The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:
THE LATEST BUSINESS COMMUNITY SURVEY: A lot can change in a week. What has changed in your business? Share with us in the latest survey. Click here.
CITY OF ABILENE EXTENDS DISASTER DECLARATION: The Abilene City Council voted Monday, April 13 to extend the COVID-19 Disaster Declaration and the Limited Shelter in Place through April 30, 2020 at 11:59 am. View the updated resolution here.
TAYLOR COUNTY COMMISSIONERS EXTEND ORDER: The Taylor County Commissioners extended their order restricting access to the Taylor County offices for another 15 days. Read more about their operations here.
THE ECONOMY’S DECLINE IS SLOWING: The index fell to -9.4 as of the week ending April 11 from -8.6 the previous week. For reference, the WEI stood at 1.6 on the week ending February 29, before the COVID-19 shock hit. Read more.
SALES TAX HOLIDAY APRIL 25-27 CREATED WITH THE INTENT FOR TEXANS TO SHOP FOR EMERGENCY SUPPLIES: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar stated that the sales tax holiday, starting at 12:01 am on April 25 to midnight on April 27, was created with the intent for Texans to shop for emergency supplies for events like hurricanes and spring storms. The sales tax holiday applies to qualifying items that are to be purchased online. There is not a limit on the number of qualifying items one can buy. A list of the emergency preparation supplies that can be purchased tax free can be found here.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS: The Texas Comptroller announced an email has been circulating that claims it is from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The message's subject is "The State of Texas Contract RFQ 2020" and asks the recipient to click on a link to review a purchase order. The Comptroller believes this email is an attempt to steal login credentials or financial information from the vendor. The Comptroller hosts fraud and consumer alerts here.
2020 CENSUS DEADLINES: In a statement from the Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts. The Department stated "in order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts. Under this plan, the Census Bureau would extend the window for field data collection and self-response to October 31, 2020, which will allow for apportionment counts to be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021, and redistricting data to be delivered to the states no later than July 31, 2021.”
CONGRESS OUT UNTIL EARLY MAY: Congress is extending its recess until May 4 to avoid transmitting coronavirus and practice social distancing, decisions that mean the House and Senate will continue operating in skeleton form for at least three more weeks. This means that any movement on additional business relief before at least then is unlikely.
STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE PROGRAM: The United Way of Abilene, 211 Texas and other partners have launched a Stay Home and Safe Program of the Big Country Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. The program is a tangible way that community members can make a difference in keeping the most vulnerable of our neighbors at home and safe. Read more.
UPDATE ON ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN ADVANCE: On March 29, 2020, following the passage of the CARES Act, the SBA provided small business owners and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 with the opportunity to obtain up to a $10,000 Advance on their Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The Advance is available as part of the full EIDL application and will be transferred into the account you provide shortly after your application is submitted. Read more.
COVID-19 CASE UPDATE: The City of Abilene now has 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19. For more information, visit the City's COVID-19 Dashboard.
Previously shared updates
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOCAL LENDERS: We're blessed in that Abilene's financial landscape is populated by strong, local institutions that qualify as SBA lenders. They are institutions we know and trust and are members of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. View the list here.
COMFORT FOOD CARE PACKAGES: FEED YOUTH AND FAMILIES IN NEED AND STAY OPEN: Governor Greg Abbott today announced the Comfort Food Care Package (CFCP) program to provide meals for at-risk youth and families in communities across Texas as the state responds to COVID-19. As part of the program, participating restaurants offer CFCPs for patrons to purchase on behalf of families and youth in need. Read more and sign up here.
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.
ABILENE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU: Stay engaged with your favorite attractions through virtual events. Find things to do, local dining and more here.
CHAMBER MEMBER EXCLUSIVE:
4/16 WHAT IS HOSPITALITY'S NEW NORMAL? Join special panel discussion with renowned health and hospitality experts where they will provide their perspectives on how hospitality leaders are managing through the COVID-19 crisis—including a high-level overview of efforts to secure relief for the industry; what's in store for the future of travel; and how and when the industry can best position itself for recovery. Register here.
4/23 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES WITH DONALD KOHN: Mr. Kohn is the Robert V. Roosa Chair in International Economics and senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution.Register here.