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4/3 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • STATUS UPDATE SURVEY: As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want to gain a better understanding of how it's impacting the business community. What's changed in your business since we last surveyed the business community? Share with us here.

  • GUIDES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:

  • Guide to SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans (NEW)

  • Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit (NEW)

  • Coronavirus Emergency Loans Guide & Checklist (updated)

  • Coronavirus Emergency Loans Guide & Checklist (spanish)

  • APPLY TODAY FOR PAYCHECK PROTECTION: Financial institutions will now begin accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Loans - which provide up to $10 million in forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Contact your local lender today. Need further assistance? Call us. We're always on duty. More information here.

  • GOVERNOR ABBOTT SUSPENDS REGULATIONS TO INCREASE EMS, FIRST RESPONDER WORKFORCE: Governor Greg Abbott today suspended regulations to increase the amount of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers and first responders in Texas during the state's response to COVID-19. Under the Governor's direction, local medical directors for licensed EMS providers can permit individuals who are qualified, though not formally certified, to provide critical emergency response services for patients treated and transported by the EMS provider. The Governor has also suspended certain skills testing requirements for EMS personnel in Texas and for out of state Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians seeking reciprocity in Texas so that these individuals who are qualified, but currently unable to take the skills test, are able to provide essential EMS services. Additionally, Governor Abbott has also suspended regulations to allow first responder organizations to delay submission on their renewal application and completion requirements for licensure. 

  • TEXAS COMPTROLLER EXTENDS FRANCHISE TAX DEADLINE: In response to COVID-19, the comptroller announced in a press release that the agency is automatically extending the due date for 2020 franchise tax reports to July 15 in order to be consistent with the IRS. The extension applies to all franchise taxpayers and no additional forms need to be filed. Franchise taxpayers who need an extension beyond July 15 have the following options:

  • Non-electronic funds transfer taxpayers may file an extension request on or before July 15 and must pay: 90% of the tax due for the current year OR 100% of the tax reported as due for the prior year.

  • On or before July 15, taxpayers who are mandatory EET payers may request an extension of time to August 15 and must pay 90% of the tax due for the current year OR 100% of the tax reported as due for the prior year with the extension request. This extension request extends the report due date to January 15. 

Previously shared updates:


  • 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.

  • GOVERNOR ABBOTT AND TDHCA TAKE INITIAL ACTION TO SECURE FINANCIAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE: In a press release Governor Abbott announced the initial action he and TDHCA have taken in order to provide tenant-based rental assistance for residents financially impacted by COVID-19. The Governor waived statutes relating to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOME Internship Partnership program. This provides for Texas to have greater flexibility in using program funds to help Texans make rent payments. In a letter to HUD, TDHCA requests federal waivers to allow Texas to reprogram the program funds for the purpose of aiding Texans in paying their rent. The full press release from Governor Abbott's office can be found here.

  • GOVERNOR ABBOTT RELEASES VIDEO MESSAGE TO TEXANS AS LATEST EXECUTIVE ORDER GOES INTO EFFECT: Governor Greg Abbott today released a video with a statewide to message to all Texans as his Executive Order goes into effect requiring all Texans to stay home unless they are participating in an essential service or activity. A list of essential services and activities as defined under the Executive Order can be found here. The Executive Order goes into effect at 12:01 AM, April 2nd.

  • GOVERNOR ABBOTT ANNOUNCES FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE TO HELP TEXANS AFFECTED BY COVID-19: In a statement, Governor Abbott announced Texas' plan for recently passed $2 trillion federal stimulus package. Workers are the main beneficiaries of the stimulus dollars. Self-employed Texas whose businesses have failed under the economic stress of COVID-19 may be eligible. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Fund allows for states to extend federally-funded unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks; which in total will mean unemployment benefits will cover 39 weeks. The fund boosts weekly benefits of those laid off, terminated or furloughed due to COVID-19 by $600 per week. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance may be available for displaced workers who are not normally eligible for regular benefits, like those whose work hours that have been reduced due to the pandemic. The full press release can be found here.

WEBINARS/CALLS:


  • 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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© 2020 by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

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