Coronavirus Small Business Relief for Hawaii

The ongoing spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has had lasting impacts on US small businesses. Federal, state, and local governments have created relief assistance to support small business owners.

Our guide to Coronavirus Small Business Relief for Hawaii provides information on grants, loans, tax relief, and emergency assistance for all small businesses, both on a federal level and on a state level.

COVID Small Business Relief: Loans and Grants

Depending on the size of your small business, you may be qualified for certain loans and grants on both the federal and state level.

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What is considered a small business?

Small businesses are defined based on what type of industry they belong to. To determine if your business is considered to be a small business by the Small Business Administration, visit the SBA Size Standards webpage.

COVID Federal Small Business Help

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing disaster loan assistance in all states. These low-interest loans are targeted toward small businesses and nonprofits that have experienced severe economic injury due to the coronavirus.

Read more about the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to see if your small business qualifies. You can also download the SBA's Hawaii EIDL Fact Sheet or visit the Hawaii SBA Disaster Loan Program FAQ website for more information.

COVID State Small Business Help

Senator Brian Schantz has resources available for small businesses seeking relief. To see if your business qualifies for any of the resources, check out Senator Brian Schantz list for Supporting Small Businesses.

A new microsite called Covid-19 Response Hub on the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii website, is available for all business owners seeking information or to ask questions about covid19 and how it will affect your business.

For additional loan services, here is a list of lenders serving in various Hawaiian districts.

COVID Small Business Relief: Private Sources

Some private companies and organizations have established grants for small business relief. Facebook is one such company. The Facebook small business grant was created to help small business owners amid disruptions that are being caused by the coronavirus.   

Certain credit card companies and banks, like Bank of America, are also offering economic relief for their small business members.

For a larger list, visit our guide to private grants for small business relief.

Private Relief in Hawaii

If your small business needs additional relief, check out these local resources:

If you wish to help your community, check out the Hawaii Community Foundation. They have joined together with various other companies to create the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, which has raised around $2.5 million in initial funds. Initial funding will be used to support the work of the public health sector and community-based nonprofits to implement actions targeted at reducing the spread of the COVID-19. Another good resource is the Helping Hands Hawaii organization. They have created a relief fund for Hawaii residents who are struggling due to the covid19 outbreak.

COVID-Related Tax Relief & Federal Paid Leave

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, both federal and state governments are actively providing tax assistance for small businesses as well as updated employee leave policies.

Tax Relief

The federal government has extended the payment deadline for all first-quarter tax payments from April 20th, 2020 to July 20th, 2020. Small businesses must file IRS Form 7004 to extend their tax payments, while individuals must file IRS Form 4868.

State Tax Relief

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is providing refundable payroll tax credits for businesses that have been partially or fully suspended due to a state mandated stay-at-home shutdown. Learn more about the CARES Act at the Brian Schantz: Senator for Hawaii website and see if your business qualifies.

The Hawaii Department of Taxation has released an FAQ of different Economic Impact Payment Details to help educate Hawaii residents who are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Department of Taxation has issued Tax Announcement 2020-01 to grant special tax relief for State income taxpayers similar to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • The due date for filing 2019 State income tax returns due from April 20, 2020, to June 20, 2020, is postponed to July 20, 2020.
  • The due date for making 2019 State income tax payments due from April 20, 2020, to June 20, 2020, is postponed to July 20, 2020.
  • Additional action is not needed by Income taxpayers to participate in this tax relief program.

Some businesses may still be required to file their taxes electronically. To see if you meet the requirements, check out the Hawaii Mandatory Electronic Filing website.

For more information about taxes, sign up on the Hawaii Tax Online website to message online or call at (808) 587-4242.

Changes to Federal Paid Leave

As of March 18th, 2020, the federal government is providing certain workers paid sick leave in the event that they are ill, quarantined, or seeking medical care.

This relief act applies to employees at small, midsize, and nonprofit companies so long as the employee has been employed for more than 30 days. For more information, you can read the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The Department of Labor also recommends that small business employers check if their employee’s sick leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If an employee or their family is incapacitated due to the coronavirus (or any pandemic illness), their employer is required to provide job-protected, unpaid leave.

So long as employers are covered, they are required to abide by federal FMLA and state FMLA laws. For more information on the FMLA, check out the Department of Labor’s website.

Running Your Business During Coronavirus Pandemic

Because of the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to set business maintenance policies for you and your employees.

Emergency Guidelines

In the event that your small business undergoes financial difficulties during the coronavirus spread, consider implementing these guidelines for the good of your business and its employees:

  • Consider putting employees on temporary leave instead of terminating them
  • Communicate with customers regarding business closures, reduction of hours, or maintenance changes
  • Diversify your suppliers or stock inventory with an adequate amount of supplies to last an extended period of time
  • Contact your insurance agent to review any business interruption policies that your business may have in place
  • Prepare a plan with your employees regarding present and future business actions regarding the virus
  • Review your emergency business continuity plan. If you don’t have one, take a look at New York’s Emergency Planning Process Sheet.
  • Determine whether your business is considered essential or nonessential. Visit our guide to essential businesses for more information.

For more business solutions, visit the SBA website.

Unemployment Insurance

The Coronavirus Aid Package (CARES Act) is providing extended unemployment benefits to workers who are ineligible for regular unemployment programs but are out of work solely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment compensation has also been extended by 13 weeks.

At this time, residents of Hawaii are unable to file for unemployment online.  In an effort to help the newly unemployed make claims on an overwhelmed system, the state is adding drop boxes for paper unemployment applications to all locations. Once the application is dropped off, the staff will manually input the information or call the person. The local unemployment offices remain closed to walk-in and in-person services to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you have questions, call the claims office nearest to you:

  • Oahu: 586-8970
  • Hilo: 974-4086
  • Kona: 322-4822
  • Maui: 984-8400
  • Kauai: 274-3043

For more information, visit the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism website or view their coronavirus FAQ.

NOTE: Workers cannot file for unemployment if they are receiving any kind of direct financial help from your business.

Employee Safety

The State of Hawaii has issued a “stay-at-home” executive order shutting down non-essential businesses until May 31st, 2020. To see if your business is considered essential, read the Hawaii governor’s third supplementary proclamation.

Small business employers should also establish strategies with their employees and customers to avoid spreading the virus:

  • Encourage sick employees and customers to stay home
  • Separate sick employees from the rest of the employees and encourage them to go home
  • Practice good self-hygiene
  • Avoid travel
  • Clean all work environments routinely and thoroughly

For more guidelines, visit the CDC’s website. You can create your own guidelines poster.

For periodic state updates, visit the Hawaii Department of Health's website.

Remote Workforce

The best way to prevent the spread of the virus in your business is to create a “work from home” policy. If your business is able to provide remote work opportunities for its employees, consider the following strategies:

  • Invest in new technologies and software
  • Provide remote training for employees
  • Establish a remote communication system
  • Enforce a daily routine
  • Trust in your employees’ ability to stay on track

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