COVID-19 Businesses Resources

covid-reopening.jpg(PDF, 2MB)

Last Updated June 12, 2020

The City of Fort Worth is continuing to monitor and assess the impact to the business community from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that Fort Worth's business community take all necessary steps to help the city reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, there are a number of resources being pulled together at the local, state and federal levels to assist business owners during these challenging times.

 

Business resources

Child care

HR (Medical insurance, layoffs, etc.)

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Fort Worth HR to provide tools and resources to local employers and Human Resource professionals as it pertains to their employees and COVID-19.

 

Shared Work Program

The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. Texas Workforce Commission developed this voluntary program to help employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.

Shared work allows employers to supplement their employees' lost wages (due to reduced work hours) with partial unemployment benefits, and reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent, but not more than 40 percent. The reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit.

Additional HR resources

Taxes

 Fort Worth Hotel Occupancy Taxes and Public Improvement District Assessments

On May 5, 2020, the City Council approved an ordinance providing hotels with the option to defer remittance of Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) and Tourism Public Improvements District (TPID) Assessments. As a condition to receiving the deferral, hoteliers are required to report their gross and net room revenue (gross room revenue subject to HOT, less allowable exemptions) during the deferral periods so the city can record a receivable to track the deferred amounts in its financials.

For more information, hoteliers can visit: https://apps.fortworthtexas.gov/hoteltax/

Texas Franchise Tax

The Texas Franchise Tax Report filing date has been extended until July 15. The extension is automatic, and there's no need to file any additional forms.

For Franchise taxpayers who need an extension beyond July 15, options are available on the Texas Comptroller's webpage. 

 

Texas Business Personal Property Renditions

The April 15 deadline for Texas Business Personal Property Renditions has been extended to May 15.

 

Texas Workforce Commission

The TWC first quarter payroll tax report filing deadline has been extended until May 15. The TWC has requested that taxpayers delay filings until after April 15 due to the high volume of traffic on their website as a result of unemployment claims.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is not currently a time extension to file IRS form 941, due April 30.

Texas Comptroller information

The Texas Comptroller can offer assistance to businesses struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February, in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest.

Contact the Texas Comptroller's Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options for remaining in compliance, and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due. They also have a variety of online tools available, including tutorials and other resources for tax services.

Workforce & Unemployment

Workforce

 

The Fort Worth Best Place for Working Parents Worker Connector Platform allows business owners to submit a short, confidential survey regarding their business' current circumstances and needs, and they can help "match" you with inter-industry workforce opportunities to help:

  • Meet your emergency employment/workforce needs more quickly and efficiently.
  • Maximize local workforce talent by re-deploying recently unemployed or furloughed employees into other high-demand jobs during this crisis.
  • Reduce the number of unemployed workers in our community while providing a resource that business leaders can share with employees if they are forced to reduce their workforce during this time.

Unemployment

 

REMINDER: The CARES Act unemployment insurance bonus of an extra $600 will expire on July 31, 2020.

Right now, the U.S. government and Texas legislature have not changed any laws or rules concerning unemployment benefits during the pandemic. However, the Department of Labor gives significant flexibility to states to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) related to COVID-19. This allows Texas Workforce Commission to waive work search requirements and the waiting week for claimants affected by COVID-19.

Visit Texas Workforce Commission's Unemployment Claims Dashboard & Map for the latest unemployment insurance claim numbers and industries affected.

Rejecting an Offer for Rehire

Employees who have been furloughed and refuse a business' offer of rehire will still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They can be considered high-risk, or care for a household member who is high risk.
  • They test positive, or are required to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
  • They have children and there is no available childcare / schools are still closed, requiring the employee to stay home to care for them.

Note: The state has not yet determined how long this policy will be in effect. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Texas Workforce Commission.

If you are an employer whose employee rejected an offer for rehire and concerned about your Paycheck Protection Program funds, guidance is available on our Paycheck Protection Program page.

Be cautious of hiring scams

The Texas Workforce Commission cautions job-seekers regarding scams of individuals misrepresenting businesses attempting to secure sensitive, personal information through deceit and fake job opportunities. For examples common scams and more information about this topic visit their website.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Under the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program expands insurance benefits to those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, gig economy workers, and those ineligible for state unemployment benefits or who have exhausted their benefits. The program provides an expansion of unemployment insurance and benefits for workers if they have been fully or partially unemployed due to an inability to work as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Learn more at the Texas Workforce Commission's website, or by calling 800-939-6631.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

REMINDER: This CARES Act unemployment insurance bonus will expire on July 31, 2020.

Texas Unemployment Insurance

The Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Texas Workforce Commission determines benefit eligibility based on past wages, why someone lost their job, and ongoing eligibility requirements.

Rent - Landlords and Tenants

Tenants

  • The CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program forgivable funds can be used towards rent. If those funds have not arrived, or if you're unable to qualify, tenants are encouraged to talk to their landlords about setting up a payment plan, waiving late fees, etc.

Landlords

  • We understand that landlords have bills to pay their banks and investors, but landlords are encouraged to try and work with their tenants, avoid evictions if possible, be flexible with late fees and creative about setting up payment plans until the business' funds arrive. Talk to your banks as well, as many recognize what is going on and are working to defer payments.
  • Landlords, including Sole Proprietorship, are also eligible for the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) to pass down savings to tenants.

Utility expenses and other issues

 Electricity

Atmos Energy has temporarily suspended disconnections, to make sure both residential and commercial customers have continued access to natural gas during the COVID-19 outbreak.

TXU is waiving late fees, extending payment due dates with no down payment required, reducing down payments and deferring balances over five equal installments. TXU customers can also receive additional bill-payment assistance through its TXU Energy AidSM program.

Reliant and Green Mountain Energy are suspending disconnections for non-payment until April 3.

Internet/Phone

  • AT&T: On March 20, AT&T pledged that it will not terminate service to wireless, home phone or broadband, and waive any late payment fees for residential or small business customers. Learn more.
  • Charter Spectrum: Starting March 14, Spectrum committed to not terminate service or charge late fees for 60 days for residential or small business customers. Learn more.
  • Residents or business owners with other providers are encouraged to visit their provider's website or call them directly to find out what their policy is in regards to the COVID-10 pandemic. Talk to your provider about your options, like waiving your fees or setting up a payment plan.

Water

City staff will continue to review accounts each billing cycle, water bills will continue to be sent out, late fees will continue to accrue and delinquency notifications will be sent out under the normal process. Service interruptions for nonpayment will resume at a later date.

 

Bars(PDF, 662KB)

Tools and calculators

  • Faire Financial Calculator Tool helps small businesses understand the potential impact COVID-19 had on their business and offers next steps. It also is an online marketplace for mom and pop retailers and wholesalers- helping to keep stores in business.
  • Loom's Cash Runway Scenario Planning Tool is a free tool that lets business owners run different financial scenarios for their business allowing them to forecast and plan for the future.
  • Nav CARES Act SBA Loan Calculator helps businesses find out how much they can qualify for and navigate legislation.
  • Seated Hotline offers restaurant owners one hour of free consultation and advice from finance and law experts in the hospitality industry.

Reopening reminders and safety notices

  • Your building's water could be unsafe from prolonged shutdown. Standing water in pipes can pick up lead and copper, develop an odor, or become more susceptible to bacteria over time. Flush the building's ENTIRE system - every indoor and outdoor hot/cold water faucet, shower head, or appliance that uses water (dishwashers, ice makers, toilets, hot water heaters, fountains, etc.) - by running them for an extended period of time to bring in fresh water before resuming regular use.
  • Businesses that shut down will not be required to apply for or obtain a new certificate of occupancy or a new health inspection before they are allowed to reopen. As long as the business stays the same, and the owner/tenant remains the same, the business will not need a new certificate of occupancy. However, if the business' power is shut off, they may potentially need a new electrical inspection/release to get it turned back on.