COVID-19 Updates, Guidelines, & Grants

Travel Resources & Tips

Though the headlines may be worrisome, it's important to understand the facts and relevant details for COVID-19 (or Coronavirus). ​The Centers for the Disease Control has provided tips for travelersIt's important to make responsible travel decisions, stay at home when sick, practice good hygiene, and follow the recommendations of officials, particularly for at-risk groups.

Note that events in Rogers may be cancelled and businesses may be closed as we make decisions to keep our community safe. 

By seeking and heeding the latest expert guidance—which includes vigorous use of good health practices, similar to the preventive steps recommended for the seasonal flu—America’s communities will stay strong and continue to thrive. 

Face Covering Guidance

Face coverings are encouraged to be worn completely over the mouth and nose in all indoor environments, excluding private residences, where they are exposed to non-household members and distancing of six (6) feet or more cannot be assured and in all outdoor settings, excluding private residences, where there is exposure to non-household members, unless there exists ample space of six (6) feet or more to practice physical distancing. The following shall be exempt from wearing a face covering.

Information provided by the Arkansas Department of Health

Guidelines Regarding Indoor & Outdoor Venues

Effective February 26, 2021, the Directive for Indoor & Outdoor Venues is now guidance and events are not required to submit plans to the Arkansas Department of Health for review. However, events are strongly encouraged to continue to follow the Guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Events who wish to submit a plan for feedback on where COVID-19 prevention can be enhanced may send their plans to adh.ehs@arkansas.gov. To limit the spread of COVID-19 at these events, the following guidance is provided to ensure compliance with the Directive(s). Signage pertaining to COVID-19 symptoms and exclusions may be found here.

Information provided by the Arkansas Department of Health

Grant to Aid the Arkansas Service and Hospitality Industries

As part of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, Congress passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a “Second Draw” PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans. The second round of PPP is open through March 31, 2021.
 
Congress has also made changes to other programs – including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL Program), the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Venue Grant program, and SBA loan programs –that will benefit small businesses. Here’s everything small business owners need to know now: 

  • The application period for the Business Interruption Grant has ended. Applicants were notified of grant awards from the Business Interruption Grant program on December 23, 2020.
  • The help line is no longer open. Any inquiries should go to BIGInfo@arkansas.gov.
  • Any communications regarding your grant application will come from donotreply@arbigportal.com.
  • The list of businesses and amounts received can be found here.

Information provided by ArkansasReady.com


COVID-19 Relief for the Travel Industry

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • Provides $284 billion for PPP and extends the application deadline to March 31, 2021.
  • Expands eligibility to both nonprofit and quasi-governmental destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with 300 employees or less (full time and part-time combined), as long as no more than 15% of their activities consist of lobbying activities and they did not spend more than $1 million on lobbying in 2019.
    • Sets aside at least $35 billion for eligible recipients that have not previously received a PPP loan.
  • Provides a second round of forgivable loans to businesses with 300 employees or less and a 25% decline in revenue in any quarter in 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019.
  • Expands the list of PPP-covered expenses to the cost of supplies and inventory, software and cloud-based services, uninsured damages from public disturbances in 2020, and measures to address COVID-19 health and safety guidelines (i.e. PPE)—in addition to payroll, mortgage debt interest, rent, and utilities.
  • Allows borrowers to deduct expenses covered by PPP loans from their taxes.
  • Continues to require at least 60% of loan proceeds to be used on payroll, capping covered non-payroll expenses to 40% of the loan.
  • Going forward, for both first-time and second-time PPP applicants, the loan amount is based on 2.5x average monthly payroll, up to $2 million, for each loan.
    • However, for lodging and food services businesses, the loan amount is based on 3.5x average monthly payroll, up to $2 million.
  • Expressly forbids PPP loans to publicly traded companies.

Update from 1/12/2021

The U.S. Treasury Department and SBA also released additional guidance on how to access 1st Draw Loans and 2nd Draw Loans provided by the PPP. U.S. Travel has consolidated this information into a new PPP fact sheet that includes details on the updated regulations, as well as links to relevant sites.

For more details on the below categories, please click here:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
  • Live Venue Grant Program
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund
  • Vaccines, Testing, and Contact Tracing
  • Transportation
  • Troubled Debt Restructuring
  • Airline Payroll Support Program
  • Main Street Lending Program
  • H2B Visas
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • REAL ID Transition
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Business Meal Expense Deduction
  • Payroll Tax Deferral
  • Other Tax Provisions

Information provided by U.S. Travel Association


Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

The ASBTDC offers an affordable slate of classes throughout the year to help you gain and increase knowledge & skill, expert guidance in starting or expanding your business and enhancing business technology skills. For upcoming events and webinars on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, please click here.

Upcoming webinars:

Archived webinars can be found here on topics such as Understanding the New COVID-19 Stimulus Package.

Information provided by Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Program

The National Restaurant Association released a new Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Program FAQ that answers some the most common operator questions. Many of these questions have been submitted to the Association through its new Q&A email, rrf@restaurant.org. 
 
The FAQ will be updated as details are released by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Information provided by National Restaurant Association