COVID-19 Resources and Updates
March 10, 2020 Update (Updated as of April 9, 2020)
On March 10th, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This would be the first of 11 Executive Orders the Governor has entered through April 9, 2020. In sum, the Orders closed NC schools, closed restaurants except for carry-out and delivery, limited gatherings to under 10 people, ordered people to stay home except for essential businesses, directed everyone to stay 6 feet apart from others, increased social distancing in stores, prohibited utlity companies from disconnecting people for nonpayment, and increased protections for those in nursing homes. The current Stay At Home Order is in effect until April 29th. For more information about economic relief, child care and food services, the state COVID-19 website at www.nc.gov/covid19 includes daily updates on COVID-19 assistance.
The South Carolina Governor entered similar orders though not as restrictive.
March 13, 2020 Update
On March 13th, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley entered an order continuing cases scheduled for court and closing North Carolina Courts for the majority of cases. The North Carolina Supreme Court has entered four additional Orders extending the time that North Carolina courts are closed and extending filing deadlines. You can read the full versions of the Orders on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website. Courts are closed for most cases through the end of May. North Carolina courts provide guidance for child custody during the pandemic.
March 19, 2020 Update
On March 16th, The South Carolina Supreme Court entered an order that Family Courts shall hear only emergency matters. You can read the full versions of the Orders on the South Carolina Judicial Branch website.
Wake County has begun rescheduling cases that were set for trial during the time the courts have been closed. Mecklenburg County will send out rescheduling notices the week of May 22nd. We expect that many cases that were set to be heard between March 13th – May 31st, will not be heard until fall. We know this is disppointing for many of our clients. We are advocating to make sure your cases will be heard as soon as they can.
April 18, 2020 Update
It is expected that South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster will enter an order on April 20th or 21st reopening SC beaches and non-essential stores. Social distancing and the governor’s stay-at-home order is likely to remain in place.
April 19, 2020 Update
We are still open, serving our current clients, and accepting new cases. New client consultations are being done by phone or video. We are fortunate that all of phone systems operate remotely. Our case files are scanned and stored electronically in the cloud. We can access all of the information we need remotely. Our employees are fully equipped to work from home.
April 23, 2020 Update
NC Governor Roy Cooper extended the stay at home order to May 8, 2020. The Governor also laid out a three phased plan for NC to reopen.
In federal news, the House passed the COVID-19 relief package to replenish funds for the Payroll Protection Program. The SBA offered new guidance on eligibly that is aimed at preventing large companies from being eligible for the loans.
April 24, 2020 Update
NC schools will continue distance learning and the school buildings will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. High school students will be able to choose between a grade or pass/withdraw. Elementary and middle school students will receive pass/withdraw grades. For more information on NC school’s response to COVID-19 visit the NCDPI website.
- IBO Update
- AP Testing Updates
- CCP Course Guidance March 27, 2020
- LEA/Charter School Guidance for Remote Learning, Evaluation of Student Progress, and Graduating Seniors March 27
- PowerSchool Document for Attendance Through May 15
- Additional Guidance for Remote Learning, Evaluation, and Graduating Seniors as of April 2
- Academic Policy Update Webinar Slides April 7
- Instructional Design Principles for Remote Teaching and Learning
- End of Year Grading and Promotion FAQ (Grades K-11) April 23, 2020
- SBE Press Release (with grading details) April 23, 2020
- Statewide Grading Policy for Grades K-11 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic-Approved by the SBE on April 23, 2020
North Carolina Resources for COVID-19
- Unemployment Information
- Case Count Dashboard
- Health Care Workers Needed
- Help for Small Businesses
- Child Care Help
- N.C. Health & Human Services
- Español: Recursos e Información
- News Releases
- Executive Orders
You can also call 2-1-1 or Text COVIDNC to 898211.
South Carolina Resources for COVID-19
- Health alerts and free telehealth providers
- SC Ermergency Management Division
- Unemployment Information
- Business Resources
- School closures, e-learning, and free school lunches
- Resources for senior citizens
- Drug abuse and recovery
Carolinas County by County Resources
Most American’s will receive a stimulus check. People who have filed taxes in the last year and who provided their banking information to the IRS will likely receive their payment via direct deposit the week of April 12th. Individuals will receive $1,200. Joint filers will receive $2,400. Parents will receive $500.00 per child that is claimed on their tax return.
The stimulus payments start to phase out at $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household, and $150,000 for joint returns.
You can check the status of your stimulus payment on the IRS website using the Get My Payment tool. If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and you didn’t provide a direct deposit account number, you can also use the website to update your information. You will get your money a lot faster using direct deposit.
The next round of payments will be made to Social Security beneficiaries who don’t file tax returns and who receive their social security benefits by direct deposit.
While the checks are generally protected form debts owed to the US government, they are not protected from all debt collectors.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, both federal and state governments have enacted legislation designed to protect consumers, suspend foreclosures, eliminate interest and forbearance on student loans, limit debt collections, stop the termination of utility service for nonpayment, and stop evictions.
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) is making its most popular publication, Surviving Debt (2020) free to download.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act,”
The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It provides many provisions that protect consumers and businesses during this pandemic crisis.
Stop Foreclosure on Your Home
Under the CARES Act, your bank or mortgage servicer cannot initiate the foreclosure process, move for a foreclosure judgment, order a sale, or execute a foreclosure eviction or foreclosure sale, provided that your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or owned, insured, or guaranteed by the FHA, VA, or USDA. About two-thirds of home mortgages are federally backed. This provision last until May 18, 2020. § 4022(c)(2).
If you are one of the one-third of homeowners who does not have a federally-backed mortgage, you will have to rely on state laws for protection from foreclosure.
From now through December 31, 2020, homeowners with federally backed mortgages can also request that your bank suspend your mortgage payments for up to 6 months. After that 6 months, you can request another six months. This means that you can request that your mortgage payments are suspended for up to one year. During the time your payments are in forbearance or suspended, no fees, penalties, or interest shall accrue on your account. See § 4022(b), (c)(1).
The CARES Act also provides for forbearance rights for people who own multi-family properties of 5 or more units. The tenants living in the properties are also protected from eviction. See CARES Act § 4023.
Avoid Being Evicted from Your Home
Tenants living in a home or apartment complex, that is secured by a federally backed mortgage or that participates in a federal housing program, are protected from eviction. You cannot be evicted for 120 days starting on March 27, 2020.
Many states have also enacted laws to stop evictions during the pandemic. See full list here.
North Carolina’s Order of Supreme Court extends deadlines for filing pleadings, motions, notices, other documents and performing required “acts” in civil proceedings, including “special proceedings” (foreclosure proceedings) until April 17, 2020.
South Carolina (judicial foreclosure): Order of Supreme Court of South Carolina, Re: Statewide Evictions and Foreclosures (March 18, 2020): Orders statewide moratorium on foreclosure hearings, foreclosure sales, writs of ejectment, all matters relating to foreclosures until further order of Chief Justice.
Appraisals for Mortgage Loans
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA to allow appraisals without interior inspections:
Fannie Mae: Lender Letter (LL-2020-04) (Mar. 23, 2020)
Freddie Mac: Bulletin 2020-5
CARES Act Relief for Student Loans
Borrower payments on Direct Loans and FFEL loans that are owned by the U.S. Department of Education are suspended through September 30, 2020. See CARES Act § 3513(a).
During the time that your payments are suspended the loans will not accrue any interest, and it will not impact your credit in a negative way. The Cares Act does not protect borrowers who have Perkins Loans or private student loans.
On March 20, 2020, The Department of Education issued a press release, announcing that all borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of 60 days. Borrowers also have the option to suspend payments for the next two months.
For additional information on student loan forbearance see the Department of Education’s website.
Avoid Having Your Utilities Disconnected
About half of the states, including North Carolina and South Carolina have ordered that utilities not be disconnected during the pandemic. Many utility companies have also voluntarily agreed to suspend disconnections. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s March 31, 2020 Executive Order, provided that utility companies (electric, gas, water, or wastewater) cannot disconnect services for nonpayment for the next 60 days. The order also provided that the utility company cannot bill or collect late fees, penalties, or interest on a late payment that becomes due from the date of the order. And it allows customers the ability to make reasonable payment arrangements to pay off the balance over at least six months.
Small Business COVID-19 Resources
Main Street Business Lending Program:
The Federal Reserve announced the establishment of a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to eligible small-and-medium sized businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic complementing efforts by the SBA.
- The Interest rate on Main Street Loans are variable and right now range from 2.5 percent to 4 percent;
- The repayment term is four years;
- Amortization of principal and interest deferred for one year;
- The smallest loan amount is $1 million and the maximum loan is $25 million (ii) an amount that, when added to the Eligible Borrower’s existing outstanding and committed but undrawn debt, does not exceed four times the Eligible Borrower’s 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”);
- US companies with fewer than 10,000 employees or up to $2.5 billion in 2019 annual revenues may apply;
- Main Street Loans are not forgiven like the PPP loans. They must be repaid;
- Prepayment is permitted without penalty;
- The loan cannot be used to pay off other debt;
- The loan is unsecured.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020, provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.
Deferral of Employment Tax Deposits
The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes. See the IRS website for FAQs.
Paid Sick Leave
The FFCRA provides that employees of an eligible employer can receive two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave at 100% of the employee’s pay if the employee is unable to work because they have COVID-19 or they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a diagnosis.
Employers may receive a refundable sick leave credit for the sick leave the at employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 a day and $5,110 in total for the 10 days.
An employee who is out of work because they are caring for someone with COVID-19 or is caring for a child because the child’s school or daycare closed may receive two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave at 2/3 the employee’s pay.
Employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 for the ten-day total. Eligible employers are also entitled to an additional tax credit for maintaining the employee on health insurance coverage and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
Child Care Leave Credit
In addition to the sick leave credit, an employee who is unable to work because their child’s school or day care is closed may receive up to 10 weeks of pay at two-thirds the employee’s pay.
Employers may claim a tax credit for up to two-thirds the employee’s regular pay, up to $200 per day or $10,000 total.
Eligible employers are also entitled to an additional tax credit for maintaining the employee on health insurance coverage and the employer’s share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
See the U.S. Department of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers for more information.
Employee Retention Credit
Eligible employers can claim the employee retention credit, a refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (including health plan expenses), paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021.
Employers qualify if they fall into one of two categories:
- The employer’s business has been partially or fully suspended due to governmental orders due to COVID-19, or
- The employer’s business gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019.
The refundable credit is 50% of qualifying wages which includes the employer portion of health insurance paid up to $10,000 in total. Eligible employers can reduce federal employment tax deposits in anticipation of the credit. They can also request an advance of the employee retention credit for any amounts not covered by the reduction in deposits.
Small Business Grants and Resources
Inc. Magazine has a good list of grants and resources for small businesses.
North Carolina has created Rapid Recovery Loans for businesses across the state. Loans are available in amounts up to $50,000, capped at two months of current revenue. The loans come with six months at 0% interest and no required payments and then will be subject to four-year repayment terms at 5.5% interest.
Who’s eligible: Small businesses with at least one employee in North Carolina, which can include a self-employed owner.
How to apply: Apply online.