North Carolina Business Reopening Resources – COVID-19


Download North Carolina’s Business Resources During the Pandemic

Although many North Carolina employers are now back in business during the pandemic, it isn’t business as usual. And it won’t be for some time. Companies have implemented measures to protect their workers and the public from the spread of the virus. They are turning to several resources to help manage operations during the “new normal.” The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina lists some of those resources below, emphasizing that businesses always need to follow protocols set by the governor and local and state health officials.

For all general questions, call EDPNC Small Business Advisors at 800.228.8443.

EDPNC Small Business Advisors staff are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.  Our staff will connect your business to the appropriate organization for assistance.  All inquiries will receive a response from a confidential business counselor within three (3) business days.  “Se Habla Español.”

Is your business preparing to reopen?

The Governor’s Multi-Phase Plan. North Carolina is taking a multi-phased approach – based on data from testing, tracing, and trends and in consultation with members of the business community – to lift restrictions in place to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and save lives. Click here to learn more about restrictions currently in place.

N.C. Department of Health and Human ServicesBusinesses can find the latest information on COVID-19 in N.C. by visiting the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website. The site includes links to specialized advice for specific industries. 

State Guidance for Restaurants. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance for restaurants reopening under the governor’s phased approach to lifting business restrictions. The guidance will help restaurants reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

National Restaurant Association Guidance. The National Restaurant Association has provided this operating guide on best practices and procedures for restaurants.

Count on Me NC Initiative. The NC Restaurant and Lodging Association has joined with industry, academic and state partners including Visit NC on the Count On Me NC public health initiative. The campaign provides a free, evidenced-based training program that guides restaurants, hotels, attractions and other businesses on best practices for North Carolina’s reopening. It will also direct consumers to look for certificates and logos indicating that a business has completed the voluntary training. Read the press release here.

Protecting Your Business from COVID-19. This guide from the National Institute of Standards and Technology can help businesses prepare for the impacts of COVID-19 and protect their facility and employees from exposure. 

CDC Posters and Flyers for Your Business. This link provides free downloadable materials you can print and display in your workplace. They were developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support COVID-19 safety recommendations and are available in multiple languages. 

EPA Information on Disinfectants for Use Against COVID-19. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website provides helpful information that includes a list of disinfectants that meet EPA standards for use against the virus. 

Responding to a COVID-19 Exposure at Your Business. Businesses can download this checklist of what to do if they suspect a COVID-19 exposure has occurred at their facility. The advice is based on CDC recommendations. The business should be sure to refer to North Carolina state recommendations as well. 

OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed the 35-page “Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” which can be downloaded here. 

OSHA RecordKeeping Requirements for COVID-19This link highlights OSHA standards and directives (instructions for compliance officers) that may apply to worker exposure to COVID-19. 

Operation Open Doors Checklist for Retailers. The National Retail Federation has issued a checklist for reopening, encouraging retailers to work with their legal and financial advisers to adapt recommendations to their specific circumstances.  

NC Retail Merchants Association Website. This website updates regularly to provide industry-specific information for North Carolina retailers managing operations during COVID-19, including webinars, signage to display, details on requirements vs. recommendations, and more.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Website. The FDA’s Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease website has a wealth of information regarding food safety for consumers as well as businesses and workers in farming and in food production, processing, and retail settings. 

U.S Department of Agriculture Website. The USDA website has a list of frequently asked questions related to COVID19, operations of the USDA’s Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service, and more. 

Family Forward NC COVID-19 Rapid Response Program. Family Forward NC offers Rapid Response – no cost access to HR experts to assist employers in identifying industry-appropriate, family-friendly workplace benefits during re-opening/retooling.  These supports help employers and working parents build resilience during and after the COVID crisis. Rapid Response focuses specifically on the manufacturing and hospitality industries, but recommendations and tools can apply to other industries as well.

Is your business experiencing supply chain disruptions due to the impact of COVID-19?

Find the Manufacturer or Supplier your business needs at ManufacturedNC:

  • This database of suppliers contains every kind of thing produced in NC. Whether you’re a manufacturer who wants to localize your supply chain or a business searching for packaging suppliers, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here.
  • If you are an N.C. manufacturer, please register your business with ManufacturedNC here. Other businesses may be looking for you!
State and Federal COVID-Relief Loan, Grant, and Tax Relief Programs

Business Recovery Grant Program

The information and application for the Business Recovery Grant Program are now available on NCDOR’s website. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022. The program will issue a one-time payment to eligible North Carolina businesses that experienced significant economic loss due to COVID-19. Two types of grants will be available to eligible businesses that suffered an economic loss of at least 20 percent during the pandemic:

  1. A hospitality grant will be available to an eligible arts, entertainment, and recreation business, as well as an eligible accommodation or food service business such as a hotel, restaurant, and bar.
  2. A reimbursement grant will be available to an eligible business not classified in NAICS Code 71 and 72 and that did not receive funding from other relief programs including Paycheck Protection Program, COVID-19 Job Retention Grant, and EIDL Advance.

Paid Leave Tax Credit for Vaccines. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows small and midsize employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. The ARP tax credits are available to eligible employers that pay sick and family leave for leave from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. For more Information see the Internal Revenue Service’s fact sheet.


Interested in starting a business during this challenging time?

A free online course is available, teaching the basics of starting, running, and growing a business. It is open to anyone, anywhere. The Brian Hamilton Foundation’s course covers business ideation, marketing, selling, customer service, and more. Learn how to break through the fear of failure to become your own boss. Sign up and learn more at

And as always, please feel free to contact our team of small business advisors at 800-228-8443 with any questions you have about starting a business in North Carolina.

Looking for other helpful government resources?

N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services: COVID-19 Recommendations for Businesses and Employers

N.C. Dept. of Agriculture: Agricultural Industry Update