Concord has been rated one of the safest and best places to live - not only in New Hampshire, but in the country.
Quiet streets threaten small businesses and the health of our economy.
Members, friends and community,
Events related to the rapidly evolving Coronavirus sent shockwaves through our communities. Kids were sent home from school. Restaurants and bars were closed. Travel plans altered. As Concord and the world brace for the challenges associated with COVID-19, serving New Hampshire’s business community and our members has never felt more vital.
With that in mind, we are sharing information here that is hopefully helpful to all of you including what the state is doing, what we’re doing, and resources offered for stable businesses who want to minimize impact on staff and customers, businesses looking at temporarily closing or reducing staff, individuals who may temporarily lose their job and/or income, as well as additional ways you can help our community during this challenging time.
All NH residents can be tested for #COVID19 at fixed testing sites across NH, in addition to ConvenientMD and through your provider. Call 271-5980 or visit https://t.co/xmi2DJpt3Z to set up a test. pic.twitter.com/JVPgNAMjz5— DHHS PIO (@NHDHHSPIO) June 1, 2020
Governor Sununu has reopened the state and New Hampshire is now under a Stay Home Advisory. There is no longer a requirement that all groups of people be fewer than 10. State health officials are noticing some good signs with local COVID-19 numbers trending down but are still urging caution. They say it's still impoortant to maintain social distancing and wear coverings as more and more business sectors reopen.
NH GAP FUND
New Hampshire recently announced a new COVID-19 financial relief fund available for those unable to qualify for past federal and state programs: The New Hampshire General Assistance & Preservation (GAP) Fund .
Governor Sununu authorized the allocation and expenditure of $30M of CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (“flex funds”) for the New Hampshire General Assistance & Preservation (GAP) Fund to provide emergency financial relief to NH businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that have been unable to access support from other existing state and federal programs.
Applications for the (GAP) Fund are open and must be completed by Tuesday, Aug. 4. The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority will be administering the distribution of funding.
Visit the Governor's Office for Emergency Relief & Recovery's website for more information about both the For-Profit and Not-for-Profit eligibility criteria and to apply.
NH SELF EMPLOYED LIVELIHOOD FUND (SELF)
Self-Employed Business Owners: The SELF Grant Program application is now available and applications must be filed by 4 p.m. on Friday, July 17 . Self-employed, for-profit, businesses can find the application and eligibility criteria online.
$400,000,000 from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund was designated for small for-profit New Hampshire businesses seeking financial relief due to COVID-19 related losses. Completed applications needed to be filed by June 12, 2020 .
Make an error on your application? On June 17, the governor’s office announced it will establish an appeals process for the Main Street Relief Fund for business owners who did not receive funding because of application mistakes. It’s unclear how quickly appeals will be granted, though the process will be expedited according to the governor’s office. All businesses that get notified of a denial will receive instructions (on) how to appeal ensuring that no one is penalized for mistakenly disqualifying themselves while filling out the final grant submission incorrectly. Appeals will be handled by the NH Department of Revenue Administration. All applications will be reviewed to weed out any fraudulent claims. Learn more about the Main Street Relief Fund.
Do you manage a healthcare, childcare, or agriculture business? Visit the COVID Expenditure's web page on the Governor's Office for Economic Relief and Recovery website for more information on funding for these and other impacted industries.
The deadline for NH Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund grant program applications was June 25 at 4 p.m. More information is available on the GOFERR website.
The deadline to submit an application for CDFA’s NH Nonprofit Response Fund was Friday, June 12, 2020.
The State of NH received over 15,000 requests totaling more than 7 million masks and the free Business Mask Order program program is now concluded. Businesses in need of cloth masks can purchase masks from the State of New Hampshire or procure some from local member businesses like Gondwana , StitchesNH , Teddy's Tees or Who Doesn't Want That? .
The NH Dept. of Health and Human Services, with input from the Dept. of Education, set up an Emergency Child Care Collaborative, a public-private partnership among child care professionals, parents, regional leaders, advocates and the philanthropic and business communities, to establish a system of emergency child care for New Hampshire’s most essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations that have obtained emergency child care or need emergency child care for their employees may contact the DHHS Bureau of Child Development and Head Start Collaboration with questions on funding and other types of support. Email Dianne Chase or contact her at (603) 271-7190.
Effective April 1, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar with Checkmate HCM on March 30 covering the new rules that businesses must follow to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave to their employees. We discussed additional resources available to business owners who may be struggling to reliably pay staff during this time. You can view the program in full on our Webinars for businesses page anytime.
New to webinars or Zoom? Check out our blog, "Tips for joining a Zoom webinar."
On Friday, March 27, the President signed a massive $2 trillion emergency spending bill into law—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) Act will send cash to individual Americans, businesses and health care facilities dealing with economic insecurity from the coronavirus pandemic. It authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to send $1,200 payments to millions of Americans and creates programs to disburse close to $1 trillion in business loans and guarantees to millions of large and small companies throughout the economy. Over 80% of American adults will receive a payment.
On Friday, April 3 the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce partnered with Orr & Reno, PA and The Center for Family Enterprise/CEO Forum to host a free webinar discussing resources available to businesses who are facing challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. Orr & Reno attorneys Steven Winer, Lindsay Nadeau and Tony Sayess gave an overview of the newly instated CARES Act, including federal loans available to small businesses. We also discussed new requirements in employee family and medical and enhanced state and federal unemployment benefits. You can view the program in full on our Webinars for businesses page anytime.
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen is asking Granite Staters to send in your experiences with the coronavirus relief legislation recently passed by Congress and signed into law; specifically accessing the new law’s resources, including any difficulties they may have encountered in attempting to do so.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis . When those funds ran out, a proposed second round of funding for $310B got approved and billions of dollars in low-interest lending resumed on Monday, April 27.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Qualifying nonprofits are limited to those that organize as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) — 501(c)6 organizations are not eligible , but may apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
All loan terms will be the same for everyone. The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:
Did you receive #PPP funding and are uncertain how to ensure your #loanforgiveness ? Or are you considering applying for the program? Attend our #webinar featuring NH SBA and @OrrReno attorneys who will address some common questions about using PPP funds. https://t.co/9rY0lxlYI7 pic.twitter.com/p9MsJy2DqR— Concord Chamber (@concordchamber) April 23, 2020
The federal income tax filing due date is extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. If you owe federal taxes, tax payers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004. The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.
Governor Sununu announced on March 30 that New Hampshire would also be extending business tax deadlines to June 15 for 98% of small business owners.
— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) March 30, 2020
The State will be extending business tax payment deadlines to June 15 for 98% of New Hampshire small businesses. The State will also be extending interest and dividend payment deadlines to June 15 for 98% of interest and dividend taxpayers.
The Chamber has been in contact with our federal delegation to advocate for stimulus spending that goes to local smaller businesses in need that might not typically be on the federal radar screen.
We’ve adjusted programming to free up Healthcare professionals so they can service those in need.
We’ve embraced new technology and live streamed our recent Lunch with NH Commissioners event along with other important topics like setting up a remote workforce, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the new rules that businesses must follow to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave to their employees, and a complimentary mini-MBA program being offered to small business owners at no charge.
You can view these programs in full on our Webinars for businesses page anytime, register for upcoming topics and view previously presented informative webinars all at no charge.
We’ve rescheduled several upcoming events – scroll down for updates.
We’ve contacted members to find out what they’re doing to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on their business and updated the online business directory with new and revised services. Want to update your profile? Let us know if you have implemented changes to serve customers that we can help promote.
Reach out to fellow members for tech solutions that facilitate online meetings and work from home methods.
Follow peers online—small business owners, restauranteurs, nonprofit, local and state leaders are posting their learnings with valuable resources online. Follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and/or subscribe to their e-newsletters for informative updates.
Apply right away for the newly expanded Payroll Protection Program and keep your employees (details above).
NH Employment Security also offers WorkShare as an alternative to layoffs during a difficult time:
Employers keep trained workers and are able to get up and running to full capacity faster, without having to rehire and/or train staff.
Employees keep their jobs and receive unemployment benefits while their hours are reduced rather than eliminated; they stay partially employed instead of becoming unemployed.
Eligible WorkShare participants will receive a percentage of their weekly benefit amount equal to the percentage of the hour reduction. Weekly benefit amounts may be reduced for additional hours worked. Reductions shall be made when an employee works for a non-WorkShare employer(s) and earns more than $128.
Employees maintain their health benefits at their employer. Retirement contributions made by an employer on behalf of the employee will be based on hours worked. Any other fringe benefits may be continued or discontinued at the discretion of the employer and must be addressed in the plan.
For more information on WorkShare: Call (603) 528-9360 or email WorkShare@nhes.nh.gov.
Apply for an SBA Federal Disaster Loan - available to Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners and Renters. Specify Economic Injury in regards to business losses. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for private non-profit organizations. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Use NH Employment Security's Return to Work program:
A voluntary program that provides a structured, supervised training opportunity to unemployed individuals in NH. Eligible claimants may continue to collect unemployment compensation while in training. The training program may be up to six weeks, and a maximum of 24 hours per week. Claimants must continue to file weekly continued claims to receive benefits and conduct a work search during non-training time unless otherwise exempted.
Use NH Employment Security's Work Now NH program:
NH Employment Security will be working with WorkNowNH recipients to connect those that are job ready with available job opportunities. For those that are not job ready, they will be offered the support they need to become job ready as quickly as possible. To be eligible for WorkNowNH, participants must be a Granite Advantage beneficiary (set at 138% of the Federal Poverty Level), or Traditional Medicaid recipients. The following employment supports services are available for eligible participants:
To learn more about the program and/or eligibility requirements, contact WorkNowNH@nhes.nh.gov.
Look at Job postings from fellow members on our website. (Members, please post your open positions!).
Look at Job postings and resources on NH Employment Security’s website.
Use the Chamber Rx card to help lower the cost of prescriptions for you or your pet. There’s no cost and no paperwork. Simply present it at check-out.
Call 2-1-1 if you have questions about Coronavirus and want to talk to someone. Granite United Way's 211 NH initiative is there 24 hours a day to connect people with the resources they need in times of crisis.
You may qualify for State assistance programs like Cash, Medical, SNAP (Food Assistance), Child Care, Medicare Beneficiary and Long Term Care Assistance.
THREAD: As announced earlier this month, the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures ends tomorrow, July 1. To assist those who have struggled to pay rent, we have authorized $35M from #CARESAct funding. Call 2-1-1 or visit https://t.co/9BCHjirgCC to learn how to apply. pic.twitter.com/ufqu0cY7Mv— Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) June 30, 2020
If you are now receiving low or no income:
You can enroll in the Granite Advantage Health Care Program or other Medicaid programs if you are low or no income and need health coverage. There are also Medicaid programs available for children, pregnant women, and the medically frail. Learn more about the Granite Advantage Program on the Department of Health and Human Services website. You can enroll in the Granite Advantage Program or Medicaid coverage through NH Easy or HealthCare.gov.
There are several Medicaid Managed Care plans to choose from. Do your research to make sure that the plan you choose includes your preferred medical providers.
You Can Apply for an individual plan on HealthCare.gov
HealthCare.gov has Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) for people who may have recently lost their employer sponsored health insurance coverage, and other qualifying life events. You can apply for the SEP 60 days before you know your coverage will end and 60 days from the date you lost coverage. If you do not apply 60 days from the date your health insurance terminated, you will not be able to take advantage of the SEP.
Three-quarters of NH residents insured through the Marketplace qualified for financial assistance. There are two types of assistance available, depending on your income level. Premium Tax Credits are available to help offset premium costs, based on a sliding scale that goes up to 400% of the federal poverty level. Cost Sharing Reductions lower the amount of out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, a person or family must pay. These discounts are available for households with an income up to 250% of the federal poverty level, but can only be used with Silver level plans bought on HealthCare.gov. After completing an application on HealthCare.gov, you will learn how much assistance you qualify for, based on your tax household income.
Although this is a period of high anxiety and stress, take some time to do your research. There are many things to consider when selecting a health plan. Anthem, Ambetter by NH Healthy Families, and Harvard Pilgrim sell individual health plans on HealthCare.gov. There are different “metal levels” or tiers, depending on how much you are willing to spend each month on premiums versus how much you are willing to pay out of pocket for medical services. In addition, make sure that the plan you choose includes your preferred medical providers and prescription drugs. You can do this research on HealthCare.gov after applying for a plan or through a resource on the NH Insurance Department’s website .
You can get free enrollment help. HealthCare.gov offers a "Find Local Help" tool that you can use to look up free help in your community, including enrollment assisters and insurance agents. Free enrollment assistance is also available through a Federal Navigator by calling 1-877-211-NAVI or by visiting NH Navigator.
To start your new insurance plan, you must pay your first month’s premium by the insurance company’s due date. There are grace periods , but it may be helpful to set a reminder each month to pay your premium. If you do not pay your premium, your plan can be terminated.
COBRA & NH State Continuation Options:
When your insurance coverage is terminated, your insurance company is required to notify you of your rights. If your employer had 20 or more employees, you can select COBRA or NH State Continuation. If your employer had fewer than 20 employees, you can select NH State Continuation. These options allow you and your dependents to continue on your employer’s group health (medical and dental) benefit plan at the employer’s full price, plus a 2% administrative fee. Find more resources on COBRA and NH State Continuation on the Insurance Department’s website.
The State of New Hampshire launched 3 new platforms to help:
NHResponds.org : Secure online registration system for medical and non-medical volunteers. Whether you are a healthcare provider, administrative specialist, a retired professional - anyone ready to help your community - New Hampshire needs you.
VolunteerNH.org : If you are interested in volunteering to support NH communities during the COVID-19 outbreak, please apply.
NHeconomy.org/ppehelp : New portal for companies who can donate, or produce supplies for lab, testing, and diagnostics; personal protection equipment (PPEs), or medical or scientific expertise. Please notify the state if you can help.
Concord Hospital Trust created a COVID-19 fund to help frontline health care workers and prepare for the upcoming surge in critical patients. You can give here.
Help feed hungry New Hampshire families through a donation to NH Food Bank that will be matched by NH Charitable Foundation's Lois Roy Dickerman Fund.
The Foundation's Lois Roy Dickerman Fund is matching donations to the #NH Food Bank up to $100k! Please give today and help feed our neighbors in need. @NHFB @WMUR9 #THISisWhoWeAre https://t.co/FsTFdUCS9G— NH Charitable (@nhcfoundation) April 21, 2020
Donate to Granite United Way : GUW established a dedicated COVID-19 Relief Fund where 100% of your donation will go directly to help people across the state. You can give by texting GUWHELPS to 41444 or by clicking here .
NH Charitable Foundation created a Community Crisis Action Fund to support nonprofits assisting the most vulnerable and industries like emergency response, health and child care on the front lines of COVID-19 . Donate at www.nhcf.org .
Volunteer for Meals on Wheels NH and help deliver food to vulnerable people in the state like seniors who are isolated in their homes.
Businesses can participate in the New Hampshire Nonprofit Response Fund created by NHCDFA and NHBFA to support New Hampshire nonprofits through deferred loans and grants to qualified nonprofits. Businesses that want to participate in the Fund will receive a 75% state tax credit that can be used for up to 5 years.
Order take-out, delivery and curb-side pick-up from participating restaurants, cafés and coffee shops. Our online membership directory has the latest information on who is offering those services for customers, in the Greater Concord area and tourist regions like the Lakes and White Mountains.
Entertainment venues – purchase gift cards, make a donation, purchase tickets to a future show and donate the cost of ticket sales if events are cancelled.
Nonprofit organizations – make a donation and donate the cost of ticket sales if fundraising events are cancelled. If you are healthy, volunteer for organizations, homeless and animal shelters who might be facing a critical staff shortage. Sponsor online and rescheduled events.
Retail – Please help them thrive when, how and where you can. While stores are temporarily closed due to the Governor's stay in place order, there are lots of local retailers with shopping-enabled websites and active social media accounts ready to do business. Buy online from Baron’s , Celeste Oliva , Cobblestone , Company C , Endicott Furniture posts all their furniture online with a reference number for any questions, Fifty Home , Gibson’s Bookstore , Gondwana , Granite State Candy Shoppe , Indigo Blues & Co. , League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Concord Gallery store, Lilise Designer Resale , Runner’s Alley , True Confections Candies & Gifts , Who Doesn’t Want That? . Viking House is “only a phone call away” and offers free local delivery – they will even ship your gifts for you! Buy a bike or put one on layaway at Goodale’s or S&W Sports , and ask about discounted skis and boards at the latter. Buy gift certificates from any of the above along with Arnaldo Joseph , Cole Gardens , Concord Antiques , Joe King’s , Marshall’s Florist , Things are Cooking and Zoe & Co . Share their products on social media and why you love being a customer.
Help #SupportLocalBusinesses by purchasing a gift card for #GiftCardWednesday . If we all do a little now they will still be here for years to come, adding color, life and valuable services to our communities. Post a photo with your #giftcard and #ShopLocalNH . Let's lift #NH up!🎁 pic.twitter.com/d8dTuOEzUH— Concord Chamber (@concordchamber) April 22, 2020
Senior living – send cards and care packages to facilities closed to visitors and let residents and staff know you’re thinking of them.
Schools and area colleges – Make a donation. Offer to house a student displaced by extended spring breaks and sudden school closures.
Healthcare – Donate blood and reschedule non-urgent appointments.
Houses of worship – Mail a donation in lieu of the offering plate. Share their positive social media messages.
Wedding – Pop the question and schedule a venue for 2021! Make an appointment to talk rings , gowns or tuxedos from a local boutique. Book a photographer for an at-home family portrait session. Hire a caterer or a DJ for an upcoming birthday, reunion or anniversary bash.
The value that all these businesses and organizations add to our lives is immeasurable. Please support them when, where and how you can.