Making Sense of the Stay-At-Home Order for North Carolina and Available Business Resources


At 5 p.m. today (March 30, 2020), all of North Carolina will be under a mandatory Stay At Home Order. You can find the text here and FAQs here. The order means that, unless you are going to the pharmacy, grocery store or another “essential business” listed below, or you need to care for someone else, you need to stay home. Note that some counties, towns and cities have issued their own Stay-At-Home orders. You have to follow the strictest one.

These businesses may stay open under the state-wide order (“Essential Business”):

  • Restaurants that provide take-out, drive-thru, or delivery

  • Grocery stores

  • ABC stores and beer and wine stores

  • Doctors and other healthcare providers

  • Pharmacies

  • Hardware stores

  • Post offices

  • Office supply stores

  • Gas stations and convenience stores

  • Veterinarians and pet supply stores

  • Hotels, airlines, buses, taxis, and rideshare services

  • Places of worship

  • Childcare providers (that are following the required NCDHHS procedures)

If you visit or operate one of these businesses, you must practice social distancing—encourage employees to work from home, stay at least 6 feet away from anyone else, regularly disinfect high-touch areas, etc.

If your business is not essential, you can go in to preserve the business’s physical condition (equipment, inventory, etc.), make sure employees can work from home, process payroll or other similar minimum operations.

You can keep a home-based business running and you can keep your business, nonprofit or school open if you maintain the social distancing requirements.

Under the Family First Corona Virus Response Act, businesses with less than 500 employees that remain open must provide paid leave to their employees if the employee is unable to work or telework because the employee:

  • is subject to a mandatory stay at home order,

  • is told to self-quarantine because of COVID-19,

  • is seeking a medical diagnosis of COVID-19,

  • is caring for an isolated individual because of COVID-19,

  • has no childcare available due to COVID-19, or

  • is subject to similar situations described by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

For more information, click here.

There are payroll tax credits available to help defer the cost of these medical leaves. Click here for more information. Your accountant is the best resource for more information on this.

The SBA has disaster relief loans available. Before you apply, have this information ready:

  • Most recent filed tax return - business and personal if you file separate returns.

  • Year-to-date financials - i.e. balance sheet and profit & loss statement - motivation to stay on top of bookkeeping.

  • Personal Financial Statement - List of all your personal assets and liabilities (debts). For those of you with investment portfolios, update the values.

  • Payroll records - The intent of this programs is to keep people on payroll and the amounts appear to be tied to monthly payroll, so it is safe to assume they will want this information.

Here is more information on how to apply.

Above all, remember both the quarantines and the relief are massive and new. The details are still emerging. Be patient. Be kind. We will get through this.

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