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3/31 COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • COVID-19 COMPLIANT BUSINESS PARTNER: To further encourage the business community to comply with new "Limited Shelter in Place" order, the Chamber is launching “COVID-19 Work Safe ABI” program.Businesses who adopt these principles are encouraged to publicly declare their pledge to do so. Take the pledge.

  • DONATE PPE TO ASSIST ABILENE- AREA PHYSICIANS: Big Country area residents and companies are urged to join the fight to care for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, during this pandemic. The Big Country County Medical Society is hosting a donation drive to collect personal protective equipment (PPE) to aid local physicians during the coronavirus pandemic. Items needed are unopened packages of N-95 face masks, paper masks and face shields, disposable gowns, disposable gloves, and shoe covers. DETAILS.


  • The good news: As you likely know, the $2 Trillion CARES Act passed on Friday includes $350 billion for a Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans of up to $10 million to any business with fewer than 500 employees.

  • Even better news: You do not have to visit any government institution to apply for the program. All you have to do is apply at any lending institution that is approved to participate in SBA lending or is approved by the U.S.Department of Treasury. This could be the bank you normally use, or a nearby bank. There are thousands of banks that already participate in the SBA’s lending programs, including numerous community banks. You can call your bank or find SBA-approved lenders in your area through SBA’s online Lender Match tool.

  • Find more information on the Paycheck Protection Program here.

  • For a chart outlining eligibility and terms for loans via the Paycheck Protection Program here.

  • The best news: These loans are forgivable. Loans can be forgiven up to the amount of the loan equal to the sum of expenses for payroll, and existing interest payments on mortgages, rent payments, leases, and utility service agreements.

  • NEW REFUNDABLE PAYROLL TAX CREDITS: Small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. DETAILS.

  • GOVERNOR ABBOTT SUSPENDS INSURANCE CLAIM-HANDLING DEADLINES: The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has issued a bulletin to help consumers and the insurance industry during the COVID-19 outbreak and expects all insurers to work with policyholders experiencing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. DETAILS.

  • BRIEFING ON EMERGENCY CORONAVIRUS FUNDING FOR 501(C)(3) NONPROFITS: Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber Foundation hosted a briefing on how 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations can benefit from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you missed the discussion—which was led by U.S. Chamber Foundation president Carolyn Cawley and U.S. Chamber chief policy officer Neil Bradley—or would like to view it again, please click here to watch the video.

  • WATCH OUT FOR SCAMMERS: The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers that we should beware of Coronavirus scams, and encourages people to remain watchful so as not to fall victim.

  • BUSINESSES ARE STEPPING UP: Big Country area businesses are offering help to the community in many ways as we weather the COVID-19 situation together. Share how your business is helping.

  • FEDERAL BANK REGULATORY AGENCIES ANNOUNCE ACTIONS TO SUPPORT LENDING: On Friday, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced actions to support lending to households and businesses. The actions include allowing early adoption of new methodology regarding how banking organizations are required to measure counterparty credit risk derivatives contracts and providing an optional extension of the regulatory capital transition for the new credit loss accounting standard. The changes are to take place immediately.

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