Fayetteville forms task force to help small businesses impacted by virus outbreak

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan has announced the formation of the Small Business Resiliency Task Force (SBRTF), designed to assist, explore and develop resources for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The group is an expansion of the city’s Department of Economic Vitality, and will be charged with:

  • Identifying additional measures to alleviate burdens upon small businesses during the pandemic
  • Identifying access to capital opportunities for businesses that are not eligible for certain state or federal resources
  • Identifying measures to assist dislocated workers impacted by business closures due to COVID-19
  • Assessing best practices for small business support from communities across the country and exploring how to adapt them to work within the parameters of the laws of the City of Fayetteville and State of Arkansas
  • Identifying and developing mid-term and long-term strategies for the redevelopment and activation of small businesses within the City of Fayetteville

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday ordered all restaurants and bars to cease dine-in services and switch to takeout, curbside pickup or delivery only. The changes prompted Mayor Jordan to temporarily change some local rules to allow more flexibility for small businesses.

Additional temporary changes

A city law that prevents restaurants from selling groceries and food items has been temporarily suspended. The lift is effective immediately, and restaurants do not need to amend their business licenses or request permission to change their use.

Also, temporary signage can be displayed locally without any time limitation in an effort to help businesses advertise and promote services to customers.

Business owners may also reconfigure their parking and loading areas to better allow deliveries and curbside pickup as long as the existing curb cuts and driveways are maintained.

Businesses must complete Hotel, motel and restaurant (HMR) sales tax reports as normal, but the city will allow required tax payments to be deferred without interest or penalty for 30 days.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state of Arkansas’s request for a Disaster Declaration, according to a news release. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is now open for application, with information available on the city’s website.