BURLINGTON, NC- On June 26th , Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 147 went into place, requiring all North Carolinians to wear face coverings in public when social distancing is not possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
To ensure Burlington residents have access to a reusable cloth face covering, the City of Burlington coordinated to purchase locally made masks for distribution in Burlington, keeping our supply chain tight and our money local. Distribution events have been scheduled in various locations throughout Burlington for convenient drive-thru pick-up.
Mask Distribution Events:
COVID-19 is exposing the digital divide in North Carolina and its consequences for all of us. Students and adults who don’t have access to the internet, don’t have a computer or laptop or don’t know how to use them – for education, work, health, or connection – are at an impossible disadvantage.
Digital Inclusion – creating opportunities for everyone to access and be able to use affordable internet and devices – is more important than ever.
What is BAND-NC?
In response to this immediate need, the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State (IEI) in partnership with the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the NC Department of Information Technology, and with principal support from the John M. Belk Endowment¹, is addressing the digital divide across NC through a new program called “Building a New Digital Economy” (BAND-NC).
BAND-NC will provide rapid-response community innovation mini-grants to communities across the state.
This fall, grantees will be invited to join technical assistance workshops to build county-wide digital inclusion plans. A second round of funding to support the implementation of these plans will be available in Spring 2021.
The ultimate goal of the program is to make North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan in place.
¹ Additional support comes from the Roanoke Electric Cooperative and North Carolina Electric Cooperatives.
Free recordings from the UNC School of Government faculty in partnership with Community Food Strategies of NC and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NCSU to offer four lunch-and-learn "Office Hours" sessions. Each session features local practitioners using strategies to help communities deal with food insecurities and supply chain disruptions during COVID-19. A local resiliency strategy is featured in each recording, with an open period for questions from participants. Topics and featured local practitioners are:
School Nutrition Programs (May 27) – Efforts to continue prepared food distributions during school closures for children who qualify for free and reduced price school nutrition programs. Discussion Leaders: Maureen Berner (SOG faculty); Linden Thayer, Food Insight Group, Durham
Community Gardens and Farms (June 3) - Working with local farmers to source and distribute food supplies and provide weekend family meals to supplement school nutrition programs. Discussion Leaders: Carl Vierling, Greater High Point Food Alliance; Chester Williams, “A Better Chance, A Better Community”, Halifax County; Kelly Owensby, Transplanting Traditions, Orange County.
Leveraging Underutilized Infrastructure to Improve Food Access & Supply (June 10) - Using vacant buildings, open spaces, and closed restaurants with refrigerated storage to provide sites for food distribution and safe supply. Discussion Leaders: Eric Henry, TS Designs, Burlington; Heidi Norwick, Alamance United Way; Doug Calaway, Your Local Greens, Burlington.
Food Business Innovation in the Time of COVID-19 (June 17) - Keeping food-related businesses in business. Discussion leaders: Gabriel Cummings, Working Landscapes, Warrenton; Emily McCormick and Ron Judkins, Co-owners, “On Main Southern Eatery”, Warrenton.
By: Devin Steele from eTextile Communications
Fairystone Fabrics, a Burlington, N.C., textile manufacturer specializing in warp knitting, warping and sueding, has produced technical fabrics for automotive, filtration and some niche markets such as medical for many years.
The company, which produces laminated fabric for several different levels of PPE gowns, has ramped up production in the medical field from six to eight tricot machines to 56 in nine weeks, according to company President Jim Bryan.
“We were given specifications by our customer and developed a number of samples until we found the best alternative,” Bryan said. “It is actually a fabric we made a number of years ago with slight modifications.”
The fabric has some unique features from a manufacturing perspective, and requires retrofitting machines with auxiliary equipment, he pointed out. Some it had in-house, some it imported from Europe and some it made from spare parts or used local machine shops, he added.
“We believe in continuous improvement,” Bryan said. “The fabric we make today is made on modern machines that are different than the ones we had 20 years ago. They require technical skills and knowledge to make the important adjustments for an efficient and first-quality product. Yarn is becoming a constraint.”
Read more below and see the orignial posting here:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In an effort to promote economic development and support North Carolina communities, Duke Energy is implementing the new program – ‘Hire North Carolina’ – to maximize the use of locally owned and diverse contractors for utility projects within the state.
“We want to continue to support job creation and investment with suppliers, vendors and contractors who, like many of our team members, are proud to call North Carolina home,” said Melody Birmingham, senior vice president of supply chain and chief procurement officer for Duke Energy. “Hire North Carolina will be a useful resource for Duke Energy to expand access to our local and diverse talent for construction projects.”
“As a small business owner, I am passionate about supporting other local and women and minority-owned businesses,” said Neeta Singh, owner of Tiger Controls, a Greensboro-based electrical and electronic distributor and engineering services provider. “At a time when many small businesses are facing financial challenges, I appreciate this new initiative to identify diverse suppliers. This program will not only drive in-state investments but open up additional opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses, and I look forward to adding our company name to the Hire North Carolina list.”
Read more below for information on qualifying projects and further details on the program!
Six months ago, if I offered a person on the street $100 to tell me what PPE stands for, do you think they would know it stood for Personal Protective Equipment? Likely not! Indeed, the need, use and manufacturing of PPE has become quite the hot-button issue in the US during the COVID-19 crisis. North Carolina, with our rich history in textiles and manufacturing, has responded to these needs in resounding fashion. Across the state, masks, face shields and gowns found new producers through our strong manufacturing and textiles firms.
In response to Governor Cooper's Phase 2 restrictions, the City of Burlington has expedited permit processes for restaurants and fitness classes in Burlington to increase outdoor dining capabilities and allowing fitness classes to be held (with social distancing) at Burlington's Parks such as Springwood, Fairchild, and Joe Davidson.
Two existing tools have been modified to provide staff-level review of proposed outdoor seating at no charge. These applications are available now online at www.BurlingtonNC.gov/Planning.
1) A Temporary Use Permit allows restaurants to apply to use a portion of their parking lot to provide additional seating. Fitness studios could use the same tool to apply to use a portion of their parking lot for classes instead of parking.
2) An Outdoor Dining Permit allows applicants to request seating opportunities on public property (excluding streets). Once approved, outdoor dining is allowed until 30 days after the governor ceases restaurant capacity restrictions.
These applications, including proof of property owner approval, certificate of liability insurance, and a sketch plan, are reviewed and approved at a staff level which can be done expeditiously.
Senior Planner Conrad Olmedo is handling this process. He can be reached directly at 336-513-5415 or by email at email@example.com.
FITNESS IN THE PARK
Additionally, the Burlington Recreation and Parks Department is coordinating applicants for the Outdoor Fitness Permit, linked here. This permit will allow fitness classes to be operated by an establishment at one of Burlington’s park green spaces.
Recreation and Parks Events Coordinator, Emily Crowley, is the staff contact for these applications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-229-3149.
MAY 21, 2020 / Madison Taylor
You can also find this blog post on Madison Taylor's page by following this link:
A few hours after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper unfurled the new and slightly confusing “Safer at Home” phase two plan for reopening the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and other impacted businesses in Alamance County began their own rollouts for how to serve customers safely in the weeks and months ahead.
And it’s a mixed bag. Some restaurants are planning to reopen public seating in dining areas with 50 percent occupancy in phases. Some are reopening at 5:01 p.m. on Friday when the new regulations go into effect while others are waiting a few days. Others with more limited inside space plan to continue takeout and curbside service but not reopen dining rooms at the moment. And a great many are asking municipal leaders for permits to serve customers on sidewalks or parking lots. And for a few the stay-at-home measure put in place more than two months ago proved insurmountable.
At the behest of Burlington Beer Works Brewery and Restaurant and other establishments, Burlington City Council began discussing outdoor dining options for restaurants this week. They did so knowing that Phase 2 was likely to start on Friday, May 22.
I had a conversation today (May 21) with Peter Bishop, director of Economic Development for the city of Burlington. He’s at the center of discussions about how to help restaurants “enhance their selling potential when they open back up rather than do takeout or curbside service.” A lot of areas outside of North Carolina are already allowing restaurants to use outdoor spaces by creating parklets, utilizing parking lots or even closing some streets temporarily.
The same could happen locally soon.
“I think we can make suburban outdoor dining happen pretty quickly on sidewalks or under-utilized parking lots,” Bishop said. “Downtown we’re looking at (the Historic Depot) space, nearby parking lots or streets for restaurants not near parking lots or the depot space.”
Bishop said the intention is for the city to make it happen.
#ChooseAlamance Support Local Campaign
This week the Alamance Chamber launched the Choose Alamance Campaign to support small and local businesses.
Over the next few weeks we will be honoring and celebrating our local businesses by hosting learning opportunities, enhancing encouragement to "Shop Local", highlighting member businesses and running social media challenges. We also have a few promotional items you can request for your business to help us get the word out about Choose Alamance.
This week, Burlington-headquartered life-sciences company LabCorp announced it received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 at-home test kit.
The kits will be offered through the Pixel by LabCorp™ platform and initially be made available to healthcare workers and first responders.
LabCorp intends to make COVID-19 self-collection kits available to consumers in the coming weeks. Future updates about the self-collection kits can be found on LabCorp’s COVID-19 microsite.
"LabCorp continues to develop new ways to help patients and healthcare providers fight the COVID-19 crisis through our leading testing capabilities and deep scientific and research expertise,” said Adam Schechter, president and CEO of LabCorp. “Our at-home collection kits are designed to make it easier and safer to test healthcare workers and first responders during this important time.”
LabCorp's leadership in the response to COVID-19 and their commitment to providing fast, accurate solutions to the healthcare community are critical in this pandemic. Alamance County is thankful to be home to LabCorp and the many dedicated scientists, technicians and their support staffs who are delivering for the world!
In a time of national crisis, our citizens, governments and businesses are pulling together in creative ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to dire needs, we’ve seen North Carolina’s textile companies switching to making personal protective equipment (PPE), our distilleries pivoting to hand sanitizer production, and the innovative college departments and makerspaces throughout the state are using 3D printers make medical devices.
Likewise, Burlington and Alamance County enjoy a close-knit community full of caring individuals, companies and innovators who have shown remarkable ingenuity to help solve local COVID-19 problems with local resources.
Laura Stanfield, director of the emergency department at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, recently leveraged our local network to solve a problem she recognized coronavirus treatment would bring.
Important Update: Grant Opportunity - Applications Available NOW
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is launching the “Save Small Business Fund” for certain zip codes across the country. Small businesses that employ between 3 and 20 people and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for the $5,000 grant.
The application will go live on April 20, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. PT and will only take a few minutes to complete. All you will need is your business’s W-9 form. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis, but you only need to apply one time to be eligible for funding.
For more information about this opportunity, visit the page linked below. On this page, there is also the option to sign up to receive an email notification when the application goes live!
The current state of the nation’s economy has taken a major impact during the COVID-19 era and current small businesses have suffered greatly. If you had plans on starting a new business you may feel that the timing is not right and possibly surrender any idea you may have of being an entrepreneur. Though many sectors of the economy have seen a downturn, startups can gain a new foothold during this time.
Startups are exciting! Entrepreneurs can provide creative ways to provide new experiences to consumers. If you’re serious about starting a company, now is the perfect time to get yourself setup for success. I provided answers to frequently asked questions. I enjoy working with small businesses and I want to help Alamance County businesses and startups and I’m willing to listen to any of your questions or concerns.
Now that the PPP is out of funds, what's next? Another wave of legislation at the Federal level seems inevitable, but in the meantime there are more programs from the CARES Act they may be of interest to business, especially those with loans they would like to refinance.
Check out the document below for the Treasury Department's guide on the Exchange Stabilization Fund and pay particular attention to the Main Street Lending portion of the guide.
As always, reach out if you have questions or need guidance.
For many businesses, you are scouring the internet for all of the available resources you can access to help you get through this pandemic. Most of the media and business attention has been focused on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the SBA - and the frustrations in applying, getting an SBA lender and getting cash out of these programs.
This post will examine some of the tax credits that are unlocked in the the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19.
The analysis inserted below is from the US Chamber of Commerce . Continue reading this blog post below the insert for eligibility requirements and guidance on the program.
Small businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic have been thrown a lifeline through the Congress and the $2.2 Trillion Cares Act, a combination of loans, grants and tax policy changes designed to keep businesses afloat and capitalized until the world and economy returns to normalcy.
The Small Business Administration has made available Economic Injury Disaster Loans as a recurring source of loan funds during natural disasters and now again during this public health crisis. The Federal Government has also passed the $2.2 Trillion Cares Act and has placed additional assistance for small businesses as one of it's top priorities.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. Additionally, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Through the CARES Act, a new resource is available to American businesses called the Paycheck Protection Program. The Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) authorizes up to $349 Billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. All loan terms will be the same for everyone. These loans are forgivable after certain criteria have been met and the application for this program opens today, April 3! However, many lending institutions have remarked that their processes for taking in these applications will likely be delayed to next week.
Below you will see a document outlining the differences between the two programs that may help you decide if you should apply for one or both loan funds. Click here for a link to the full list of resources offered by the SBA.
A word of advice, businesses are allowed to double dip into both the EIDL and PPP, but PPP is much more restrictive on it’s uses, so when applying, use it for payroll and use the EIDL for other bills like utilities and rent.
If you were looking for an infographic to help understand the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program, take a look at what local agency Ethos Creative Group put together for Alamance Strong!
Here's the US Treasury Department's Homepage on PPP
As our country grapples with the threat of a pandemic and as we adjust to the challenges this new threat poses, it is important to plan for the new challenges and vulnerabilities that any such adjustments will necessarily create.
Congress has passed—and the President has signed—an unprecedented relief package to help businesses keep a connection to their employees and to help all Americans keep the bills paid, but such problems will hardly be the last ones that this virus causes. And with the wholesale pivot of the workforce to remote work that does not appear set to let up until the summertime, there is no more timely concern to raise among local businesses than cybersecurity.
The United States government has been proactive in their response to the increased threat of foreign actors seeking to use this crisis as an opportunity to divide and frighten Americans. But the government cannot be the only—or even primary—group taking action to safeguard against cyber-attacks. To that end, businesses should first know the threats that they face. Criminal elements and nation states both will be specifically targeting private American businesses in this crisis. In fact, we already have a model for foreign countries’ behavior, as we discovered last summer when the United States Department of Treasury announced that North Korea had stolen over $2 billion from American companies to finance their WMD and illicit missile programs.
We’ve all seen the headlines about Congress approving a multi-phase emergency stimulus to help businesses harmed by COVID-19. But what about private companies, institutions and non-profits? What type of business funding assistance is being offered by big companies and organizations to further assist in our rebound?
Facebook and Google are giants of Silicon Valley and are stepping up to provide other with resiliency grants, loans, and ad credits during these trying times. Below is a brief summary of their programs. Check back with this post for updates in the coming weeks about how these and other programs are developing!