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4/1 COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

Business Updates for COVID-19


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.

  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM: Today, the Treasury Department released initial information for lenders and small businesses for the Paycheck Protection Program – the program that provides $349 billion in loans for small businesses, the self-employed, and independent contractors. These loans can be converted into grants based on an employer’s expenses.Small business can begin applying for these loans this Friday, and the application is now available online. To learn more visit the Treasury Department website.


  • NUMBERS TO KNOW: $350 Billion: Amount of loans now available to small businesses. 100 Million: Number of respirators to be produced by 3M each month.<500: Businesses with fewer than 500 employees can be eligible for emergency loans.

  • US TREASURY AND SBA BEGIN UNPRECEDENTED PUBLIC-PRIVATE MOBILIZATION EFFORT TO DISTRIBUTE FUNDS: In a press release, the US Treasury outlines the next step in rolling out the programs established by the CARES Act. The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program will provide relief to small businesses by providing small business job retention loans to provide eight weeks of payroll and overhead. The program is expected to begin on April 3rd. More information can be found here.

  • A top-line overview of the program can be found here.

  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.

  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.

  • The application for borrowers can be found here.


  • EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT: In a press release, the US Treasury and the IRS launched the Employee Retention Credit. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in waged paid by an eligible employer whose business has been "financially impacted" by COVID-19. Qualifying employers must either have their business fully or partially suspended by a COVID-19 related government order OR have gross receipts below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019. The credit is available to all employers,including tax-exempt organizations, regardless of size. The credit is not available to state and local governments & their instrumentalities, small businesses who take out small businesses loans or employers whose gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter in 2019. More information, including how credit is calculated and additional resources, can be found here


  • ABBOTT EXTENDS SOCIAL DISTANCING UNTIL APRIL 30: Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services.


  • 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.


WEBINARS/CALLS:

  • ABILENE ACTIVATED: Free online webinar Thursday, April 2 at 2:30 pm presented by Tech Bloc.This seminar is geared toward small businesses and highlights local resources for businesses during COVID-19, business training/keeping up with your skills during this time, ways to pivot your business and diversify your revenue streams, and is for the business owner and your employees. 

  • OVERNIGHT VIRTUAL BUSINESS: How to Successfully Operate Your Business with Technology During COVID-19 Tuesday, April 7 at 2:30 pm. Presented by Tolar Systems. For many companies, COVID-19 has forced a change in status quo. During this webinar you will learn how to use technology to improve team communication, access remote files, and strengthen customer relationships. Since the ability to interact in person has been limited you must create strategies to overcome that with intentional virtual communication and collaboration. 


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