The Explore Asheville team is focused on providing information and sharing resources to help industry partners navigate the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to pass along guidance and information from trusted sources as we discover it.


NC banks take steps to relieve pressure from coronavirus pandemic

[March 27, 2020] Large and small banks throughout North Carolina are taking steps to relieve economic pressure triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. According to an article in Carolina Public Press, the president and CEO of the N.C. Bankers Association advises, “If you’re experiencing difficulty because of the virus, don’t wait until it gets really bad. Call your bank now to explore options.” >>Read more.

UPDATE: Rapid Recovery Lending Program Oversubscribed

[March 26, 2020] The $15 million bridge funding program announced this week by Golden LEAF Foundation has been depleted. Golden LEAF says they are actively seeking additional funding to expand the program, which was designed for businesses that need financing until they can access SBA Disaster or other federal disaster funding.

Applications already submitted are being processed in the order they were received, and the foundation further said, “You are welcome to continue with your application, and we will review it as additional funding becomes available.” and administered locally by Mountain BizWorks >> Apply here.

Business Continuity & Lending in the COVID-19 Crisis

[March 26, 2020] Video is now available of the recent Virtual Town Hall hosted by Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce featuring panelists from SBTDC (Small Business & Technology Development Center), Western Women’s Business Center, Mountain BizWorks, and First Bank. >>View the video here.

Resources for Employers & Their Employees

[March 24, 2020] Meherwan Irani, Chef/Cofounder/CEO of Chai Pani Restaurant Group, has offered access to a plethora of resources helpful to the owners or managers of any kind of business. >>Read more..

Free Presentation: “Unemployment Benefits During the COVID-19 Crisis”

[March 24, 2020] Pisgah Legal Services and employment law volunteer attorney Michele Morris will present “Unemployment Benefits During the COVID-19 Crisis” via Facebook Live on March 25 at 3 p.m. The presentation will include an overview of unemployment benefits with Q&A in the comment section. >> Learn details.

Find an information page, Know Your Rights: Your Employment and COVID on the Pisgah Legal Services website with resources, information, how and where to file a claim and more.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program: Eligible Businesses Can Receive Loans for up to $50,000

[March 24, 2020] Mountain BizWorks is providing NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loans to help small businesses be resilient and adaptive in the face of the corornavirus crisis. These are primarily designed to be a timely source of bridge loan financing until businesses can access SBA Disaster or other federal disaster funding. The program is being launched with $15 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation. Eligible businesses can receive loans for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months, followed by 48 months of principal and interest payments at 5.5% interest. >>Learn more.

Mortgage & Rental Relief in the Face of COVID-19

[March 24, 2020] Mosaic Realty has put together an FAQ on Federal Mortgage Forbearance for homeowners that have been impacted by COVID-19, acknowledging that small business owners are also homeowners. There is also a sample lease amendment prepared by a local law firm for commercial & residential tenants to use for requesting relief from landlords. >> Read more

Q&A on Unemployment Insurance Changes Due to COVID-19 from NC Division of Employment Security

[March 23, 2020] The North Carolina Employment Security Division has published instructions and guidance to help both employers and individuals understand new changes to the state’s unemployment system, due to the current impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus in North Carolina.

Employment Considerations + Business Continuity & Lending in the COVID-19 Crisis

[March 23, 2020] The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County are hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls to get timely information to the business community during this COVID-19 crisis.

  • March 23, 1 – 2 p.m.: Employment Considerations in the COVID-19 crisis. 

PanelistsNathan Ramsey, Executive Director of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board and Land of Sky Regional Council; Rodney Embler, Executive Director of NCWORKS Asheville; Timothy Love, Emergency Operations Center for Buncombe County; Jackie Grant, Partner with Roberts and Stevens.  >> More Info & Instructions to Participate 

  • March 24, 3 – 4 p.m. Business Continuity & Lending in the COVID-19 Crisis

Panelists: Sandra Dennison, Regional Center Director, Small Business & Technology Development Center, WCU; Sharon Oxendine, Director, Western Women’s Business Center; Matthew Raker, Executive Director, Mountain BizWorks; Joe Ward, Regional Executive, First Bank. >>More Info & Instructions to Participate

Tax Filing Day Moved from April 15 to July 15, 2020

[March 20, 2020] All taxpayers and businesses will have an extra three months to file and pay their Federal income taxes this year. Tax Day has been moved from April 15 to July 15. Payments made on or before July 15 will not incur interest or penalties. However, if you are expecting a refund, you can still file now.  >>Read More.

The ND Dept. of Revenue also announced that the filing deadline for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes has also been extended. However, unless state law is changed, tax payments received after April 15 will be charged accruing interest. >>Read more.

New State & Federal Employment Benefits Help Employees Impacted by Coronavirus

[March 19, 2020] Susan Russo Klein, an attorney with Roberts & Stevens, P.A., has provided an overview of new state and federal employment benefits for workers affected by coronavirus. These updates are part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. >>Read more.

Applications Now Open for SBA Disaster Relief Funds

[March 19, 2020] Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that small businesses across North Carolina are now eligible to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans related to COVID-19. >>Read details and learn how to apply.

$100 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses

[March 19, 2020] Facebook has announced a program to assist small businesses dealing with impacts of COVID-19. >>Read more.

Asheville Area Arts Council Seeking Info on Business Impacts

[March 19, 2020]

Share Your Business Updates on

[March 18, 2020] The team at Explore Asheville is seeking information on changes in partner businesses as a result of guidelines recommended by health authorities to address the COVID-19 situation. These include new hours of operation, temporary closures, cancelled or postponed events, and creative new ways of serving customers. Updates appear on a new section of, which serves as a resource for both visitors and residents looking for business information.  >>Find out here how to submit your changes.

COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

[March 18, 2020] The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is conducting a survey that asks you to take three minutes to share how your business is responding to COVID-19 and what resources you may need. Responses will inform Chamber discussions with elected officials about emergency services and relief. >>Read more.

AAAC is circulating surveys to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus on arts and cultural organizations. >>Learn more and participate here.

White House plan aims to send $2,000 to many Americans, includes $300 billion for small businesses

[March 18, 2020]  An emergency stimulus package that could send two $1,000 checks to many Americans and also devote $300 billion towards helping small businesses avoid mass layoffs is making its way through Congress, as reported in Washington Post. >>Read more

Recommendations on Cleaning & Disinfection for Businesses

[March 18, 2020] Buncombe County Environmental Health provides guidance on several items. NOTE: The guidance is dynamic and may change, so these links are the best resource at this time.

Here is the email address for any questions related to this guidance, cleaning supplies, etc.:

Rules for Jobless Benefits Eased by NC Governor Roy Cooper

[March 17, 2020]  NC Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order issued today will directly aid workers who may have lost wage in restaurants and meeting places due to mass gathering restrictions.

For example, workers who lose income due to tips or scheduled work hours, but are still employed, would be eligible for benefits because of this Executive Order. Among other changes:

  • It removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment payment for those workers who lose their jobs;
  • It removes the requirement that a person must be actively looking for another job during this time when many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect.
  • It allows employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to Covid-19 to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • It directs that employers will not be held responsible for benefits paid as a direct result of these COVID-19 claims.
  • It waives the requirement that people must apply for benefits in person; workers can apply for benefits online or by phone.

>>Read the full executive order here.

U.S. Travel Association Releases Stats on Impacts of Coronavirus

[March 17, 2020] A new analysis by Tourism Economics projects that decreased travel due to coronavirus will inflict an $809 billion total hit on the U.S. economy and eliminate 4.6 million travel-related American jobs this year. >>Read more.

Facebook Launches Business Resource Hub

[March 17, 2020] Facebook’s comprehensive resource hub offers information for business owners, from a Business Resilience Toolkit to tips on how to host online events. >>Read more.

Business Resiliency Tips from Mountain BizWorks

[March 17, 2020] Mountain BizWorks and Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center offer tips on how to keep your business operational during COVID-19. >>Read more.

COVID Resource Hub for Travel Industry

[March 16, 2020] Destinations International has created a comprehensive list of resources on the effects of coronavirus on the travel, tourism and meetings industry. >>Read more.

White House Prepares Rescue Package of at Least $800 Billion

[March 16, 2020]  Politico reports on the deployment of at least $800 billion in aid in the coming weeks to prop up the U.S. economy, as retailers, restaurants, sporting events and other businesses shut down and Americans slow their spending while staying home to guard against the coronavirus pandemic. >>Read more.

How To Prepare Your Business for COVID-19

[March 13, 2020] Guidance from Buncombe County Health & Human Services. >> Read more.

Partner Resource: CDC Health Precautions Signage for your Business

[March 5, 2020] The COVID-19 guest handout that incorporates the CDC guidelines for staying healthy is available for download.

COVID-19: Got Questions?

[February 28, 2020] Get the answers you’re seeking about the Coronavirus.

  • Buncombe County Health & Human Services encourages those with additional questions about preparedness planning for your organization to email
  • Also, the North Carolina Coronavirus Helpline is staffed by nurses and pharmacists who can answer questions about symptoms, risk factors, how coronavirus spreads and possible precautions: 866-462-3821.