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4/17 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • PRESIDENT’S PLAN FOR REOPENING DEFERS TO STATES AND HINGES ON TESTING: Thursday afternoon, President Trump announced a phased plan to reopen the county on an afternoon call with state governors. The plan leaves most of the responsibility for major decisions to the states and relies on testing benchmarks. Since then, CNN has published the White House Guidelines for ‘Opening Up America Again’. The document details three separate phases for individuals and employers with regional criteria before proceeding to a phased opening.

  • GOV. ABBOTT TO REVEAL PLANS TO REOPEN TEXAS ECONOMY: Gov. Greg Abbott is preparing to share details about his plan to reopen the Texas economy. Abbott will make the announcement at noon from the Texas Capitol. The press conference will stream on social media and on the KTAB/KRBC Facebook page. Read more.

  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM: Funds in the Paycheck Protection Program, the emergency small business lending program, have run out according to a message for lenders posted on the administration's website. Negotiations on Capitol Hill have yet to generate a path forward to replenish the money. Read more.

  • NEW GUIDE AVAILABLE TO HELP INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED: The U.S. Chamber today released a new guide to help independent contractors and self-employed individuals secure funding under the CARES Act. The guide will assist millions of independent contractors, including accountants, construction workers, musicians, real-estate agents, freelance writers, and gig workers. It provides step-by-step assistance to help people understand eligibility requirements, borrowing limits, and appropriate use of funds under the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. It also outlines the steps required to apply for Unemployment Compensation under a special program created by the CARES Act.

  • WORKFORCE UPDATE FROM WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS OF WEST TEXAS: Key demographics of individuals approved to receive Unemployment Insurance as of April 10, 2020 are as follows:

  • Individuals ages 20 – 29 years comprise 56% of claimants

  • Females represent 53% of all claimants

  • Whites represent 60% of claimants; Blacks represent 7% of claimants and Hispanics represent 28% of claimants

  • Individuals with a high school education/GED represent 42% of claimants and individuals with some college represent 33% of claimants. Individuals with an associate degree or higher represent 11% of claimants.

  • Read more.

  • U.S. CHAMBER UNVEILS SAVE SMALL BUSINESS INITIATIVE: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched the Save Small Business Grant Fund. Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the program provides $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities. Click here to see if your business is eligible.

  • SENATOR CRUZ MEETING: Earlier this week, Chamber members had the opportunity to join Senator Ted Cruz for a conversation surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on Chamber member businesses, updates on the CARES act, the latest from DC, and more. You can view that video here.

  • ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS: The first wave of the IRS' Economic Impact Payments should be deposited into accounts. If you have not yet received your payment, check the status here.

Previously shared updates

  • RELIEF FOR 501(C)(6) ORGANIZATIONS: Support your local Chamber of Commerce and industry trade associations by respectfully asking Congress to include 501(c)6 organizations and other 501(c) non-profits as eligible participants in COVID-19 relief efforts.Click 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


  • 4/23 TOWN HALL WITH TWC EMPLOYER COMMISSIONER AARON DEMERSON: Texas Employer Commissioner Aaron Demerson will be joined by his legal staff and Adriana Cruz, Director of Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism Division to share information on resources for employers and address your questions. 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.

  • 4/17 NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS TOWN HALL: Join the U.S. Chamber for the fourth installment of their National Small Business Town Hall. This week, they'll continue the discussion to help business owners naviagte the aid available to them. Register here.

  • 4/22 CARES ACT, SBA LOANS AND USDA UPDATE FOR PRODUCERS: Given the extraordinary financial stresses affecting producers, many farmers are hoping that the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new loan program established in the CARES Act may help keep their businesses in operation. Texas Corn Producers has asked K·Coe Isom, the nation's leading food and ag accounting and advisory firm, to shed light on the various aspects of the CARES Act, SBA Loans and USDA updates as it pertains to producers. Register here.


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