(Updated May 29, 2020)
The City of Eugene and Lane County were approved to enter Phase 1, the limited reopening of certain businesses, starting May 15.
The City of Eugene has created a specialized Business Help Team to assist employers as they seek to keep their businesses afloat by answering questions about financing options, reopening guidelines and other topics. The team is working to be flexible to meet the needs of different businesses as rules change and needs evolve.
City Allows Expanded Café Seating (“Streateries”) to Accommodate Needed Distancing
Local restaurants can now apply for a permit to expand their serving space into the public right of way and parking spaces to increasing capacity while accommodating safe physical distancing. While sidewalk seating was already allowed, this pilot program simplifies the process, eliminates the fee, and makes it possible to spread beyond just the sidewalk. To learn more about acquiring a permit, businesses can contact the City’s Business Help Team at email@example.com. Read the news release announcing the pilot program.
- Oregon Rules and Guidance on Reopening
- Federal CARES Act & Other Disaster Relief
- Resources to Support Ongoing Operations
The Governor’s Office approved Lane County’s application to move into Phase 1 of reopening on Friday, May 15.
In Phase 1, the following will be allowed:
- Gatherings up to 25 people - physical distancing required, no travel, stay close to home and avoid overnight trips
- Restaurants and bars – limited sit-down service with 6-foot distancing required, max group size of 10, employees must wear face coverings, must close at 10 p.m.
- Personal care (salons, barber shops, massage) – limited with physical distancing, appointments and customer list required, providers must wear face coverings
- Personal care (gyms and fitness centers) – limited with physical distancing and strong cleaning protocols required
Sector Specific Guidelines
- Outdoor Recreation
- Restaurants and Bars (also see FAQs for Restaurants and Bars)
- Retail Stores (also see FAQS for Retail Stores, Shopping Centers and Malls)
- Personal Service Providers (also see FAQs for Personal Services)
- Gyms/Fitness (also see FAQs for Fitness-related Organizations)
- Shopping Centers and Malls (also see FAQS for Retail Stores, Shopping Centers and Malls)
- Summer Camps (also see FAQS for School Aged Daytime Summer Camps)
- Summer School
- Agricultural Operation (see Temporary Rule)
- Agricultural Workers and KN95 Masks
- Oregon Health Authority offers downloadable signage in multiple languages to post at your business: “Clean hands save lives,” “Going out? Stay apart,” “Do you have these symptoms?” and "Why sign in?"
- State of Oregon’s website provides the most current information including what types of businesses can open and when, guidelines for reopening businesses, and details about all phases of reopening.
Back to Business Guide
The Eugene and Springfield Area Chambers of Commerce have partnered to provide the new Back to Business Guide, a resource to help businesses navigate the state and county’s new guidelines. The document provides industry-specific, simplified guidelines about preparing a physical space, physical distancing procedures, required safety provisions and best practices, and more. The document will be updated as the State of Oregon and other entities release additional guidance.
PPP Loans, EIDL Advances, SBA Loan Subsidies Not Subject to Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax (CAT)
The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not ‘commercial activity’ under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax. The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. Read the news release for more details.
Answers to Questions about Bringing Employees Back to Work
The Oregon Employment Department has answers to frequently asked questions from businesses regarding resuming business operations and unemployment insurance benefits.
Commercial Eviction Ban
On April 1, 2020, Governor Brown issued Executive Oregon 20-13, which places a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions for nonpayment, in light of the impacts on business owners caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This order will help Oregon small businesses stay in their locations without the threat of eviction.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) can provide for up to $2 million per loan for necessary working capital to help businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue survive until normal operations resume. A grant loan advance of up to $10,000 will not have to be repaid if it is spent on paid employee leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs because of supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.
Starting May 4, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications. As of May 4, the EIDL will only be available to agricultural businesses. Agricultural businesses include those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)). See the SBA’s website for information.
The SBA Office of Disaster Assistance will continue to process applications that were submitted before April 15, 2020. For questions about the EIDL application, including the status of application, call 1-800-659-2955.
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
On April 24, Congress approved and the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provides $484 billion in COVID-19-related aid to businesses and hospitals, and money to expand testing. The legislation adds $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and $60 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and grant program. This Act expands funding that had been made available to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed on March 27, 2020.
Businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to contact financial institutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration to learn about the programs and how to apply for the loans and grants.
The Small Business Administrate and U.S. Department of Treasury have answers to frequently asked questions (released April 23).
Some of the key elements that affect businesses in the Eugene area:
Paycheck Protection Program
This program expands the ability to obtain loans under the Small Business Act. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees and non-profits organized as 501(c)(3)s can apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration-guaranteed funds, which are intended to help businesses stay open and keep employees on payroll.
Businesses can apply through SBA 7 (a) lenders or through any federally insured depository institution, federal insured credit union or Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Businesses should consult with local lenders to learn if they are participating in the program.
Employee Retention Tax Credits
Businesses are eligible for an employee retention tax credit if operations were fully or partially suspended because of a COVID-19 shutdown order, or gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Eligible businesses can get a refundable 50% tax credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee, or $5,000. The credit can be obtained on wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. Businesses that receive a Paycheck Protection loan are ineligible for the tax credit.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has posted updated FAQs providing answers regarding the Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act. The Employee Retention Credit encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
- The US Chamber of Commerce provides a summary of the CARES Act’s provisions.
- The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce is offering webinars about the CARES Act (and other resources) that can support local businesses so they successfully navigate this unprecedented situation.
Lane County’s Business Information web page has information about federal and state resources. The County is the primary connection for our region to verify state and federal resources. They are working to keep their website up-to-date.
Eugene Water & Electric Board
EWEB has implemented measures to support commercial and residential customers experiencing economic hardship. Contact EWEB Customer Service at 541-685-7000 to set up flexible payment arrangements and to suspend late fees. If you have a commercial energy-efficiency loan with EWEB, they are able to defer those loan payments upon request by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – Lane County Resource
Lane County, the City of Springfield, the City of Eugene, and Community LendingWorks created a Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (SBELF) to help our local businesses weather this storm. Eligible businesses include those with 20 FTE or fewer as of the end of 2019 and located within Lane County. Small businesses may apply for loans up to $30,000 at 2% with no payments for the first six months. Due to high demand, the fund is currently unavailable (as of March 23). However, future funds may come available, so interested businesses should submit an application to be put on the waiting list. Interested businesses can apply at Community LendingWorks.
Layoff Aversion program
Layoff aversion funds are used to prevent or minimize the length of unemployment resulting from layoffs. Lane Workforce Partnership received additional funding for averting layoffs at small businesses in response to COVID-19, but as of April 16, 2020, the Layoff Aversion Fund has been exhausted.
For firms that cannot avoid layoffs, business owners should inform their employees in some form of writing that they are closing and all employees are laid off until further notice. This provides the workers with documentation to claim unemployment insurance. The Oregon Office of Workforce Investment encourages businesses to file a WARN notice when they are laying off staff. The State is tracking these, so it has a sense of the scope of layoffs and can provide that information to federal agencies.
The Oregon Employment Department is working to ensure people have access to the most current guidance for employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Please visit the Department’s COVID-19 employment-related web page for the latest information. This is the primary resource for information about layoffs and unemployment insurance. If it is busy, try again later if you cannot access it.
Work Share program
Businesses that are cutting hours of their employees can take advantage of Oregon’s Work Share program, which enables a flexible response to a layoff situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial unemployment insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages.
Keeping Business Open and Safe
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources for businesses and employers to keep workspaces safe.
The Oregon Home Builders Association (OHBA) and multiple state agencies partnered on a news release on COVID-19 jobsite recommendations for the construction industry. The site also has a COVID-19 web page with more information for contractors.
The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership has opened grant funding for businesses that are retooling to supply COVID-19 related products or supplies, including personal protective equipment, or PPE. Manufacturers who are interested in retooling to meet critical supply needs, build innovative products, or who need workforce training to meet COVID-19 demands can email OMEP’s Jasmine Agnor.
The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) also has COVID-19 resources, including information on managing supply chains, business continuity and financial resources. OMEP has scheduled an ongoing series of free webinars devoted to COVID-19 and manufacturing.
For Food Service Businesses
The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) is offering free access to online professional development courses. Scholarships are being offered to hotel and restaurant industry employees to help pay for certifications and career advancement courses that normally are not free. Enrollment closes on April 30, 2020. Read more on the courses offered and eligibility requirements.
Parking Accommodations to Support Carry-Out Customers and Delivery Companies
Effective March 19, 2020, the City of Eugene’s Parking Services reduced enforcement actions to public safety issues only, with a focus on continued support to local residents and business owners. Parking Services created a new service for restaurants and business owners open for carry-out and delivery orders. Businesses can request the designation of 1-2 parking spots in front of their location to provide a dedicated free parking spot for carry-out customers and/or delivery companies. This service is free for the business and free for the customers. To request this new service please email email@example.com. See a map of the businesses that are using this service.
Changes to Beer, Wine, and Cider Rules
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has made a few changes to try and soften the blow for our licensees. Delivery of Beer, Wine, and Cider is a privilege that licensees can apply for, and that application process has been streamlined. The license allows for the delivery of beer, wine, and cider to its parking lot or other adjoining area. The privilege also includes the ability to deliver (same day) to Oregon residents. The OLCC website provides guidance.
Customers can take beer, wine, or cider to go with their meals if the licensee has an Off-Premises license. If a licensee did not have that license type, they are now able to obtain one quickly through OLCC’s licensing department.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is postponing tax payment due dates and filing due dates for excise tax returns for 90 days for industry members affected by COVID-19.
Business Emergency Planning
The Lane Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help create an emergency plan for businesses and provide guidance on how to document impacts to your business from COVID-19.
SHINE (Sustainability Hub of Interchange Negotiation Experts) will help you create an emergency plan to deal with the disruption caused by COVID-19. Our experienced staff will also review your current business plan, including an operational assessment and look at management team alignment. SHINE is a program funded through an investment from the Lane Workforce Partnership through state layoff aversion funds.
Telecommuting and Cyber-Security
In response to COVID-19, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked broadband and telephone service providers to do what they can to keep residents and small businesses connected. Over 400 companies and associations have signed the pledge to not terminate services, waive late fees, and open Wi-Fi hotspots. For more information, visit the Keep Americans Connected website.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the Nation’s risk advisor, working with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborating to build more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future. On March 13, 2020, CISA released an alert encouraging organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity when implementing alternate workplace options for their employees. Remote work options – or telework – require an enterprise virtual private network (VPN) solution to connect employees to an organization’s information technology (IT) network. CISA encourages public and private sector organizations to sign-up for Vulnerability Scanning.
The Oregon Community Foundation has established the Oregon Community Recovery Grant program to support nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Nonprofit Association of Oregon has collected information to help non-profits affected by COVID-19, including resources for business continuity and funding opportunities.
- Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has issued a temporary order for Oregon’s manufacturing facilities in regards to the maximum hours employees in manufacturing are allowed to work. Specifically, the order removes overtime limitations in the manufacturing sector, allowing for up to a 91-hour workweek. This order is in effect from March 27, 2020 to September 22, 2020.
- The not-for-profit State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) has established a Coronavirus worker safety fund. It is designed to promote employee safety, reduce injuries, and decrease exposures by helping SAIF policyholders impacted by the Coronavirus. The fund will help pay for expenses tied to preventing the spread of Coronavirus at businesses or mitigating other Coronavirus-related costs.
- Travel Oregon has put together a toolkit for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries. The toolkit includes communication materials and business resources.
- The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce has multiple resources to help businesses navigate this situation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a small business guide for businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.
- Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, offers financial and other guidance on topics such as financing, childcare, and free and discounted business coaching. They have also put together a Survival Tips guide for businesses.
- The National Main Street Center is offering a series of webinars to support local businesses and communities. Sessions will cover national policy and best local practices related to Main Street America during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The Oregon Department of Revenue has guidance on COVID-19 tax relief options, with information on the personal and corporate income tax and the corporate activity tax.
- The Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs can help minority small businesses in identifying appropriate sources of financing for COVID-19 challenges.
- The Oregon Economic Development Association has a COVID-19 resources page and Business Survival Tips During a Pandemic.
- The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and PBA Charities have created a new fund, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and will provide $500 to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19.