City of Atlanta announces relief fund for entertainment industry workers

by Baker Owens | May 12, 2020 | Insider Advantage 

The success of the film and entertainment industry has been one of the biggest economic development stories in Georgia over the last decade. That is, until all filming, recording and anything involving more than the person you currently live with is suspended due to COVID-19.The thousands of independent employees across the state that have been working on movie sets, television shows, and other creative enterprises suddenly find themselves without employment, and much of the time, without a large company employer that can assist them through this period. The economic impact of these industries is estimated at more than $60 billion, representing some 5 percent of all employment and 4 percent of business revenue in the state. Nearly 200,000 people, earning wages of more than $8 billion, work in the creative industries.In an effort to assist these workers, the City of Atlanta, partnered with Invest Atlanta – the city’s economic development arm, and City National Bank, have announced the creATL Relief Fund to assist those in the creative community working in the gig economy. The fund was initially capitalized by these with donations from these groups and others in the industry, with applicants receiving $1,000 each if approved.“Atlanta is a vibrant city and international hub for creatives and entertainment industry leaders,” said Mayor Bottoms. “We want to ensure our talent and cultural arts sectors are stable and well-supported during this time. This fund will help our creative artists continue to enrich our lives and our communities.”The fund is also accepting donations to increase the resources available and all gifts to the fund will go toward freelance and gig-workers in creative industries, film, music and entertainment, to go towards food, housing, utilities, medical expenses or transportation costs.Atlanta residents who work in these industries are eligible to apply. Applicants must be able to prove loss of job opportunities or income, contracts or other work as a result of the pandemic, and that this loss has impacted their ability to cover those basic financial needs.“Independent creatives are a major part of the workforce with Atlanta ranking second among major cities in the nation when it comes to people finding work in the gig economy,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Invest Atlanta’s goal is to support as many businesses as possible through the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19. We are thankful to all the partners in this project who are working to put much-needed dollars into the hands of Atlanta’s creative community.”To learn more or apply for the fund, see here: https://www.investatlanta.com/creatl-relief-fund 

WarnerMedia and AT&T Create $250,000 Relief Fund for Atlanta Arts & Cultural Institutions

Funds designed specifically to benefit the creative industry in Atlanta in a time of crisis.

by: Peter Stathapoulos

Below is an article published by Metro Atlanta CEO.

Metro Atlanta CEO is the leading publication exclusively targeting business owners and political leaders in the area. For more information about editorial or promotional opportunities, contact us today.

WarnerMedia-and-ATT-Create-250000-Relief-Fund-for-Atlanta-Arts-Cultural-Institutions-Metro-Atlanta-CEO

GPP’s May COVID-19 Information Webinar

May 5, 2019 GPP Monthly COVID-19 Information Session
Navigating the COVID-19 Benefits Process

Here’s A Recap of May 5th’s Panel “Navigating the COVID-19 Benefit Process

By: Darius Evans

Tuesday May 5th’s meeting was live  streamed over Facebook, Youtube, and on the GPP website with Trish Taylor, GPP C0-President, as our moderator speaking with our  Allen Fox from the GA Film Office; Peter Stathopolous, GPP Gov’t Relations Chair; John Thomas, Partner, Element CPA, Christina Moore, Partner, Taylor|English; Bryan Jacoutot, Attny, Taylor|English; Becky Harshberger VP, Payroll Tax, Entertainment Partners; .

If you missed the stream don’t worry the meeting has been posted on the GPP Facebook page and Youtube channel so you’re able to get the resources provided by the panelists. They discuss the ongoing changes in the Federal PPP program as well as new insights into the Georgia State Unemployment Insurance process.

See slides below:

 

Upcoming GDEcD, DCA Webinars on Federal COVID-19 Assistance

GPP is flagging these webinars for next week on COVID-19 federal assistance. They will be offered in each region and will allow callers to ask questions at the end of the call: https://www.georgiasbdc.org/georgia-small-business-recovery/#webinars.

 

Read the Governors full release below.

Gov. Kemp, University of Georgia’s SBDC Provide Overview of CARES Act Funding

APRIL 02, 2020

Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp and the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided an overview of the funding allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This critical funding will help small businesses keep workers employed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the University of Georgia’s 17 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the state has launched an information website to provide guidance on accessing a variety of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

Beginning April 6, these state partners will host a series of web-based information sessions tailored to each region of the state. In addition, SBDC will be available to assist businesses, where necessary.

The CARES Act provides funds for SBA to aid small businesses through its network of private small business lenders. Georgia has more than 70 qualified SBA lenders, and detailed information about the following vital lending programs can also be found HERE.

“Small businesses are the engine of Georgia’s economy and provide economic opportunity for millions of Georgia families,” said Governor Kemp. “As we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, this critical resource will provide a lifeline to small businesses across our state. I am encouraging all Georgians to support their local businesses in this difficult time. We will get through this together.”

“The Georgia Department of Economic Development is continuing to work with our partners statewide to confront COVID-19 and move forward together,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “We thank Governor Kemp, DCA, and SBDC for working together with us to better and more efficiently serve our state’s small businesses at this time of great need.”

“DCA is proud to work with our state partners to support the small businesses that are such a vital part of the communities we serve,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn.

“The University of Georgia has a strong track record of helping to develop new small businesses across the state. Assisting these firms to navigate COVID-19 aligns perfectly with our land-grant mission,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

7(a) Loan Payment Relief
SBA will pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees owed on 7(a) loans as follows:

▪ Existing borrower not on deferment: six months beginning with the next payment due on the loan;
▪ Existing borrower on deferment: six months of payments beginning with the next payment due on the loan after the deferment period; and
▪ New borrower: six months of payments beginning with the first payment due on the loan, but only for new loans made within the first six months starting from the date of enactment.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

▪ Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
▪ Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
▪ Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
▪ The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
▪ The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
▪ The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

▪ Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer. This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, cooperatives, ESPOs, and tribal small businesses with <= 500 employees.
▪ Up to $2 million can be provided to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met if the disaster did not occur.
▪ Loans can be made based solely on credit scores.
▪ The interest rate on EIDLs will be 3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses.
▪ The first twelve payments will be deferred and not become due until one year after the original disbursement. Interest does not accrue during this time.
▪ The term of these loans will be up to thirty years.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance

▪ Eligibility: Advances are available to small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses in operation on January 31, 2020.
▪ For those that apply for the EIDL, an advance of up to $10,000 will be provided to small businesses within several days of applying for the loan.
▪ The advance does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EDL.
▪ Funds can be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintain payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
A new $349 billion lending program under the existing SBA 7(a) program. The SBA guarantee of PPP loans will be 100 percent through the end of 2020. PPP loan payments will be deferred for a minimum of six and up to twelve months. Loans will be administered through local and regional banks; any federally regulated bank may become an SBA lender for this purpose. The Department of the Treasury will issue regulations for these loans quickly.

▪ Eligibility: Small businesses as defined by SBA size standards, generally up to 500 employees, but up to 1,500 depending on the sector; sole proprietors, the self-employed, and independent contractors.
▪ The interest rate will not exceed 4 percent; currently fixed at 0.5 percent.
▪ Regulatory streamlining: SBA’s standard “no credit elsewhere” test is waived, no personal guarantee or collateral required, and no additional fees will be applied to these loans.
▪ Size of loans: Up to $10 million. Loan amount is based on recent payroll costs, compensation paid to individuals, including those who are self-employed. Compensation in excess of $100,000 per year to any individual is excluded.
▪ Requirements: The business must certify the loan will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage or lease payments, and pay utilities.
▪ Loans may be forgiven, up to an amount equaling eligible payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility cost, incurred during the eight-week period starting from the loan origination. Compensation in excess of $100,000 a year to any individual will not qualify for forgiveness. Additionally, loan forgiveness is reduced by layoffs or pay reductions in excess of 25 percent, and loan forgiveness is not treated as taxable income.

Should you need assistance, the UGA Small Business Development Center offices across the state are open and available. Contact information for every office is available HERE.

 

Contact Director of Communications & Chief Deputy Executive Counsel

 

Candice Broce

candice.broce@georgia.gov

GPP’s First Virtual Membership Meeting

Here’s A Recap of April 7th’s Panel “COVID-19: Impact, Resources, and Hope For The GA Entertainment Industry.

By: Briana Franklin

This past Tuesday marks Georgia Production Partnership’s first virtual membership meeting and as the organization plans the first of many for the upcoming months. Tuesday April 7th’s meeting was streamed over Facebook, Youtube, and on the GPP website with Peter Stathopoulos, GPP Government Relations Chair, as our moderator speaking with our GPP Lobbyist, Lewis Massey, Lee Thomas and Allen Fox from the GA Film Office, Alduan Tartt, Celebrity Psychologist, and Molly Coffee, Executive Director Film Impact GA.

If you missed the stream don’t worry the meeting has been posted on the GPP Facebook page and Youtube channel so you’re able to get the resources provided by moderator Peter Stathoupolus and Allen Fox from the GA Film Office. They discuss recently rolled out programs to help COVID-19 affected businesses and workers, not forgetting 1099 and gig workers who may not be able to follow the traditional route to receive unemployment.

See slides below:

April-COVID19-Resource-Guide

Molly Coffee talks about access to resources to uplift creatives during this time by reminding us to “take advantage of opportunity in crisis.” There are platforms offering access to resources like Sundance Collab opening up their online master classes for free and Film Impact GA having a #AskAPro Live with Angela Barnes Gomes, Director of Atlanta’s Soul Train TV series. 

Dr. Tartt offers tips for Reducing Anxiety During COVID-19, suggestions that for many will help with maintaining a healthy routine during the stay-at-home order. “It’s more important than anything to practice self care during this time.” For those who are natural list checkers and need a daily routine to stay balanced, “finding your purpose will keep you grounded.” So whether it’s taking a walk in the morning to get a dose of nature or repurposing those skills you’ve lost sight of in the next few weeks, maintaining a self curated schedule for what works best for you will be key. 

See his presentation below:

The-5-tips-For-Reducing-Anxiety-During-A-Pandemic-GPP

Link to the Live stream below:

SBA LOAN: Payroll Protection Program

Loans designed specifically to protect the employees in a time of crisis.

by: Peter Stathapoulos

The below points are a summary put together by GPP’s Government Relations Chair, Peter Stathapoulos and detail the qualifications for the new program provided by the Small Business Administration. We’ve seen many companies resort to layoffs and furloughs because of halted revenue streams. With options like the one explained in this program employers of small businesses may apply for forgivable loans to substitute this loss.

The Following Will Apply:

  • Subject to exceptions for the hotel industry, small (less than 500 employees at one location) employers may apply for forgivable loans up to 2 times average monthly payroll costs from 2019, up to $100,000 of payroll costs per employee
  • Loans are non-recourse (bank can’t try to collect from owners of business) and require no collateral and no application fees
  • Loans are forgivable to extent that the money is spent on qualified costs during the covered period (February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020) and employer maintains 2019 average payroll levels
  • Loan proceeds can be used on payroll, rent, mortgage and other preexisting debt, and utilities
  • Up to 100% of loan principal can be forgiven
  • Remainder is payable at 0.5% interest and a term of up to 10 years
  • There is an automatic forbearance on loan payments during the first six months of the loan
  • Program is available to non-profits
  • The loan can also be claimed by self-employed individuals and sole proprietorships; not clear whether payments to independent contractors count as payroll costs
  • Loan applications for traditional employers go live April 3, 2020
  • Further guidance and loan applications for sole proprietorships go live April 10, 2020

Takaways:

  1. Paycheck Protection Program SBA loan applications go live with lenders April 3rd for traditional employers.  Loan applications and further guidance regarding sole proprietors will be issued on April 10, 2020 by Treasury and SBA.
  2. Many accounting firms are assisting their clients with these applications and with loan forgiveness calculations and documentation.  Members should check with their accounting firms for help.

What freelancers need to know about the coronavirus

https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2020/03/11/what-freelancers-need-to-know-about-coronavirus/

This post was first published on March 11, 2020, and updated March 25, 2020. It will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

With cities across the country shutting down to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every industry is feeling the pinch.

Government relief programs for freelancers

As policies are changing daily, your best bet to stay up to date on relief efforts in your area is to follow the local news (and call your representatives to demand they include freelancers in their work!). Here’s an incomplete list of the changes that have been made so far:

Tax filing deferredThe new federal deadline for tax filing and the first quarterly payment of the year is now July 15. State tax deadlines are up to their discretion, so make sure to double-check before you assume you’re off the hook on April 15.

Health insurance updates: In a number of states, including New York and California, the enrollment period has been reopened so you can buy health insurance on the marketplace for a limited time. In addition, many insurers (including EmblemHealth and Oscar, our partners in NY) are covering the costs of COVID-19 screening and tests, so if you’re feeling sick, you won’t pay out of pocket to get tested.

Evictions halted: Falling behind on rent or mortgage payments shouldn’t be another source of worry right now. Many cities have suspended all eviction proceedings, and the federal government has instructed HUD to do the same. If you live in a HUD property or have a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Authority, you’re safe from eviction and foreclosure right now.

Paid sick leave passedAmong the emergency measures signed into law so far is an act that extends paid sick leave and paid family leave to small business owners and freelancers, which can be claimed as a credit on your taxes. Get the details here.

Aid programs available: If you experience a loss of income, the federally funded LIHEAP program can help with your utility bills. And be sure to check out this crowdfunded list of resources for freelance artists, including emergency grants, job postings, and more.

In New York City, if your work schedule has been reduced and you are unable to pay your rent, you can apply for a Cash Assistance special grant to get benefits for emergencies. Apply online here.

And be sure to check out these crowdsourced resource guides for lots more info on grants, free workshops, and mutual aid programs:

Gig Workers Collective’s COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Freelance Artists Resources

Get Involved

Here are two actions you can take to help support your fellow freelancers now:

1. Call your city and state representatives to demand they include freelancers in all relief programs. Freelancers Union is pushing to ensure that any financial safety nets that are implemented in this moment of economic crisis include freelancers. Our plan comprises the following:

  1. Establish a temporary emergency measure to provide zero-interest loans to small businesses, including freelancers.
  2. Establish disaster unemployment assistance programs that include all working freelancers and self-employed workers who have lost income due to the impacts of COVID-19.
  3. Institute tax breaks and deferments of tax payments for self-employed individuals.

2. Take our survey. We’re collecting information on how the coronavirus has impacted freelancers. Please take two minutes to fill out our survey about how you’re being affected by the pandemic! Your responses will help guide our advocacy and relief work.

Stay safe

Stock up. In addition to must-haves like breakfast cereal and wine, think about the things you need to get your work done. Shipping supplies? Printer paper? Whatever it is, try to have at least a two-week supply on hand.

Stay home. Social distancing is the best way to contain the spread of the virus, and many cities are implementing policies that ban public gatherings, close restaurants, bars, and event spaces, and even require all nonessential activity be ceased. If you absolutely need to leave the house, stay 6 feet away from others, wash your hands thoroughly, and don’t touch your face.

Upgrade your space. Have you been considering boosting your internet service? Getting a bigger monitor for your desk? If your budget can handle it, now’s a good time to make your home office more comfortable. You’ll be spending a lot more time here for the foreseeable future.

Keep learning. If your business is impacted, use the downtime to take on a big project you haven’t been able to find the time for—whether that’s mastering SEO or learning to knit. It doesn’t have to be professionally productive (though we always respect the hustle!), as long as it’s satisfying to you and keeps your brain engaged. And who knows? You might find a whole new revenue stream while you’re at it!

Be kind to yourself. For many freelancers, working from home is business as usual. But if you’re used to coworking or working from an office, the shift can feel isolating. Check out our tips for making the most of this time, and don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as productive as usual for a while.

Get creative. There’s no telling at this point how long this outbreak will last, so if you’ve got appointments or events on your calendar for the next few months, now’s the time to figure out how to make them happen virtually. Fitness instructor? Offer one-on-one FaceTime training sessions. Business consultant? Turn your workshops into Zoom meetings.

Updates on federal, state and local response to COVID-19.

A few updates on federal, state and local response to COVID-19.  

  • Statewide: Last night, Gov. Kemp held a press conference announcing a series of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus and support Georgians in need, including:
    • Closure of all bars and nightclubs, and banning all gatherings of ten or more people unless you can maintain at least six feet between people at all times. It also empowers the Department of Public Health to close any business, establishment, non-profit, or organization for noncompliance.
    • An order for isolation, quarantine, or shelter in place that covers those who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, are undergoing cancer treatment, have a positive COVID-19 test, are suspected to have COVID-19 because of their symptoms and exposure, or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19
    • Allowing temporary licensure for graduate student nurses and those whose licenses have expired in the last five years.
    • Extending Georgia’s tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020 in accordance with the new federal tax filing deadline
    • Increasing SNAP benefits for families and the elderly

Read the full transcript here, and click here to see all executive orders. The order went into effect today at noon, and stands until April 6. For the AJC coverage of the order, click here.   

  • Atlanta: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Monday night that she signed a 14-day order directing Atlanta residents to stay inside their homes, except when performing essential activities (tasks ensuring health and safety, obtaining necessary services and supplies) or working in essential businesses.  All non-essential businesses must cease activity at facilities in Atlanta, except for minimum basic operations.  Teleworking for non-essential businesses is allowed. The exemptions to the order include essential city services and businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, laundromats, parks, the Atlanta BeltLine and restaurants serving takeout. Residents may go outdoors, to parks and on the beltline but social distancing of at least 6 ft must be maintained.   The order also prohibits public and private gatherings outside of your primary household.  Read the full order with specific definitions here
  • Savannah: This morning, Mayor Van Johnson issued an amended emergency declaration, ordering people to shelter at home and increasing restrictions on businesses. Only essential businesses will remain open, and  restaurants can only provide carry out and delivery orders. City government offices remain open but are limited to the public. Shared facilities, including hotels and motels, must practice social distancing and follow CDC cleaning guidelines. The order also prohibits public and private gatherings outside of your primary household.  Read the full order with specific definitions here