Local & State Resources
Local station WJCL is soliciting videos from local businesses remaining open during these trying times. Send a 30-second “selfie”-style video with the business name, location and what you’re doing in the current challenges (for example, car-side take-out service but no dine-in, free delivery, free shipping on online orders, etc). Click here to see an example made by Capital Bee Co. Send your completed videos to the station via Facebook, Instagram or email at news@WJCL.com.
Gannett/the Savannah Morning News, part of the USA Today Network
Gannett, the owner of the Savannah Morning News, announced the launch of Support Local, a platform to help communities support and access small businesses all across the nation that are facing significant economic challenges due to the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Gannett created Support Local to provide communities with an easy way to discover opportunities to help their favorite local businesses and access special services they may be providing during these times. The site, which provides free business listings, allows readers to search by city, and filter by categories such as restaurants, bars, cafes, and bakeries. It currently promotes the purchase of restaurant gift cards and will be adding additional features like special hours, remote access, delivery services, and special offers as alternative means to provide support. To find or add a local business in your community to the new Support Local site, please visit SupportLocal.USAToday.com.
Small Business Assistance Corporation
SBAC has announced the release of federal funds from the SBAC Recovery Loan Program, which serves small businesses in Chatham, Bryan, Bulloch, Effingham, Liberty and Long counties as well as Hampton, Jasper, Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, and Dorchester counties in South Carolina.
The funding will provide up to $50,000 for qualified borrowers to replace lost inventory or manage excess inventory, provide cash for payroll, or to resume normal commercial operations disrupted by closing. Financing will have a maximum term of 36 months with rates as low as 6%. Borrowers must be an existing business, provide their 2018/2019 business tax return or current financial statements, and a current business license. All loans subject to funds availability and prudent business lending practices. Click here for more information on the SBAC, and click here for a short informational video on the Loan Recovery Program.
SCCPSS began offering free meals to its students this week during the mandated school closure. In an effort to expand the district’s reach and better serve our families, SCCPSS will begin meal delivery by school bus. Beginning Thursday, March 26, free meals will be distributed to families at more than 400 bus stops across the county. On Thursday, meals for Thursday and Friday will be delivered by school bus. Buses will not run on Friday, March 27. While there is a “shelter-at-home” order in effect for the City of Savannah, families may proceed to the stops for the purpose of receiving food as an essential need. SCCPSS Campus Police will provide security on board the bus and will offer traffic support as appropriate. Motorists are encouraged to be alert on Thursday from 10 a.m.-noon as school buses will be on the roadways and in the community making various stops to provide food for families. Click here for food delivery locations and times; look for the route departing from the school closest to you to find your closest stop and time. Students must be accompanied by adults for federal and state record-keeping purposes. Click here for more information on this program.
Georgia Department of Labor
In response to the recent development of COVID-19, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is suspending in-person requirements for services provided by the agency. In accordance with Governor Kemp’s recommendation, the GDOL is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers, and other reemployment services. Approved unemployment claims are payable as soon as processed. Click here for more information from the Georgia Department of Labor. All Georgia employers are required to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees who work less than full time due to COVID-19-related full or partial shutdown of business.
Georgia Insurance Commission
The Georgia Insurance Commissioner has issued a directive aimed at assisting individuals and business impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 public health challenge. Specifically, the directive asks labs providing COVID-19 testing to be mindful of what they charge and requests that insurers reimburse those labs at an in-network rate. The directive also states that the department will expedite the review process for any carrier or broker interested in offering business interruption coverage specifically tailored towards potential losses due to COVID-19. It also supports local insurance agents by waiving their continuing education (CE) requirements needed for license renewal through April 30, 2020. Click here to read the directive.
Savannah SCORE Business Mentoring
The COVID-19 emergency is causing many businesses, especially small businesses, to experience significant challenges. The Savannah chapter of SCORE wants its fellow Chamber members to know that their team of 45 expert business mentors is still available to provide free business mentoring services to help them navigate these uncharted waters. Mentors can work with clients remotely via phone, video or email. To talk to a SCORE mentor about your business situation, visit Savannah.SCORE.org and click on Find a Mentor, or call 912-652-4335.
AT&T Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund
AT&T is creating a Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to give parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning. The fund is launching with its first contribution of $1 million to Khan Academy. Available in more than 40 languages, Khan Academy offers educational practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empowers students to study at home. Khan Academy also offers free tools for teachers and parents to help them track student progress. Learn more at KhanAcademy.org.
YMCA of Coastal Georgia
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia is announcing dedicated childcare services for Critical Professionals working to fight the COVID-19 virus and who are essential to the community fight against this global pandemic. Critical Professionals are those working the front line to protect, treat, diagnose and help stop the spread of COVID-19. Click here for a list of critical professionals whose can access free childcare at the Y.
Salvation Army of Savannah
Salvation Army of Savannah is expanding its emergency shelter facilities by preparing overnight accommodation at its Bee Road location in addition to its existing Montgomery Street shelter. This action has been taken to meet the significant increase in demand as other shelters are closing in our area and to improve levels of social distancing between residents in line with CDC guidance. The Salvation Army of Savannah is also launching a new appeal for donations and is asking people to support those in need by calling 912-200-3004 or to donate online at SalvationArmyGeorgia.org/Savannah.
Local organizations have created fundraising tee shirt designs with proceeds going to support local small businesses and workers in need. Click here to find out more about the Savannah Strong shirt by Celebritees and #Support912 shirt by Specialty Sports.
Comcast is offering free access to its Xfinity WiFi hot spots for everyone, including non-subscribers, for 60 days and providing unlimited data to its customers for no extra charge.
All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 per month through their Access from AT&T program. They have expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start. Additionally, AT&T is offering new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.
None of the three will be disconnecting internet service or charging late fees for customers who say they can’t pay their bills.
Capital One, Citi and Wells Fargo banks have all issued statements indicating that they are willing to work with customers that experience financial difficulties. Citi issued a statement that for 30 days, small business customers are eligible to have their monthly service fees waived. Citi is also waiving the fees on early CD withdrawals. Wells Fargo donated $6.25 million in aid to help the public relief effort. The bank also encouraged customers that are experiencing financial hardship to contact customer service for assistance.
Chatham County Commission
The Chatham County Commission Chairman Al Scott signed a resolution on Sunday, March 22, officially declaring a state of emergency in Chatham County.
The resolution includes the following:
- All houses of worship shall strive for social distancing and density reduction. They are encouraged to use social media and video outlets to broadcast worship services.
- To the extent feasible, it is encouraged that citizens not congregate in groups larger than 10 at any location except in an authorized, official government capacity.
- It is encouraged that all citizens of Chatham County limit all travel outside of Chatham County as much as possible.
- Any person showing symptoms recognized by the CDC as indicators of COVID-19 shall refrain from entering public buildings, restaurants, shops, public transportation facilities and all other areas where the public ingresses or egresses. Such persons should seek medical attention and follow the directions of their primary care physician until given clearance to return to public interaction.
For more information on this declaration, read the full text here.