This is a challenging time to be a business owner. The ramifications of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have created an atmosphere of uncertainty in the Florida economy. Although, we in the Greater Orlando area are faring better than some other areas in Florida, and nationally, local businesses are facing unprecedented financial, legal and operational challenges.
Despite the uncertain nature of the current crisis, we will recover. Some businesses, due to the necessity of social distancing and stay-at-home-orders, will find it harder than others to stay open and maintain viability. For other businesses, there will be disruptions. Those disruptions will have financial and legal implications.
However, there is help available. Billions of dollars in aid are available from both State and Federal relief programs, designed to address many of the business related financial issues resulting from the pandemic.
Attorneys at Walsh Banks Law are committed to helping local Orlando businesses navigate these troubling times. We provide both strategic counsel and representation guiding clients through the key legal and business issues stemming from Coronavirus pandemic.
Ways Walsh Banks Law Can Help You and Your Business
Walsh Banks Law primarily focuses on small and medium sized businesses located in Orlando, Florida and the surrounding areas. Being a small business ourselves, we understand the unique challenges you face. Our attorneys are ready to provide practical guidance and representation on a wide variety of unique legal issues impacting business operations during these trying times.
Our goal is to help clients recover and maintain business continuity by working with them to resolve immediate short term issues and develop long term strategies to anticipate and mitigate risks associated with operating their business in these uncertain times.
Here are a few examples of where we may be able to help you and your business:
- Help navigating through the necessary procedures for obtaining federal and state financial assistance – Cares Act and SBA emergency financing programs, and programs provided by the State of Florida.
- Business continuity plan evaluation and implementation.
- Updating business continuity plans to reflect current economic, business, and regulatory environments.
- Review, alter, develop business succession and interruption plans.
- Complying with new government regulations and mandates related to Coronavirus.
- Understanding and complying with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
- Reviewing and developing employee wage and leave rules compliant with regulations.
- Updating employee policies (Handbook) to reflect the current environment; including, work from home policies, and work from home reimbursement.
- Review contract obligations – levels of liability, Force Majeure, impossibility of performance, terminations.
- Counseling on alternatives to Force Majeure and breach of contract lawsuits.
- Advise on strengthening future contract protective clauses.
- Advise on the implications of tax changes and developments, resulting from the impact of losses due to Covid-19, and relief packages.
- Review commercial leases and advise on, for both landlords and tenants, provisions covering ceasing operations or nonpayment of rent; as well as, negotiate remedies.
- Negotiate commercial real estate and equipment leases adding provisions for the current economic environment.
- Represent and counsel on extending real estate closing date deadlines, and other contract periods, including inspection and termination dates.
- Represent and counsel on construction contract timelines and renovation / completion delays.
- Review business interruption insurance and other policies for qualified relief.
- Review franchise agreements for potential relief and implications of modifying or suspending rights or obligations and negotiate solutions when possible.
- Representation for any business, contract, franchise litigation that may arise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Advise and help properly close a business that is no longer viable.
Relief Funds Available for Small and Medium Sized Business
There are a variety loan and grant programs available to help businesses through the crisis. The information in this section is intended to provide a brief overview of some of the resources that are available. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel and outline each program here. Especially since there are a number of other great resources already out there. But we have listed the primary programs with brief descriptions with links to more extensive information
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the CARES Act
The CARES Act provides emergency assistance to families and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides for 2.3 trillion dollars in economic relief funds. It also tasks the SBA and Treasury Department to oversee the distribution of those funds.
There are several provisions that relate specifically to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic. The following resources will help you make good informed decisions.
Detailed Resources On The Programs Available Through the Cares Act
The following three resources are, by far, the most detailed, yet concise, resources we have found.
- How the CARES Act impacts business – By the Orlando Economic Partnership
- Business Assistance Programs FAQs – By the Orlando Economic Partnership
- CARES Act Opportunities Summary – By the Orlando Economic Partnership
More General Overview Resources
- Florida Chamber of Commerce Guide to COVID-19 Small Business Assistance
- Florida Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Disaster Recovery Resources
- U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Resources Related to the CARES Act
- Private Sector COVID-19 Support Resources
- OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
SBA Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP ) Loans
This is an expansion of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program. Interest on these loans is expected to be lower than 4%. Portions of the loan, with stipulations, may be forgiven. They are available for for-profit, non-profit businesses and veteran organizations with fewer than 500 employees. Loans can be used for payroll, insurance, and some debt obligations.
- Treasury Department Fact Sheet on PPP Loans
- Treasury Department FAQ for the PPP Loan Program
- Small Business Administration information on PPP loans and more information here.
- Local Orlando resources related to the PPP program (List of Banks)
- Download PPP application form
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program EIDL (Currently on hold)
This program has been around since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan program is specifically for small businesses and private non-profit organizations that have been impacted be certain types of disasters. Qualifying businesses can obtain a maximum of a $2,000,000 loan. Repayment is spread over 30 years. And, usually carries an interest rate of less than 4%.
The CARES Act made it easier for businesses affected by the pandemic to obtain a loan. The CARES Act also provided for $10,000 forgivable advances. That advance must be applied to payroll. Learn more about the EIDL program
SBA Express Bridge Loan Program
Similar to the EIDL program, the Express Bridge Loan Program is an existing SBA loan program. It They are intended to help small businesses overcome a temporary loss of revenue, by providing access to $25,000 quickly. The program requires less documentation and paperwork. Learn more with the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program Guide.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
The Employee Retention Tax Credit is a provision of the CARES Act. It is a fully refundable credit aimed at encouraging employers to retain employees. It provides a refundable credit of up to 50% of qualified wages; at a maximum of $5000 per employee. Learn more about the Employee Retention Tax Credit Program
Major business disruptions, caused by the Coronavirus, are expected to continue. Even after the pandemic is under control, it will take several months before the recovery is in full swing. Work with our attorneys now to resolve short term business problems and develop a long-term strategic plan to successfully navigate your business through these uncertain times to future prosperity.
We are here to help you resolve both practical business problems and legal issues as they evolve; as well as, business continuity issues arising from the Coronavirus pandemic.