COVID-19 Business Resources

The Town of Forest City has created this page in an effort to streamline information about small business resources regarding COVID-19. We will update this page as we continue to receive more information.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything that the Town can help you with. We are here to help in any way we can, and we appreciate everything you are doing to press on during this time!

For questions and concerns, please contact Amy Bridges at 828.447.1730 or and Courtney Ashley at 828.748.4861 or


The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and Rutherford County Economic Development have teamed up to provide an Emergency Small Business Assistance Grant in an amount up to $2,500 for qualifying Rutherford County businesses. Together, these two organizations are committed to help the Rutherford County business community during these uncertain times. They understand that COVID-19 and the corresponding mandatory closure or change in service requirements could jeopardize many local small businesses. In an effort to ensure businesses remain viable and doors are able to reopen, an emergency grant program has been created to offer funding to help cover fixed operation costs for our most vulnerable businesses.


  • Funding for eligible operational costs (i.e. rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.) incurred between May 1 through 31, 2020.
  • Maximum grant amount is $2,500 per company with like ownership.
  • Grants will be distributed once approved by a review team.


  • Business has a physical presence in Rutherford County and can show direct impact by the government-mandated shut down due to COVID-19.
  • Business has 20 or less FTE (full-time equivalent employees) in Rutherford County.
  • Business is in good standing with regard to state and local taxes and licenses.
  • Business can provide information to support operational expenses.
  • Exclusions: national and regional chains with no local ownership.
  • Local franchise owners can apply.
  • There is a scoring matrix that will ultimately determine if a company qualifies for the grant dollars and the level that will be awarded.

Between May 4 and May 15, you can visit the Rutherford County Economic Development or Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for more details and a link to the application.


Congress passed a massive piece of legislation, the CARES Act. This comprehensive act approaches the COVID-19 crisis from every angle. This is the latest and most expansive information the relief bills passed along with the most recent updates.

This email includes: fact sheets from most of the House Committees detailing the programs enacted and funded under their jurisdiction, detailed reports from the Congressional Research Service on several of the tax provisions, the direct payments to individuals and unemployment insurance expansion – and lastly, several of the documents just released yesterday from the Department of the Treasury issuing guidance for the Paycheck Protection Act. This is the loan program that provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities provided certain requirements are met.

Some of the items contained in these documents you are more likely to find some answers to your questions:

  1. A topline summary of the entire CARES Act.
  2. Info on the direct payments to individuals. This is one of the items that people obviously have the most questions about.
  3. Small Business disaster loans that were triggered by the SBA disaster declaration and authorized in the first two pieces of Coronavirus legislation.
  4. "Payroll Protection Loans" – I've included quite a bit of info on these as the guidance was just released on them. These are SBA backed loans that are issued by any FDIC-insured financial institution. They are also eligible for forgiveness if they are used for payroll.
  5. Info on bridge loans and other funding for 501 (c) (3) organizations.
  6. Info on expanded Unemployment benefits. The federal government is providing an additional $600 in weekly federal assistance. The additional $600 in federal benefits will be for weeks ending April 4 – July 31. Eligibility requirements have also been expanded to include the self-employed, sole proprietors, etc. However, all COVID-19 related unemployment claims and all associated rules are managed and enforced by the NC Division of Employment Security (NDCDES). NCDES is awaiting guidance for issuing those payments. Any benefits owed will be paid retroactively. The best source for information about filing claims and learning about employer responsibilities is the following NCDES Link: I have included further details.
  7. Info on the temporary suspension of payments for federal student loans. The Act also revises provisions related to campus-based aid, supplemental educational-opportunity grants, federal work-study, subsidized loans, Pell grants, and foreign institutions.

We encourage you to read through it all when you are able.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers
employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration has released initial guidelines; they are available at The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals check eligibility and prepare to file for a loan. Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. They will begin taking applications in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can sign up to receive more information when it becomes available. For additional resources about how you can help your business prepare for and manage through disruptions such as COVID-19, visit their recently-launched Business Resource Hub.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

SBA Disaster Relief Loan

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C. and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

SBA Disaster Relief Loan

NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund

Any hospitality employee of a North Carolina restaurant or hotel facing significant financial hardship due to a lay-off, furlough or reduction in hours as a direct result of the Coronavirus Pandemic – COVID-19. Examples include but are not limited to: cook, server, dishwasher, housekeeper, bartender.

NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

The Golden LEAF Foundation announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund and Thread Capital.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

IPDC Information

On behalf of the Isothermal Planning Development Commission (IPDC) and the Region C Workforce Development Board, we want to make our small businesses aware of the services that IPDC can provide to businesses that are looking for COVID-19 related disaster assistance, and that are dealing with COVID-19 related layoffs.

IPDC is available to assist local businesses with grant/loan applications and employer needs (ex. unemployment, employee needs, etc). IPDC is utilizing their website to share resources available for businesses and individuals (, and they are updating this information daily. They are also sharing community updates and resources on their Facebook page (

If your business is looking to apply for a COVID-19 disaster assistance loan program through SBA, GoldenLEAF or another organization, IPDC staff can assist you. They can help you complete and file your application or assist you with any questions you may have during the application process. Please reach out to Steve Lockett (, Sarah Kopkin ( or Nick Byrd (

If your business is having to lay off employees or even shut down, IPDC has resources that can assist you. Please reach out to Steve Lockett ( or Patty Thompson (

If your business is looking to hire people during this time, IPDC can help you promote the job openings, and help you screen candidates. Please reach out to Sarah Crank ( or Annette Staley (