a schedule for upkeep so you can limit your tidying to a few minutes a day.

Get Up, Get Ready and Go

It may be tempting to throw on some sweats and grab a cup of coffee before plopping in front of your computer, but maintaining your normal morning routine also triggers a working mindset that can help improve productivity.

That means going to bed and waking up at a reasonable hour, and dressing appropriately for the workday, especially if there’s the potential for videoconferencing.

Be sure to also prepare any snacks or meals in advance so you’re not distracted by your growling stomach throughout the day!

Take a Break

If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time stepping away from your computer, find balance by setting a schedule that includes regular breaks from your desk and especially your screen.

Your eyes will thank you for taking a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes, also known as the “20-20-20” rule, as described in the VSP Vision Care Inc. article on Computer Vision Syndrome. And if you need help staying on track, of course there’s an app for that: Eye Care 20 20 20.

And when your lunch break rolls around, resist the temptation to continue working and be sure to take a break, maybe even go for a walk if that is an option. Maintaining your health is a priority during these uncertain times, and giving your brain and your body breaks is an important part of your overall health.

Commute Time Now Means You Time

Remember traffic? Now that you have the time back that you used to spend commuting, consider sharing these additional precious moments with your loved ones.

With schools closed for the foreseeable future, this means extra time with your kids while you’re not on the clock to help better manage this new version of work-life balance.

And for loved ones who aren’t in your household, be sure to pick up the phone and check in regularly on them. Premera Blue Cross reminds us that social distancing doesn’t mean mentally isolating, and recommends live video or video chat conversations to keep in touch with friends and family.

COVID-19 Anticipated Economic Impacts in Seattle and Washington

Business Health Trust (sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce) is Washington’s source for employee benefits, but we offer more than just insurance. Our core value is to be a resource to employers in Washington State to our 850+ employers in Washington State.

As part of our dedication to being a resource to employers, we partnered with Community Attributes to provide information that can aid business leaders in decision making as well as to highlight the needs of employers arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic in Washington State.

Download the analysis report here

March “Healthy Living” E-News Focuses on Coronavirus Resources

Usually during this time of year, Healthy Living with Business Health Trust turns its focus toward heading outdoors and fighting spring allergies. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to impact us locally and globally, the March edition on Coronavirus Resources: Flyers, Links, Tips and More instead highlights tips to keep you safe and healthy, both at home and at the workplace.

Resources range from helpful flyers that encourage handwashing and other healthy behaviors, to links to our wellness partner including Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, as well as information on how to access their virtual care resources.

Read more, sign up and and see past editions on our Healthy Living archive.

Coronavirus Resources from Business Health Trust Wellness Partners

Updated on March 10, 2020.

The coronavirus outbreak is evolving on a daily basis, and Business Health Trust wants to help you keep your workplace and your family healthy with updated resources from our wellness partners and beyond.

Medical professionals are advising people to take the same precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of cold and flu to also help prevent coronavirus. We’ve compiled those tips in the following flyers that can be posted at your workplace or other gathering space:

Further tips are available from wellness partner Wellspring EAP:

For day-to-day updates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 page that includes the latest travel guidelines and other time-sensitive information. Statewide updates are available daily on the Washington State Department of Health Coronavirus page.

Business Health Trust partner Premera Blue Cross also offers resources on a dedicated coronavirus page that is being updated as the situation continues to evolve. For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical coverage through Premera, please take note of the following important resources should you become ill or are just looking for some peace of mind:

  • Teladoc — Talk to a doctor by phone or video anytime, day or night. Be sure to sign up today so you can get care immediately when you need it. Teladoc visits are available at $0 copay through most Business Health Trust plans.
  • Talkspace — If you need somebody to talk to about your fears of coronavirus or other issues, Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera also have access to on-demand professional therapy through Talkspace. The in-network behavioral telehealth provider gives you access to live video appointments and text messaging with a licensed clinician — anytime, anywhere.
  • Urgent Care or ER? — Not sure which resource is best for you? Check out our article “Need care? Know where to go — and what it will cost” with details to help you decide when to use the 24-hour Nurseline, Teladoc, Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical through Kaiser Permanente, there is a dedicated 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage with tips and resources, including information on the many ways to get care, including:

  • Online visit — Receive a treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription — without a trip to your doctor’s office. Register today to access online visits when you need them most.
  • CareClinic — Kaiser Permanente partners with 15 Bartell Drugs locations in the Puget Sound area to offer walk-in CareClinics staffed with Kaiser Permanente board-certified physician assistants and nurse practitioners who treat minor injuries and illnesses. View CareClinic locations.

These additional tips from Kaiser Permanente on how to “Supercharge your immune system” are also a great resource to help make healthy lifestyle choices that support your immune system year-round.