COVID-19: Businesses and Employers

NCDHHS recommends that businesses:

Refer to Executive Orders:

  • On March 27, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, a statewide Stay at Home Order beginning Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5 p.m. until April 29, 2020. This order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors or to help a family member. Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others. For more information about Executive Order 121, read the FAQs. See Interim DHHS Guidance for Owners, Staff and Patrons of Essential Businesses.
  • Essential businesses as defined in Executive Order 121 may remain open. Other non-essential businesses must remain closed unless permitted by the Secretary of Revenue.
  • Please note that Executive Order 121 modifies some sections of previous Executive Orders, but sections not modified are still in effect. Executive Orders 120 and 118 close some businesses and dine-in service for restaurants and bars. Executive Orders 120 and 118 close some businesses and dine-in service for restaurants and bars
  • Additionally, Executive Order 118 lifts some restrictions on unemployment benefits to help workers unemployed due to COVID-19 and those who are employed but will not receive a paycheck. It also adds benefit eligibility for those out of work because they have the virus or must care for someone who is sick. 

Get telework plans in place immediately:

  • Use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, including holding meetings virtually.

Keep everyone healthy:

  • Reinforce good hand hygiene tips and other common-sense precautions with employees and patrons. Review recommendations for cleaning practices
  • Urge people at higher risk for severe illness to stay home. Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits. 
  • Consider canceling non-essential travel. 
  • Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.

Communications:

  • Establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • Work to make sure fear and anxiety don't lead to social stigma toward any employees.
  • Make sure you are getting reliable information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NCDHHS.
  • When can employees return if they are sick with COVID-19 or believe they may have it?
    • Employees may discontinue isolation and return to normal activities when it has been at least 7 days since their first day of illness AND they have been without fever for three days (72 hours) and their other symptoms are improving, in consultation with their healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
    • Employers should not ask for a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a medical provider for employees to return to work.

ReadyNC

The NCEM Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) manages the state's process of certifying businesses that are deemed essential. Learn more on the ReadyNC website.

SBA Disaster Loans for Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration has granted a disaster declaration covering all North Carolina counties, allowing affected businesses to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications forms can also be downloaded at disasterloan.sba.gov.

Guidance and Resources