New Orleans & Company continues to stay engaged with local and state health department officials as well the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to stay abreast of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are working daily to keep you updated on this fluid situation as it applies to our industry.
Below you will find a library of resources to help businesses and industry workers navigate this situation, as well as updates on guidance from our health partners and restrictions put in place by the city to slow the community spread of the virus.
New Orleans is a resilient city and we will get through this together. Let’s focus on making prudent decisions, being good citizens and good neighbors and taking all advice from health experts. We will continue to update these resources and keep you apprised of this rapidly developing situation.
As we all unpack the federal economic stimulus bill, we will continue to relay to you what it means to your businesses and your employees. These two summaries from our national partners provide a helpful overview on the impact of this legislation
New federal paid leave mandates have passed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In short, most employers are now required to provide sick leave to workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and federal tax credits will be offered in an attempt to reimburse employers. The US Department of Labor is authorized to waive the mandate for some small businesses, and state officials expect that guidance by next week. Read more here.
IRS delays income tax payments. Payments originally due on April 15 can be delayed until July 15 without penalties or interest. Similarly, the new deadline for corporate tax payments up to $10 million is also July 15. For more tax information, visit the IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief website.
We are fighting as hard as we can to support and sustain our restaurants and their workers along with all our hospitality partners. We need your help to confront the economic impact of the COVID-19 head-on—as a united industry. Tell Congress and the President to support the National Restaurant Association restaurant recovery plan. This plan provides direct and targeted relief designed to benefit restaurant and foodservice businesses of every size in every corner of the country.
LDR has issued a two-month extension, to May 20, for businesses to file returns for their sales and excise taxes. According to LDR's official announcement, the extension will apply to sales, beer, and wine excise tax returns and payments for the February 2020 period. In addition, the Department will be waiving penalties and interest for returns and payments received by the extended deadline.
LDI has issued Emergency Rule 36. Under the emergency rule, health insurers must: Waive cost sharing for COVID-19 testing when ordered in accordance with CDC guidelines and are prohibited from requiring prior authorization for this testing; Permit early refills, except for drugs in certain drug classes like opioids, when consistent with doctor/pharmacist approvals; Suspend the use of step therapy; Enhance access to mail order pharmaceuticals; Continue to ensure network adequacy given the anticipated increase in demand due to COVID-19.
Entergy has suspended disconnections for at least 30 days, effective March 13. Entergy encourages customers to make payments on their accounts if they are able. However, if customers are unable to pay, Entergy will work directly with them to make arrangements. Payment options can be discussed via phone by calling 1-800-ENTERGY (800-368-3749) or online through Entergy's Account Portal.
Get the latest updates on the city’s Coronavirus at Ready.NOLA.gov and text COVIDNOLA to 888777 to receive text alerts.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA) is limiting service routes and encouraging residents to limit use of public transportation when possible unless they are traveling for essential work such as healthcare and nutrition services. New Orleans' public transportation network of ferries, buses and streetcars will be limited.
The LRA is advocating on behalf of our industry at all levels and has a variety of resources for restaurants navigating the current climate.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development have established an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19. For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll-free hotline, (833) 457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be aware that high call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voice mail or contact LED via email.
The LED team has also provided resources on their website to help determine best steps for your business to recover as Congress works to finalize elements of a national support bill to restore our economy. The LED site even includes a rumor control Twitter feed to help distinguish between rumors and facts.
As the coronavirus evolves, GNO, Inc. is focusing on business continuity to ensure that we make it through the coming challenges safeguarding economic, as well as physical, health.
GNO, Inc. has aggressively pushed for inclusion of Senator Rubio’s (R-FL) plan, which would use private banks to make quick SBA-backed loans to business. Proposed details include:
By using many of the guidelines and infrastructure of the 7(a) program, the loan will be handled by a bank, credit union or other lender in the community.
Existing 7(a) lenders are ready to go right away. Intention is to expand this list. The ideal outcome is for small businesses to be able to do all this with their own bank if they want.
The criteria for what qualifies as a small business is still being worked out, but lots of agreement that it needs to be more inclusive than current definition. The goal is to reach the largest % of Americans workers as possible.
This will not exclude any industry. It will apply to S Corp, C Corp, non-profits, partnerships, sole practitioners, etc. who meet the expanded criteria for small business.
Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. The SBA issued the official disaster declaration for Louisiana small businesses, adding a link to their website to begin receiving applications to address revenue losses related to COVID-19. Low-interest loans with long-term repayment programs are available up to $2 million. SBA staff advise the process will take approximately 30-45 days to begin receiving funds and are encouraging applications immediately. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com.
Small businesses are also advised to call your lenders. Your current bank may already be able to offer immediate bridge loan assistance or defer existing loan payments.
LABI hosted a conference call with the SBA, Monday, March 23. If you were unable to attend, you can download the SBA's PowerPoint Presentation.
Tell LABI How the Coronavirus Is Affecting Your Business - And How Officials Can Help
While the Louisiana Legislature's regular session is on hold due to COVID-19, our team at LABI is gathering both industry-specific and statewide information and suggestions for federal, state and local aid. Please click below to complete a one-question survey on the impact to your business operations.
In addition, please email LABI Senior Vice President Camille Conaway with your ideas on immediate and long-term aid: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the short term, tax relief, fast-track unemployment compensation, regulatory waivers and extensions of deadlines are just a few examples of policy improvements that might help. In the long run, we plan to also present solutions that will stimulate our economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.
Please share your experiences and ideas.
We know that our hospitality partners and workforce are suffering right now. We’ve been in touch with the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s (LWC) State Rapid Response Coordinator about a pre-layoff program designed to help companies and their employees experiencing a layoff or closing.
The LWC Rapid Response Unit is available for assistance concerning temporary or permanent layoffs due to Covid-19. Workers who are impacted by closures or reduced hours may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Under new guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, the state is now permitted to pay benefits to workers when:
An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
These new provisions do not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19, nor will employees have to conduct the usual job search required of Unemployment Compensation recipients.
As cases have reached across the state, the Louisiana Department of Health has resources available for the state's business community, including printable guides
For more information, visit LDH's coronavirus website, call the Louisiana 211 Network or text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for regular text updates from LDH on the coronavirus in our state.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed resources, guidance and information for American businesses and workers.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has also created a Disaster Help Desk for Business - an information concierge to assist small businesses with disaster readiness, relief and long-term recovery. Find the help desk online, by dialing 888-MY-BIZ-HELP or sending a message to BizHelpdesk@uschamber.com.
The CEOs of America's leading companies recognize the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis and are focused on ways to support employees, customers, communities and the country.
In response to the current and anticipated loss of revenue by gig economy workers, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) has initiated a relief fund to help support those affected. NOLABA is committing $100,000 to initiate the fund, with a goal of increasing the fund assets to a minimum of $500,000.
The Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund was created by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation - the non-profit organization that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - to support Louisiana musicians whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. The Foundation Board has dedicated $250,000 to the relief fund in this first phase of giving. The board plans to continue to explore opportunities to support Louisiana’s music culture during this crisis to expand upon its existing community support.
Local comedian, illustrator and designer, Laura Sanders, has published a list of bartenders along with their Venmo (and other payment platforms) allowing others to offer a grateful digital tip to their favorite bartenders who are being hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and shutdown. If you are a bartender –or have a bartender you’d like to see added to the list, complete the form below.
Bartenders and their families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to apply for the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. You do not need to be a member of USBG.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program (supported by Mrs. Gayle Benson, McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco®) is available to support industry workers and their families who are hardest hit by the current COVID-19 outbreak.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana and its partners, including the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, have initiated and are actively raising funds for the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund. Residents of Southeast Louisiana who have been working in a restaurant, bar or hotel may qualify for funds.
Second Harvest is responding to an increased need for food at many of their partner food pantries, and they have also launched new distribution sites to feed children, seniors, and service industry employees. Click the links below for more information. You may also reach out by dialing 211 or emailing email@example.com.
New Orleans Public Schools are providing free meals for children under 18. Click below for more details.
NOLA Tree Project, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, will be distributing hot meals to-go Monday-Friday 3-5 p.m. at their headquarters at 1509 Filmore Ave.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has gathered tools for anyone who’s employment has been impacted in any way by COVD-19.
GNO, Inc. and Work NOLA have compiled a list of immediate employment opportunities for those who are out of work.
Please use the following resource page with expert resources – including the CDC, WHO and statements from our industry partners – to share with any concerned customers.
During these stressful times, the Louisiana Department of Health has established a hotline to help residents of Louisiana cope with everything. Call the Keep Calm Through COVID hotline at 1-866-310-7977 at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. This line is for counseling only, and people calling for general information should call 211.
Contact New Orleans & Company directly should you have any industry-specific questions or concerns about the hospitality and tourism industry.