Thursday, April 9, 2020

Weekly Village Update 4.2.20

Chamber News
The Blowing Rock Visitors Center is closed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. But you can always reach the Chamber Team via email or phone: 828-295-7851.
Business Updates
Visit for a list of Blowing Rock Businesses operation updates.

Restaurants are able to provide takeout.
Please consider calling our local Blowing Rock restaurants and ask about take out services.

When posting on social media, remember to tag us and we encourage you to show your support for the town by using the hashtag #LoveBlowingRock
Property Owners Traveling to Watauga County to Self-Quarantine Upon Arrival

All residents and non residents of Watauga County arriving for overnight stays are ordered, while present in the County, to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days or until 7 days after symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer, if arrival was preceded by overnights outside the County. The only exceptions to this provision are the commuting “essential” workforce and emergent response as coordinated through the Watauga County Emergency Services Director, AppHealthCare Director, and/or Sheriff and their designees.
The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce has compiled extremely valuable information for business owners and their employees. Please take some time to review this information. 

Small businesses should apply for the SBA disaster loans even if you don’t think you will need them. You can always decline them later if things turn out better than you thought and you don’t need the assistance.

The Chamber encourages you to assist your employees who you hope to get back when this is all over. The information regarding NC Works unemployment and the additional assistance from the Federal Government. This can also be available to you as a sole proprietor.
COVID-19 Information & Resources 
Notice: Please refer to NCDHHS for the Most Up-to-Date and Complete Information. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce is here to help! Here is quick guide for Business Owners to help navigate some of the options available to you.

Loans Available for Small Businesses Owners
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • For questions, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

This 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. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Apply for the Loan Advance:

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses
In response to the unique economic challenges of COVID-19, a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners have come together and launched an innovative recovery-lending program to help support entrepreneurs like you and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector. The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover.

Apply for a NC Rapid Recovery Loan here:

Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries due to the effects of COVID-19. 

United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund
United Way Worldwide has announced that it has established the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund to support affected communities and help the most vulnerable populations receive critical financial and social service support during the global crisis.

The CARES Act is a Federal Act just passed that aims to help the US recover from the economic impact of COVID 19. Several important issues are covered in the act. The following questions will point you in the right direction to get the process started to start receiving benefits as a business owner.

• If you are looking for capital to cover the cost of retaining employees, then the Paycheck
Protection Program might be right for you.
• If you are looking for a quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now, you
might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
• If you are looking to ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or
potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
• If you’re looking for quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain
economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet

You can get to these programs easily by following the link below.

Best Practices for Essential Business Owners:

Keep everyone healthy:
  • Have respiratory hygiene supplies available for employees and patrons throughout the facility, including hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, tissues, and lined trash cans 
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces with a cleaning agent that is effective against coronaviruses throughout the day and at close of business
  • Post signs encouraging patrons to leave immediately if they begin to show symptoms of illness, COVID-19 or otherwise. 
  • 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.
  • Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.

Continue to Plan
Make a plan for what you will do if large numbers of employees are unable to attend work,
which may occur if schools are closed or their family members are sick. Identify key positions
and cross-train staff to ensure all essential functions will be covered.
  • Cross-training employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. 

Make sure you are getting reliable, up-to-date information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NCDHHS. More business specific information is located here:
Employers should not ask for a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a medical provider for employees to return to work.

Restrictions are often issued at the state and county levels as well as at the Federal level. You should always follow the more stringent instructions to combat this virus.

You may file an attached claim for your employees. 
  • An attached claim is a claim filed by an employer on behalf of an employee who has been temporarily laid off or who has worked less than 60% of their customary scheduled full-time hours. Employers who wish to file attached claims for employees must meet the requirements of employment security law.
Employers who wish to file for their employees must:
  • Have a positive DES Employer Account balance
  • Pre-pay for all weeks filed on behalf of employees
  • Only file an Attached Claim one time per year
  • Only file for six weeks, and then employees must file UI Claims for themselves

Be wary of scams

Watauga County Sherriff Len Hagaman has shared with us that there are several scams going around as it relates to COVID-19. One of the most popular in the last 24-hours involves paying money to have your business placed on the essential business list with the State. There is NO monetary transaction that needs to take place to have your business considered for this list. Full instructions are listed at this link:

If you suspect you have been targeted by a scam, please contact the Watauga County Sheriff’s office at 828-264-3761.
App Regional Health System
If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, APHRS has arranged a safe, convenient, and cost-effective option for your screening, so that you can avoid unnecessary hospital or clinic visits. Start with a screening through a virtual physician visit for just $49.

Blowing Rock Chamber Directory is here! 
In other news, the 2020-2021 Blowing Rock Chamber Directory has arrived! 

The Chamber prints 15,000 directories. They are sent to visitors centers across the state.

App State Holding Unemployment Webinars for Students and Alumni
App State is partnering with NC Works to offer a Zoom meeting to assist students or alumni with applying for unemployment. 

The conference will be held Friday April 3 at 1:00. We will record them and have on
Member News 
BRAHM at Home
To provide some creative light to these uncertain and challenging times, they've launched #BRAHMatHome and we want to connect with you!

Join them twice daily for inspiration, knowledge, and prompts related to the Arts & Appalachia.

Experience Blowing Rock At Home
Visit for more ways to stay connected while you at home. The link includes: virtual tours, educational activities, and how to online shop! Our Blowing Rock businesses are getting creative!
Online Event and More at the Art of Living Retreat Center
Practice Spirituality Online Event
Join best-selling author and renowned master teacher, Dr. Barbara De Angelis, for this profound and experiential 1-day online journey of inspiration, healing, and wisdom. Tap into your own inner source of deep wisdom, cultivate emotional and spiritual steadiness, and experience more moments of true meaning every day.

Do you need someone to asssist you in shopping local while you're quarantined?Annette Burcham 727-365-0653 is available for hire to run errands, pick up groceries, etc. for people who want or need to stay at home.
More events can be found on our online calendar.

To submit your news to our weekly newsletter, email by Wednesday. 

Our newsletter reaches over 1,000 member contacts each Thursday!
Thank you to our 2020 Chamber Partners!

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