50-state guide to COVID-19 business resources
April 7, 2020 | 6:05 pm CDT

While the health toll of the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be seen, it is clear already that businesses in general and the woodworking industry in particular face serious economic impacts.

Those impacts include forced closures, loss of business, disruption of supply chains, cancelled orders, and challenges to meet social distancing requirements while maintaining manufacturing production. Woodworking Network surveyed the industry in March and found the vast majority expecting serious disruptions in business but still optimistic about the future. However, that optimism came with some confusion about what resources would be available to economically survive the pandemic and where to go for help. There is also plenty of confusion over whether woodworking businesses fall under the heading of "essential services."

Both state and federal officials have recognized the economic damage the pandemic has wreaked and that the fallout will likely continue for a long time. A number of programs have been launched to aid businesses of all sizes in the wake of the virus. But there is a wide variance in what programs are available in each state and where to find information about those programs.

As a service to the industry, Woodworking Network editors gathered basic information and key links to help steer businesses to the right places in their states to find help fast. Click on your state in the interactive map to go directly to the individual state resource information or scroll down in the copy to find your state. (If you are in Canada, there is a separate article detailing resources from the federal government and individual provinces.)

Michaelle Bradford, Robert Dalheim, Karl Forth, and Karen Koenig all contributed to this report.


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Governor Kay Ivey announced the formation of a COVID-19 Task Force of cabinet and state agency officials, as well as disease specialists and issued a state of emergency for Alabama on March 13. Small businesses are eligible for assistance under the U.S. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The state income tax filing due date was extended from April 15 to July 15.

On March 26, Ivey issued a memo on flexibilities for unemployment insurance claims. The state is waiving the work search, wait week, and good cause provisions and waiving all charges against employers who file partial unemployment compensation claims on behalf of their employees, until further notice. A stay-at-home order was issued April 3.

Resource page: https://governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/covid-19/

Business resources: https://www.madeinalabama.com/why-alabama/covid-19-resources/

Essential services (allowed  to remain open): Construction and construction-related services, including building and construction, lumber, building materials and hardware businesses, other construction tradesmen and tradeswomen, and other skilled trades, and other related construction firms. https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/04/Final-Statewide-Order-4.3.2020.pdf


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On March 17, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced the creation of the Alaska Economic Stabilization Team. The plan includes loans for businesses, emergency unemployment funds, and a student loan interest waiver. https://gov.alaska.gov/home/covid-19-economic-plan/

Resource page: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx

Business resources: https://www.alaskachamber.com/business-resources-for-coronavirus/

Essential services: Alaska has a stay-at-home order for non-essential businesses. Wood products isn't mentioned in the governor's document, but construction and home building are considered essential. https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03232020-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-010-Attachment-A.pdf


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On March 19, Arizona announced that the SBA approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration that will help small businesses. An executive order waived the one-week waiting period after an employee loses a job before unemployment can be filed. Work search requirements were also waived. If your business makes less than $250,000 a year and is the sole income source of your family, you can apply for relief funds from the private Local Arizona first. https://www.localfirstaz.com/small-business-relief-fund. Arizonian’s can donate to a state-wide relief fund here https://www.azcommerce.com/covid-19

Resource page: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home

Business resources: https://www.azcommerce.com/covid-19

Essential services: Arizona has issued a stay-at-home order for non-essential travel. Essential businesses include construction, hardware stores, building and construction trades, manufacturing companies, and businesses that “sell, manufacture, or supply products needed to conduct social learning or working remotely.” A full list can be found here: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/03/list-essential-services


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Gov. Asa Hutchinson directed the Arkansas Department of Commerce to expedite unemployment benefits to assist Arkansans whose employment status may be impacted by COVID-19, including waiving the waiting period and work-search requirements for 30 days, and allowing the unemployed to apply for benefits online or by telephone.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission established a $7 million loan program to provide assistance to businesses and the Quick Action Loan Program to prioritize small to medium-sized businesses. On March 18, the governor made a formal request for a disaster declaration for small businesses, which will open up loans of up to $2 million in working capital from the Community Development Block Grant and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund. The state will also allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help mid-size companies and nonprofits remain open.

Resource page: https://govstatus.egov.com/ar-covid-19

Business resources: https://www.arkansasedc.com/covid19

Essential services: Arkansas has not issued a stay-at-home order.


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On March 12, California waived the one-week waiting period for unemployed people to apply for unemployment. On March 16, homeowners and evictions were halted. On March 22, the state’s disaster declaration was approved by President Trump. On April 2, the state announced help for small businesses and workers displaced by the virus https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/04/02/governor-newsom-announces-new-help-for-small-businesses-workers-displaced-by-covid-19/

In San Francisco, businesses with between one and five employees can apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding to help cover rent and employee salaries. https://oewd.org/covid-19-small-business-resiliency-fund

Businesses in Los Angeles that are responsible for providing low-income jobs can get an emergency microloan of $5,000 to $20,000. https://ewddlacity.com/index.php/microloan-program

Resource page: https://covid19.ca.gov/

Business resources: https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/

Essential services: Essential workers include construction material suppliers, workers who contribute to the “essential operation of residences”, and workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including timber, paper, and other wood products. A comprehensive list can be found here https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf


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The State of Colorado and City of Denver both announced initial economic relief packages to try to help businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus, and directed state agencies to start rulemaking to help people missing work. The Small Business Administration had granted disaster relief for small business loans in Colorado under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

Resource page: https://choosecolorado.com/

Business resources: https://www.coloradosbdc.org/covid/

Business health guidance: https://choosecolorado.com/covid19/

Essential services: A March 25 executive order by Gov. Polis orders Coloradans to stay in place with exemptions for some manufacturers. See https://covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs


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Gov. Ned Lamont declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies on March 10. The declarations triggered price gouging laws, and gave municipal leaders emergency powers to mitigate disasters and emergencies. The governer asked the Small Business Administration issue a declaration enabling Connecticut’s small business owners to receive disaster assistance and extended the state deadline to file state business tax returns. Small businesses in Connecticut that have been negatively impacted by outbreak are eligible for disaster relief loans of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Lamont joined the governors of New York and New Jersey in announcing a regional approach to combatting the virus in the tri-state area; Pennsylvania later joined the effort. The Department of Economic and Community Development launched its COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit to aid businesses in economic recovery.

On March 20, Lamont issued an executive order directing all non-essential businesses to prohibit all in-person functions. The Department of Revenue Services (DRS) announced that it would grant a two-month extension of filing and payment deadlines for certain small businesses. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development offers business resources through the state’s Coronavirus website, including: A Small Business “hotline” phone number; tax filing extensions from the Department of Revenue Services; information on business interruption insurance from the state’s Insurance Department; and information on SBA assistance and unemployment assistance.

Resource page: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus

Business resources: Includes information about Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit (860-500-2333), Small business owner's guide to the CARES Act, Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program, SBA assistance, Tax deadline extensions, Unemployment assistance, Business Interruption Insurance, Reimbursement of medical leave costs for small and medium-sized businesses. https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Information-For/Business-Resources

Business guidance: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Business-Exemptions-for-Coronavirus

Essential services: “All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture, and related support businesses.” Also, Construction, including all skilled trades.


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Gov. John Carney on March 12 issued a State of Emergency declaration. The Department of Labor (DOL) has begun processing unemployment claims as they are received with the goal of benefits becoming available within a week. The governor on March 22 ordered residents to stay at home whenever possible and closed all non-essential businesses in Delaware. The next day, Carney declared a Public Health Emergency. The governor on April 1 ordered essential businesses to limit public gatherings to 10 people through May 15, or until the public health threat has been eliminated.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/

Business resources: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/resources-for-businesses/

Essential services: Includes building construction, forestry and logging, wood products manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, furniture and related product manufacturing. https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/177/2020/03/DE-Industry-List-3.26-4-pm.pdf


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Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency March 9 and on March 12, the Business Damage Assessment survey was activated to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s local business operations. The Business Damage Assessment Survey can be taken online at https://floridadisaster.biz/. Surveys submitted by small businesses can be used to access the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, activated March 16, is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19.

DeSantis has required those traveling to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the state and that airline travelers from the New York City area, self-quarantine for 14 days. The order also includes people from Louisiana who enter the state on Interstate 10. On April 1, DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective April 2 which lasts for at least 30 days.

Resource page:  https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/

Business resources: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/businesses/

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses for construction and building trades. https://s33330.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Executive-Order-20-91-Essential-Services.pdf


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Governor Brian Kemp announced a task force to assess the state’s response and procedures for preventing, identifying, and addressing cases of COVID-19 and requested 100 million in state funds to fight the virus. Georgia’s fiscal year 2020 budget was amended to tap into the state’s rainy-day fund for $100 million to combat COVID-19.

Kemp also signed an executive order allowing Georgia’s labor department to extend unemployment benefits to 26 weeks, and the order exempts the first $300 of wages earned in a week from counting against eligible unemployment benefits paid.

Georgia issued a statewide shelter-in-place order April 2, which lasts until April 13.

Resource page: https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus

Business resources: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-businesses-and-employers

Essential services: Necessary travel permitted under the order is limited to essential services, minimum basic operations and critical   infrastructure as defined by CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades. https://gov.georgia.gov/document/2020-executive-order/04022001/download


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On March 20, Governor David Ige announced that Hawaii small businesses may now file for low-interest working capital loans from the SBA. The state will interpret Hawaii’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover those who are out of work because of COVID-19.

The Governor and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced the launch of the Reducing Unemployment Disruption & Driving Economic Regeneration (RUDDER) program, an economic regeneration initiative that provides State Employment & Training Funds that serve as the foundational strategy for aligning federal workforce programs, such as the Disaster Recovery grants. http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/main/rudder/

The Bank of Hawaii is offering financial assistance for its customers, and it has also compiled a list of other resources: https://www.boh.com/insights/covid-19-assistance-resources-for-hawaii-residents

Resource page: https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/

Business resources: https://dbedt.hawaii.gov/

Essential services: Hawaii has issued a stay-at-home order for all non-essential travel. Non-essential businesses must close. Listed essential businesses include hardware stores, building and construction tradespeople, businesses that supply materials needed for at-home work, and businesses that make products used by essential businesses and operations. The full list can be found here: https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/03/24/live-governor-expected-issue-statewide-stay-at-home-order-coronavirus-cases-swell/


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A request for low-interest loans from the SBA was approved March 23. On March 27, Gov. Brad Little announced the state would receive $1.25 billion in federal aid. Little directed all non-essential businesses to close until late April. Essential businesses must direct employees to remain at least six feet from one another and to wash hands for at least 20 seconds.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/

Business resources: https://commerce.idaho.gov/covid-19/

Essential services:. Essential businesses listed include commercial construction companies, public works construction, housing construction, and hardware stores, businesses that supply products needed for people to work at home. Cabinets, furniture, and wood products are not specifically named. https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/essential-services/


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On March 9, Gov. JB Pritzker declared all counties in Illinois as a disaster area; a disaster proclamation was issued April 1. After closing schools and on-site consumption at restaurants, on March 20 Pritzker implemented statewide stay-at-home and social distancing requirements. On March 25, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity launched emergency small business assistance initiatives including the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund and Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program to support small businesses in downstate/rural counties. On March 30, the governor announced  a series of actions to help consumers struggling to make payments on their debts due to the COVID-19 crisis and providing guidance for the regulated financial sectors. On April 1, Pritzker signed a proclamation extending the stay-at-home order in the state to April 30.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/

Business resources: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/resources-for-business

Essential services: There is confusion over whether woodworking falls under the “construction” heading in Illinois, under Governor Pritzker’s executive order. (https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Documents/EO%202020%2010.pdf)


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On March 6, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order declaring a public health emergency in response to COVID-19. On March 16, additional regulations were put in place restricting gatherings and certain rules were suspended with regard to unemployment insurance claims by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Two days later, on March 18 the governor requested the U.S. Small Business Administration issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in Indiana. On March 23, Holcomb signed an executive order requiring residents to stay at home, unless they are engaging in essential activities and services.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.in.gov/

Business resources: The Indiana Department of Workforce Development includes information for both employers and employees and provides updates in response to the COVID-19 impact. https://www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products.


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On March 16, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced assistance to workers and employers in the face of potential COVID-19 layoffs or furloughs. One day later, Reynolds issued a state measure of public health disaster emergency. March 21 the governor announced the U.S. Small Business Administration will issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Iowa. Announced March 22, the State Public Health Emergency Declaration includes components that suspend foreclosures on commercial, and agricultural as well as residential real property. On March 23, the governor announced a Small Business Relief Grant Program to assist small businesses and tax deferrals to Iowa businesses impacted by COVID-19 (deadline was March 31). And on March 26, the Economic Development Authority created a COVID-19 Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund to support small businesses with zero employees.

Resource page: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

Business resources: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/COVID-19

Essential services: As of April 2, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds had not issued a shelter-in-place order, although the state has designated certain businesses as non-essential and subject to closure. On March 31 the governor indicated the state will follow CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, which includes construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products as essential.


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Gov. Laura Kelly announced disaster assistance for Kansas businesses on March 20, including SBA loans, and provided updates from Kansas Dept. of Labor and the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. Gov. Kelly issued a stay-at-home order March 28 that closes companies except for those defined as essential under the Kansas Essential Functions Framework (KEFF). Kansas defines a variety of “essential” businesses in a way that is meant to model the federal CISA guidance.

Resource page: https://govstatus.egov.com/coronavirus

Business resources: https://khap2.kdhe.state.ks.us/NewsRelease/COVID19/FAQs_3-31-2020_Update_4-3-20.pdf

Business health guidance: https://www.kansascommerce.gov/programs-services/business-services/

Essential services: The State of Kansas has established guidelines for determining which businesses provide functions considered essential based on the Kansas Essential Functions Framework. https://governor.kansas.gov/keff/


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Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on March 6 and on March 16 applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. The governor also waived the waiting period for unemployment for people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 and will waive any work search requirements while the state of emergency is in effect. New unemployment insurance procedures, including new phone lines and video conference services to manage the influx of claims, were also enacted. Unemployment eligibility was expanded. Beshear also announced changes in mass layoff parameters. Any employer with at least 50 employees, who is laying off at least 15 employees, is encouraged to file a claim on behalf of their employees through the E-Claims process. On March 25, Beshear issued a Healthy at Home executive order.

Resource page: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19

Business resources: https://governor.ky.gov/covid-19

Essential services (allowed to remain open): All businesses operating in the federal critical infrastructure sectors as defined by CISA and businesses providing construction or maintenance of residential, commercial or governmental structures. https://governor.ky.gov/attachments/20200325_Executive-Order_2020-257_Healthy-at-Home.pdf


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Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of a COVID-19 Task Force and requested the SBA to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small business disaster aid to all Louisiana parishes. A Major Disaster Declaration was requested March 24 and on March 27, the governor announced the opening of a Louisiana Economic Development help desk, providing email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses affected by COVID-19. A new Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. A statewide stay-at-home order was issued March 22 and lasts until April 12.

Resource page: https://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/92

Business resources: https://www.opportunitylouisiana.com/covid19

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades. https://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/Proclamations/2020/JBE-33-2020.pdf


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Gov. Janet Mills declared a civil emergency on March 15. Maine’s state legislature allocated $11 million as a COVID-19 response fund. The state temporarily expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. On March 24, the governor issued an executive order that mandated all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine close their physical locations that are public facing. State tax deadlines were extended to July 15, 2020. On March 31, the governor issued a stay-at-home order lasting until April 30.

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local Maine lenders to offer special, limited time loans and loan insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by COVID-19. Accelerated unemployment benefits have also been approved.

Resource page: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml

Business resources:

Essential services: Industrial Manufacturing, Construction and Maintenance of Essential Infrastructure, Forest Products. https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/sites/maine.gov.governor.mills/files/inline-files/An%20Order%20Regarding%20Essential%20Businesses%20and%20Operations%20.pdf


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Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency on March 5. The Maryland Department of Commerce posted Maryland Business Express Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses. On March 23, the governor ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses. The same day he announced more than $175 million to assist small businesses and workers, with $125 million in loans and grants to small businesses and nonprofits through the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Another $75 million loan fund and a $50 million grant fund will provide working capital to be used for payroll, rent, fixed-debt payments and other mission critical cash operating costs. Maryland Commerce is also working to create a $5 million fund to encourage businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment and other supplies to satisfy the increasing needs of the healthcare industry. Gov. Hogan issued a stay-at-home order March 30 and announced updates on the state’s $175 million economic relief package for workers and small businesses, including an additional $2 million for the state’s COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund.

Resource page: https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx

Business resources: https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business

Essential services: Includes building and property maintenance, residential and commercial construction; wood products is not listed under critical manufacturing. https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf


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Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts on March 10.  Legislation authorized a waiver of the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. On March 16, the governor announced a $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund that aims to provide emergency capital (up to $75,000) to businesses in the state impacted by COVID-19. Building off the governor’s emergency loan fund, Baker formally requested that the Small Business Administration issue a declaration of economic injury to expedite the ability of small businesses to obtain loans. On March 23, the governor issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organization who are not proving “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities. On, March 31, Baker updated the list of essential businesses and extended the non-essential business emergency closure order to May 4.

Resource page: https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Business resources: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employment-

Essential services: Includes housing construction, critical manufacturing (including wood products) https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services#critical-manufacturing-


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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 10. On March 16, she signed Executive Order 2020-10 to temporarily expand the eligibility for unemployment benefits.

On March 19, Whitmer announced that the SBA had approved her request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, and one day later, March 20, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced it would provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses through the Michigan Small Business Relief program.

On March 23, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-21, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life; woodworking is currently designated as a “critical infrastructure” under the Food and Agriculture category. A week later, on March 30, Whitmer announced a new program to expand Pandemic Unemployment Insurance to self-employed and gig economy workers.

Resource page: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus

Business resources: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98737---,00.html

Essential services: Woodworking is currently designated as “critical infrastructure,” under the Food and Agriculture category: “Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products.” There is the disclaimer: The order must be construed broadly to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life. https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2020/03/23/file_attachments/1408152/EO%202020-21%20Stay%20Home,%20Stay%20Safe.pdf


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On March 13, Gov. Tim Walz declared a Peacetime Emergency and initiated efforts to deal with COVID-19. Two days later, on March 15, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry released guidance on worker protections for those impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses became eligible to apply for disaster assistance through SBA on March 21, and on March 23, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development created an Emergency Loan Program for Minnesota small businesses. March 30, Walz announced the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, which temporarily provides another option for financing to help small businesses. The executive order directing residents to stay at home was signed by Walz on March 25.

Resource pages: https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/ and also https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html.

Business resources: Information for employers and employees is available at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products.


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Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency and signed an executive order giving the Mississippi Department of Employment Security the ability to expedite payments to unemployed Mississippians and relax collection requirements on employers. Reeves signed an executive order March 24, directing businesses to allow employees to work from home. A statewide stay-at-home order was issued April 1.

Resource page: https://www.coronavirus.ms.gov/

Business resources: https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/ms/jackson

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades. https://www.sos.ms.gov/Pages/Gov--Tate-Reeves-Signs-New-Executive-Order-to-Slow-the-Spread-of-COVID-19.aspx


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Gov. Michael Parson signed a state of emergency declaration on March 13. In the week that followed, along with limiting gatherings, on March 18 he signed a declaration extending the hours commercial drivers can operate on Missouri roadways to deliver essential supplies. A statewide “Stay Home Missouri” order was announced April 3 and is effective April 6-24.

Resource page: https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/

Business resources:

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products.


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A state of emergency was declared March 12. $16 million in state funds were allocated for COVID-19. The state implemented limitation on residential foreclosures, limitation on evictions, and restricted internet and utility cancellation. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home order that is effective Mar. 28 to Apr. 10 that closes all nonessential businesses.

Resource page: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/coronavirusmt

Business resources: https://commerce.mt.gov/

Business health guidance: https://commerce.mt.gov/News/PressReleases/how-montana-manufacturers-can-help-with-covid-19-critical-supplies

Essential services: Montana has issued an order for all non-essential businesses to cease operations. Essential businesses include building and construction tradespeople. Wood products is not named specifically, but essential business is purposely defined broadly. https://covid19.mt.gov/Portals/223/Documents/Stay%20at%20Home%20Directive.pdf?ver=2020-03-26-173332-177


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The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has teammates available to assist businesses with their questions. Contact information for DED’s regional development team can be found on DED’s COVID-19 website (see below). The webpage also has information on SBA resources.

Resource page: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Business resources:

Business health guidance: https://www.omahachamber.org/crisis-response-resources-covid-19/

Essential services: State has recommended limits on mass public gatherings to no more than 50 people, but no formal restrictions for manufacturers.


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The state was one of the first to receive low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Essential businesses must remain in operation and comply with the state’s social distancing rules. No more than 10 people are allowed to gather in any area.

State resource page: https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/

Business resources: An online relief portal is available: https://www.rosen.senate.gov/covid-19-small-business-assistance

Essential services: Nevada has issued a stay-at-home order for non-essential travel until the end of April. Construction, home building, hardware centers, home improvement businesses, and manufacturing have been deemed essential. Wood products is not specifically listed, but manufacturing is. https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gov.-Sisolak-Guidance-Directive-003-Essential-Non-Essential-UPDATED.pdf


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New Hampshire

Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a series of emergency orders and signed legislation related to the coronavirus crisis. One measure provides immediate access to unemployment benefits for those impacted by COVID-19. Sununu sent a letter to Congressional leaders regarding short-term and long-term steps to provide economic assistance to small businesses. He issued an emergency order on March 26, which directed the closure of non-essential businesses and required residents to shelter in place. He announced March 30 that New Hampshire would extend business tax payment deadlines to June 15 for 98 percent of the state’s small businesses.

Resource page: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/

Business resources: https://businesshelp.nheconomy.com/hc/en-us

Business health guidance: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/resources-guidance/businesses.htm

Essential services: Includes Wood products listed under Food & Agriculture, Manufacturing (but wood products not specifically listed), infrastructure construction and restoration. https://www.governor.nh.gov/news-media/emergency-orders/documents/emergency-order-17-ex-a.pdf


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New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order March 9 declaring a state of emergency and public health emergency. Legislation was enacted to authorize the Economic Development Authority to make emergency grants for the duration of economic disruptions. Murphy joined the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey in a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus throughout the tri-state area; Pennsylvania later joined the effort. On March 21, Gov. Murphy directed all residents to stay at home until further notice. The governor and New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved programs to support businesses and workers facing economic hardship, such as a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Finance Institutions. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development urged employers to keep employees on the payroll throughout the pandemic.

Resource page: https://covid19.nj.gov/

Business resources: https://faq.business.nj.gov/en/collections/2198378-information-for-nj-businesses-on-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Essential services: Manufacturing and construction businesses allowed to remain open but urged to limit staff on site. https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/20200320j.shtml


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New Mexico

Gov. Lujan Grisham signed an executive order March 11 declaring a state of public health emergency. Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keyes announced a COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program and Zero Percent Interest Loans from the New Mexico Economic Development Department. On March 17,  the governor announced that New Mexico has qualified for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance program to assist businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. New Mexico extended eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits to those workers that have been impacted by reduced hours or layoffs due to COVID-19. The Governor extended the deadline by 90 days (July 15) for New Mexicans to file and pay their 2019 personal income taxes. On March 23, the New Mexico Department of Health announced a new public health emergency order closing all non-essential businesses and further restricting mass gatherings. The New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation committed up to $25 million to its lending partners to assist New Mexico businesses that have been impacted by market disruption.

Resource page: http://www.nmsbdc.org/

Business resources:

Business health guidance: http://www.nmsbic.org/newspress/nmsbic-commits-25-million-to-assist-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/

Essential services: Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham issued a stay in place order March 25 that closes all non-essential businesses, with an exemption for manufacturers and other essential businesses. https://www.newmexico.gov/2020/03/23/state-enacts-further-restrictions-to-stop-spread-including-stay-at-home-instruction/


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New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a $40 million emergency management authorization for New York State’s novel coronavirus response. He also announced he would amend his Paid Sick Leave budget proposal to specifically protect from termination people who are required to stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined as a result of the novel coronavirus. The governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus throughout the tri-state area; Pennsylvania later joined the effort. The New York Empire State Development Corporation has posted COVID-19-Related Resources: Novel Coronavirus FAQ for Businesses. The governor directed on March 18 that all non-essential businesses to implement work from home policies, with exceptions for specific essential services determined by the state. New York waived the one-week waiting requirement for accessing unemployment insurance.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

Business resources: https://esd.ny.gov/esd-covid-19-related-resources

Essential services: Includes construction and skilled trades, Essential Manufacturing (but wood products is not specifically listed). https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-issues-guidance-essential-services-under-new-york-state-pause-executive-order


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North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper convened a COVID-19 task force on February 11 and declared a state of emergency on March 10. He later asked the SBA to grant a disaster declaration for business owners in the state, impacted by COVID-19, to receive a low-interest business loan. The state tax deadline for filing individual, corporate, and franchise taxes was extended to July 15, and the governor signed an executive order making state unemployment benefits more widely available. Golden Leaf Foundation announced $15 million in funding for the state’s COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program which supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms. The loan helps small businesses bridge the gap until federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover. A statewide stay-at-home order was issued March 27 and lasts until April 29.

Resource page: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19

Business resources:  https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-businesses-and-employers

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses for construction and building trades. https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3.pdf


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North Dakota

Greater North Dakota Chamber has made available resources to help business during the coronavirus pandemic. GNDC has created an information and response page. GNDC has partnered with North Dakota’s Department of Commerce to host a series of business briefings via conference call to businesses and GNDC members, trade associations, and local chambers of commerce to discuss current solutions for stressors caused by COVID-19. These calls will occur on a weekly basis on Thursdays at 11:00. https://www.ndchamber.com/covid19

Resource page: https://ndresponse.gov/covid-19-resources/covid-19-business-and-employer-resources

Business resources: https://ndsbdc.org/

Business health guidance: https://www.ndchamber.com/covid19

Essential services: Gov. Doug Burgum issued an executive order shutting down bars, restaurants and other public retail businesses with no apparent impact on manufacturers, on March 27, according to National Association of Manufacturers.


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Among the initiatives to assist businesses, Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered the relaxing of some unemployment compensation requirements and timelines for COVID-19 impacted workers who do not receive paid leave and for people who have been quarantined due to COVID-19. Since March 20, all health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. Health insurers must allow employers to continue covering employees even if the employees would otherwise become ineligible for insurance because of a decrease in work hours. The Ohio Department of Transportation has also announced it will issue waivers on a rolling basis for haulers carrying heavy or oversized loads of essential goods. On April 1, DeWine announced the President approved his request for a major disaster declaration. On April 2 the governor extended the stay-at-home order through May 1.

Resource page: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home

Business resources: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/Resources-for-Economic-Support/econ

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products.


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On April 1, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order that prohibits mass gatherings larger than 10 people, closes non-essential businesses and clarifies previous self-quarantine orders to make exemptions for essential businesses. Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers are providing assistance related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies can register and talk to an advisor, or access coronavirus small business guidance and loan resources, information on SBA debt relief and information and application for economic injury disaster loans. https://www.oksbdc.org/

Resource page: https://www.okcommerce.gov/covid19/

Business resources: https://reiwbc.org/resources/

Business health guidance: https://www.oksbdc.org/

Essential services: The latest order adopts the federal CISA guidance as Oklahoma’s definition of essential businesses, and adds to it a number of additional manufacturing sectors, according to NAM. https://www.okcommerce.gov/wp-content/uploads/Oklahoma-Essential-Industries-List.pdf


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Oregon’s major disaster declaration was approved by President Trump on March 29, which provides funds for threat reduction, emergency operation, medical sheltering, and food and water. Commercial evictions have been halted for 90 days. When work-from-home options are not available, businesses must enact social distancing policies consistent with the Oregon Health Authority’s guidance. The state has a stabilization fund that will provide funds to nonprofit organizations that give loans or grants to small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. Businesses themselves are not eligible for grants. https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/oregon-small-business-stabilization-fund/

City resources: Some Oregon cities have enacted there own COVID-19 business aid programs.

Resource page: https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19

Business resources: http://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/

Essential services: Oregon has an indefinite stay-at-home order and has directed many non-essential businesses to close, including furniture stores. Wood products manufacturing is not specifically listed. https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19


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Gov. Tom Wolf issued statewide mitigation efforts on March 16 including the temporary closure of non-essential businesses; currently furniture and related wood products manufacturing is not considered “essential” by the state, although companies can request a waiver. On March 18, Pennsylvania joined a coalition with Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to implement a regional approach to combatting COVID-19. Although there is no longer funding available through the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program, low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits are available through the SBA. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development also offers working capital loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. On March 27, Wolf signed HB 68, which makes applying for unemployment compensation easier for workers by waiving the one week waiting period and job search and work registration requirements. All counties are under a stay-at-home order through April 30.

Resource pages:

Business resources: Includes information on the state’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA) which provides critical working capital financing to small businesses located within the Commonwealth that are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and PIDA Low-Interest Loans for eligible businesses. https://dced.pa.gov/resources

Essential services: Although forestry, logging, sawmills, veneer, plywood and engineered wood operations are considered “life sustaining businesses” by the Pennsylvania government, furniture and related products manufacturing is not. Those companies can submit a request for waiver/exemption to their business closure. https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-4-00pm-April-1-2020-Industry-Operation-Guidance


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Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo extended the 2019 tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15, consistent with changes made in federal law. Small business owners can receive 45 minutes of free tech support via teleconference or over the phone, which is being coordinated by Rhode Island Commerce and staffed by volunteers from some of Rhode Island’s tech companies. She issued a stay-at-home order on March 28, closing all non-critical retail businesses. The Superior Court established the Business Recovery Plan, whereby courts will use a non-liquidating receivership model to supervise and provide protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital, and pay debts.

Resource page: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/

Business resources: https://commerceri.com/covid-19/

Business check list: https://commerceri.com/covid-19-business-checklist/

Essential services: “The State of Rhode Island is not focusing on whether a business is essential or non-essential; instead, we are working to keep businesses open so long as they operate within strict parameters to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Guidelines page: https://commerceri.com/business-guidelines-during-crisis/


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South Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster signed an executive order waiving regulations and allowing unemployment claims to be expedited by at least one week as well as suspending unemployment insurance payments for employers through June 1. The state’s income tax deadline was moved to July 15 and small businesses are eligible for disaster assistance.

Resource page: https://www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Business resources: https://www.scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/businesses-employers-covid-19

Essential services: South Carolina has not issued a stay-at-home order.


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South Dakota

Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order encouraging businesses to modify practices or scale down operations on March 25. A section titled Limitations asks South Dakota companies to read the order in conjunction with the federal CISA guidance, suggesting continued exemptions for manufacturers in the state. Gov. Noem has activated small business administration’s economic injury disaster load fund program in South Dakota. Affected small business need to complete the SBA EIDL worksheet.  https://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=26516

Resource page: https://doh.sd.gov/news/coronavirus.aspx

Business resources: https://sdreadytowork.com/covid-19/

Business health guidance: https://doh.sd.gov/documents/news/COVID_business_QA.pdf

Essential services: The state is following federal CISA guidance in designating essential businesses.


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Gov. Bill Lee issued a State of Emergency to free up funds for the treatment and containment of COVID-19 on March 12. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development was working to determine how to utilize the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The Department announced March 16 it would extend unemployment benefits to those quarantined by a physician for COVID-19.On March 22 Gov. Lee called on businesses to utilize “alternative business models” and prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Two days later, he announced delaying the deadline to file franchise and excise taxes until July 15. Lee also announced creation of Tennessee Talent Exchange, a public-private partnership with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, Tennessee Retail Association, and Hospitality TN to match out of work Tennesseans with companies currently experiencing business surges. On March 30, the governor issued “Shelter in Place” guidelines to remain in effect until April 14. A partnership with LaunchTN was set up to work with Tennessee businesses and entrepreneurs willing to switch production to make PPE. Lee on April 2 signed an executive order requiring Tennesseans to stay at home except for essential activities.

Resource page: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Business resources: https://www.tnchamber.org/coronavirus

Essential services: Includes most manufacturing and construction businesses. http://1057news.com/2020/04/03/06/45/49/essential-business-list-operating-under-stay-at-home-order-in-tennessee/


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After issuing a State of Disaster proclamation, Gov. Greg Abbott began waiving state regulations to remove roadblocks and better meet Texans’ needs during the emergency period. The executive order adopted an essential business designation that consists of everything contained within the revised version of the federal CISA guidance.

Resource page: https://gov.texas.gov/business/page/coronavirus

Business resources: https://www.twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers

Business health guidance: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/business/FAQs_Small_Business_Coronavirus.pdf

Essential services: Businesses are asked to follow steps at https://tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/ to determine whether their business is an essential service.


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Utah is one of the few states not to issue a mandated stay-at-home order. The governor has just encouraged it. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Qey2xIxAEqIxiiAHJyHSxBosmjetkbN7/view

An order has been issued in Salt Lake City, but nothing regarding wood products was listed in the non-essential list. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/03/30/not-essential-not-forced/. The city is also offering loans for small businesses: https://www.slc.gov/ed/elploan/

Utah is offering bridge loans to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Loans range up to $20,000 with no interest for five years. https://business.utah.gov/utah-leads-together-small-business-bridge-loan-program/

Resource page: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Business resources: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/business/

Essential services: No mandatory stay-at-home order at this time.


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Gov. Phil Scott declared a state of emergency on March 13. Legislation was approved to ensure unemployment benefits for workers quarantined or providing care for a quarantined family member. On March 20, the governor announced availability of U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million for Vermont small businesses. The governor issued a “Stay at Home Order” March 24, directing Vermonters to leave their homes only for critical reasons, and suspending in-person operations of all businesses and not-for-profit entities not expressly exempt.

Resource page: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

Business resources: https://www.vtsbdc.org/coronavirus/

Essential services: Most wood industry companies are NOT considered essential in Vermont’s list of critical businesses (https://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accdnew/files/documents/NAICS-Code-Guidance-for-Vermont-Businesses_0.pdf)


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Virginia’s public health and safety experts established an Incident Management Team across state government to lead the Commonwealth’s planning and response for COVID-19. Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on March 13, and on March 17, he moved to increase support to affected workers and employers by waiving the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits and enhancing unemployment eligibility to include those directed to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official. His order also grants affected workers special considerations on deadlines for mandatory re-employment appointments and work search requirements. Regional workforce teams were activated to support employers who have slowed or ceased operations. Financial penalties were waived for employers who experience an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits. Funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was authorized for employers to remain open, but companies that remain open were directed to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety. A stay-at-home order was issued March 30 and remains in effect until June 10.

Resource page: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

Business resources: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/support-for-businesses/#854620

Essential services: Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers and commonwealth brick-and-mortar businesses that aren’t listed in the order can stay open if they limit customers to 10 at one time.


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Washington has proclaimed a State of Emergency. The governor has announced support for workers and businesses https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-support-workers-and-businesses-impacted-covid-19

The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide support in the form of unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly-trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs).

Visit: https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19

Resource page: https://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/

Business and worker resources: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/business-workers

Essential services: The state has a stay-at-home order until March 4. It lists essential workers in forest products, which include timber, paper, and other wood products, as well as those who maintain “essential operation of residences.” https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business


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West Virginia

On March 16, Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency. Within a week, non-essential businesses were told to close temporarily, and on March 19, the governor directed the West Virginia Department of Commerce and Workforce to provide unemployment benefits to those affected by COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. On March 23, Justice issued a stay-at-home order.

Resource page: https://westvirginia.gov/covid19/

Business resources: https://westvirginia.gov/covid19/

Essential services: West Virginia lists construction as an essential industry. While the current Stay-at-Home Order doesn’t specify woodworking, the state appears to follow the federal lead.


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Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency on March 12. On March 18, the Economic Development Corp. administered the Small Business 20/20 program to support small businesses and micro-enterprises adversely economically impacted by the COVID-19 Virus. Evers issued an emergency order waiving work search requirements and modifying eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance benefits. He also requested Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance for small businesses, private, and non-profit organizations to alleviated economic impacts. On March 20, the governor announced approval of Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration to Wisconsin small businesses. On March 24, a “Safer at Home” order was issued for the state, prohibiting non-essential travel, with certain exceptions. The order will remain in effect until April 24. 

Resource page: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm

Business resources:

Essential services: The state currently follows CISA guidelines regarding essential businesses, including construction and building trades, and the manufacture of wood products.


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Gov. Mark Gordon declared an emergency March 13 to devote health officials and National Guard troops to a possible increase in cases of the coronavirus. The declaration would enable certain businesses affected by the pandemic to get emergency Small Business Administration loans. Governor Gordon announced that Wyoming small businesses can apply for up to $2 million per company in federal economic disaster loans through the SBA.

Resource page: https://www.wyomingsbdc.org/covid19/

Business resources: https://www.wyomingsbdc.org/

Business health guidance: https://wyomingbusiness.org/covid19

Essential services: Gov. Gordon extended public health orders relating to the closing of bars, restaurants, schools, colleges, universities, and trade schools statewide, and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people.



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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.