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      Athens Area

Recovery & Resiliency


Table of Contents

  • Chamber Recovery Pages
  • Chamber Chats
  • Weekly Developments
  • Financial Assistance
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Restaurants - Classic City Love
  • FAQ
  • Chamber Chats & Weekly Development Archives
  • Additional Resources

Chamber Recovery Pages

Reopening Athens, Is Your Business Prepared?
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Recurrring Chamber Chats

Every Other Wednesday at 9:00 AM

Next Chamber Chat: July 15th

Business & Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Erin Barger (Envision Athens), Lawrence Harris (CCSD), Sarah McKinney (Athens Area Community Foundation), Key Keller (United Way of NE GA)

Mayor Kelly


Every Wednesday at 6:00 PM

Athens Clarke County Response & Reopening Conversation

Mayor Kelly Girtz, ACC Government and Community Members

Financial Assistance

1. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Small Business Association has a loan specifically for businesses that have suffered as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This loan falls solely under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Please follow the resources and see if this loan opportunity is a program that could benefit your business.

Navigating the EIDL can be challenging. Businesses can contact a number of Small Business Development Centers that would be more than happy to assist. Click the following for assistance: SBDC Contact Information & Locations

1a. Up to $10,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (Grant, $1,000 per employee)

Just for filling out the SBA loan application your business could have access to a $10,000 grant for your business to cover its expenses. April 8th stipulations dictate a $1,000/employee (9 employees=$9,000). This "loan advance" does not have to be repaid and businesses can be eligible even if they do not qualify for the EDIL loan. Also if you receive the "advance" and are approved for the loan, you can decline the loan and still keep the $10,000 "advance". Whether you want the grant or not is a question on the EDIL loan application itself. This is a very easy access to funds and we are recommending everyone take the time to fill out the application and request the funds. Once again, if your application is successful, you may decline the loan itself and not have to repay the $10,000.

1b. Express Bridge Loan

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

2. Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economics Security Act (C.A.R.E)

The C.A.R.E Act is a 880 page, 2.2 Trillion dollar stimulus bill designed to provide relief to individuals and businesses with economic stress due to the coronavirus. It is the umbrella document that houses a number of Programs and Acts that deal with specific issues.

2a. Paycheck Protection Program (last updated April 20th)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed for companies impacted by the virus. Any loan funds used to help cover rent, payroll, utilities and mortgage interest do not have to be repayed. This Program is accessable through SBA 7(a) lenders only. Please contact your bank about Paycheck Protection options and applications. As of April 3rd some approved SBA lenders are accepting PPP applications while need more time to get ready for the applications.


The Paycheck Protection Program reached its $349 billion spending limit on April 16th for small businesses. The SBA is currently not accepting new applications for the PPP, however banks are still processing applications in anticipating of additional PPP funding.

Featured SBA 7(a) Lenders: First American Bank & Trust, Synovus, Bank South, Regions Bank, Pinnacle Bank, South State Bank.                       For more SBA 7(a) Lenders view here
3. Unemployment

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has adopted an emergency Rule 300-2-4-0.5 Partial Claims, effective March 16, 2020. The rule mandates all Georgia employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees for any week during which an employee (full-time/part-time) works less than full-time due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee. Download the How Employers File Partial Claims Desk-Aid found on the GDOL Alert Page and follow the step-by-step instructions. Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom you file a partial claim are NOT required to report to a Georgia Department of Labor career center, register for employment services, or look for other work.

4. IRS Tax Relief

The IRS has moved tax dates due to staffing and financial stress. Please view the IRS website to view updated developments.

5. Georgia Department of Human Services

The DHS has issued a release that outlines a few of their social resources for individuals and families that are facing financial stress.

6. Grant Watch

Grant Watch is a non-profit organization that compiles grant opportunities throughout the state of Georgia.

Coronavirus COVID-19 grants, loans, funding opportunities and financial assistance to respond to the corona pandemic crisis that has impacted individuals, artists, communities, nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Mental Health Resources

Owning a small business is one of the most stressful occupations, even in the best of times when we aren't in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 has brought huge health challenges to our communities and has a direct impact on our businesses, particularly small businesses. Now, more than ever, is the time to take care and manage excessive stress. Feeling stressed is a normal response to an abnormal situation, but getting overwhelmed by stress can be toxic, physically and emotionally, and at its darkest can lead to thoughts and even acts of suicide. It is important to act now and find ways to cope with stress.

With the help of the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia, we are providing support around stress and mental health to small businesses. Please check out all of the great resources below if Covid-19 has caused you excessive stress or negatively affected your mental health.

Tasks for Managers in Responding to Mental Health Needs during Social Distancing or Quarantine

Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) is staffed by licensed mental health professionals and is available 24/7 toll-free at 1-800-715-4225. Language assistance is available.

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak by SAMHSA

Resources from SAMHSA that can be used to virtually support recovery from mental/substance use disorders. It also provides resources to help local recovery programs create virtual meetings.

The Georgia Covid-19 Emotional Support Line provides 24/7 free and confidential assistance to callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

How to Cope with a Disaster or Traumatic Event by the CDC

Small Business Covid-19 Resource List by the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative 

Covid-19 Resources in Different Languages by the Latino Community Fund Georgia

Kid's Guide to Stay Safe and Healthy during Covid-19 by Mental Health America of Georgia

This resource by Dr. Kate Castle aims to provide evidence-based, self-help information and tips for getting through the coronavirus pandemic, based on psychology, neuroscience, resilience research and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Community Deals - Restaurant/Retail Operations

The Athens community is developing a one stop website that has the unique terms for restaurant operations. Your favorite spots may be more accessible than you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Athens Clarke County Government

If you have questions related to Covid-19 concerns for your business or seeking help with business / workforce / non-profit resources and opportunities, send an email to and have your questions answered by ACC Economic Development or a local partner organization. The Athens Clarke County Government has compiled a list of responses to some of the top questions regarding recent developments. Click HERE for responses to common questions such as:

United States Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber has compiled resolutions to issues businesses have been facing. Click HERE to view their assessment of common issues such as:

Archived Chamber Chats

Amy Walter

Friday, May 22nd

How Social Psychology Influences Political Behavior

Athens Segment, 33:00 Recoding Here

Wednesday, May 27th, 9:00 AM

Business & Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Erin Barger (Envision Athens), Lawrence Harris (CCSD), Sarah McKinney (Athens Area Community Foundation), Key Keller (United Way of NE GA)

Recording Here

Wednesday, June 3rd at 9:00 AM

Business & Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Erin Barger (Envision Athens), Lawrence Harris (CCSD), Sarah McKinney (Athens Area Community Foundation), Key Keller (United Way of NE GA)

Recording Here

Tuesday, May 12th at 8:00 AM

Small Business Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz & Blaine Williams

Recording Here

Wednesday, May 13th 9:00 AM

Business & Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Erin Barger (Envision Athens), Lawrence Harris (CCSD), Sarah McKinney (Athens Area Community Foundation), Key Keller (United Way of NE GA)

Recording Here


May 20th at 3:00 PM

Regional Chambers – Safe/Healthy Re-opening of Businesses

Alex Koutsos, Piedmont, Executive Director, Primary Care Operations & Retail Services

Recording Here & Piedmont Power Point Here & Business Reopening Resources

May 20th at 9:00 AM

Business & Community Update

Mayor Kelly Girtz, Erin Barger (Envision Athens), Lawrence Harris (CCSD), Sarah McKinney (Athens Area Community Foundation), Key Keller (United Way of NE GA)

Recording Here

Archived Weekly Updates

Click Blue Bolded Text to View Associated Article

May 21st: Resources: Zoom Requests Users Download Mandatory Security Update Before May 30th Zoom

May 18th: National News CDC is Allowing Cruise Crew Members to Disembark in U.S. Waters and Return Home CDC

May 16th: Financial Assistance: House Passes 3 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Package, Faces Opposition from the White House and Senate CBS

May 15th: Local News: Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Open Select Parks ACC Gov


May 13th: State News: Governor Kemp Extends Shelter in Place Business Practices Until May 31st ACC Gov

May 13th: Resource: UGA SBDC Now Offering Free Courses for Small Businesses SBDC

April 13th - April 19th

April 15th: Financial Assistance: First 80 Million +/-$1,200 stimulus checks poised to be delivered over the course of the week. Washington Post

April 14th: Financial Assistance: Leaders in the community have put together a coalition of lenders that are open to new applicants for the Paycheck Protection Program. Program Guide

April 14th: Financial Assistance Resource: The Small Business Development Center has put together a compare and contrast of the different financial relief initiatives. Georgia Small Business Development Center

April 13th: Local Resource: ACCGov Economic Development Department organizes a COVID email support line for people/businesses with questions. Email with inquiries.

April 13th: Financial Assistance: Samuel Adams to provide relief to displaced restaurant employees. Accepting applications until April 24th. CNN

April 6th - April 13th
Click Blue Bolded Text to View Associated Article

April 8th: Financial Assistance: SBA $10,000 EDIL Grant comes with new employee cap caveat.

April 8th: Local News: Approved last night, Athens-Clarke County to defer April 1st - June 1st county fees. Business & Community Update (timestamp 48:52)

April 8th: Local & National News: Governor Kemp extends emergency powers to May 13th to combat COVID. AJC

April 7th: Finance/News: Small Business Stimulus Loans: Wells Fargo announces it can not keep up with Payment Protection stimulus demands. Forbes

April 6th: Local & National News: Surgeon General and President Trump wants the nation to brace for a harsh week, US cases top 300,000. NBC News Article & COVID-19 Confirmed Cases by GA County 

April 3rd: Financial Assistance (Paycheck Protection Program): Various banks are beginning to accept applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. Contact your Bank about applications or select from approved SBA 7(a) lenders in the Financial Assistance section. We ask that you please be patient with the banks as this is a developing process.

March 27th-April 6th
Click Blue Bolded Text to View Associated Article

April 3rd: Financial Assistance (Paycheck Protection Program): Various banks are beginning to accept applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. Contact your Bank about applications or select from approved SBA 7(a) lenders in the Financial Assistance section. We ask that you please be patient with the banks as this is a developing process.

April 2nd: Local & National News: Governor Kemp signs state wide shelter in place. Full AJC Article, FAQ Page

April 1st: Local & National News: Governor Kemp likely to sign statewide shelter in place Thursday. Public Schools closed for remainder of school year. WSB

April 1st: Financial Assistance: US Treasury sent instructions to banks on the Payroll Protection Program under the C.A.R.E Act. Banks may be accepting applications as early as April 3rd. ABA Bank Journal. See Financial Assistance section below for details (including application).

March 30th: Resource: US Chamber releases informative small business stimulus bill information. US Chamber Article

March 30th: Local & National News: White House extends social distancing guidelines to April 30th. NBC News 

March 29th: Financial Assistance/News: Publix offering rent relief to tenants in Publix owned shopping centers. CBS

March 27th: Local & National News: 2.2 Trillion dollar stimulous bill passed by Donald Trump. NBC News 

March 22nd - 29th

March 27th: Local & National News: 2 Trillion dollar stimulus bill passed by House of Representatives, moves to President Trump NBC News

March 26th: Local & National News: 2 Trillion dollar stimulus bill passed by Senate, moves to House of Representatives for vote NBC News

March 25th: Local & National News: Video of Governor Kempt's COVID-19 Town Hall Georgia Public Broadcasting

March 25th: Local & National News: White House and Senate come to terms on 2 Trillion dollar stimulus deal. NBC News

March 22nd: Community Deal: Starting today AT&T to waive data overage charges for the next 60 Days. Full article here: AT&T Relief

Additional Resources

Economic Relief for Small Business Owners- Athens Downtown Development Authority

Activities for Children

Classic City Love- Kaptiv8

Garrie Vereen Memorial Emergency Relief Fund (Support for the Athens Entertainment Industry)

Covid-19 Community Response Fund- Athens Area Community Foundation

List of Essential Businesses- Athens-Clarke County Unified Government

Preparing and Responding to Coronavirus- Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

Covid-19 Updates- Athens-Clarke County Unified Government

Covid-19 Daily Status Report- GA Department of Public Health

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers- CDC

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Presentation- GA Department of Public Health

How to Work With Kids From Home- BELAY Solutions

10 Ways to Love Athens in Troubling Times - Envision Athens

Athens Restaurants Offering Delivery and Curbside Pickup- Online Athens

Coronavirus Related Updates and Travel Resources- Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau


Disclaimer: The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce wants to deliver pertinent, up to date information to the community but is not a banking or legal institution. On all documents presented and opinions expressed please consult a qualified professional before making any decisions for yourself or your business. Thank you for your support.

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