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4/30 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • UPDATE FROM CITY OF ABILENE: Mayor Williams is expected to comment on Abilene’s disaster declaration and guidelines today at the 11:15 am City Council Meeting. Check back here for details following the Mayor and Council’s remarks. Details here.

  • GUIDANCE FOR BULK CRUDE OIL STORAGE REGULATED BY TCEQ: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TCEQ has received numerous inquiries related to the regulatory requirements of temporary storage of excess crude oil in aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) at locations not regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). While the storage of crude oil in ASTs is not regulated under TCEQ Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) rules, there are other permitting, reporting, and spill requirements that are regulated by TCEQ. The purpose of the guidance is to summarize TCEQ's regulatory oversight for those storage tanks in Texas.

  • TABC UPDATE ON RESTAURANT DINE-IN SERVICES AND TO-GO ALCOHOL SALES GUIDANCE : The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued guidance for restaurants serving alcohol, aligning with Governor Abbot’s plan to safely open Texas. 

  • Restaurant Dine-In Services:

  • Can reopen May 1, if alcohol sales do not exceed 51% of gross receipts

  • Must have 25% occupancy limit

  • May continue to use expanded to-go and delivery options outlined

  • Must follow all other standards for restaurants in the Governor's Report to Open Texas

  • AUTHORITY IS DELEGATED TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO ENSURE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN RESOURCES: The President signed an executive order that delegates authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to determine the proper nationwide priorities and allocation of all the materials, services, and facilities necessary to ensure the continued supply of meat and poultry, consistent with the guidance for the operations of meat and poultry processing facilities jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA. The Secretary shall issue such orders and adopt and revise appropriate rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this order.

  • PPP INTERIM RULES UPDATE: The SBA released an update to the Interim Rules for the PPP in which:

  • Some portfolio companies of private equity funds may be eligible, but applicants need to review the SBA's affiliation rules

  • A business' participation in an employee stock ownership plan does not result in an affiliation between the business and the ESOP

  • Hedge funds and Private Equity Firms are not eligible for the PPP loans

  • Previously eligible hospitals will still be eligible as long as the hospital receives less than 50% of its funding from state or local government sources (this does not include Medicaid)

  • Who is ineligible: those who have been involved in a bankruptcy proceeding during the time they submit the application or before the loan is disbursed.

  • CENSUS REACHES IMPORTANT MILESTONE: More than half of the households in our nation have responded to the census – that’s nearly 80 million. Taylor County sits at 45.7% while Texas is at 46.2% counted. If you haven’t done so yet, please help us gather a complete count by filing out your census here.

  • RECOVERY AND RE-OPEN TEXAS: We’ve updated our business resource website to include guidelines for reopening on Friday, May 1. Take a look here. Have a question you can’t find the answer to? Ask us!

  • ECONOMY FALLS IN FIRST QUARTER AND RECOVERY EXPECTED IN THIRD QUARTER: As expected, the economy contracted sharply in the first quarter according to today’s initial estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The economy contracted 4.8% in the quarter. This isn’t surprising as the economy was largely shut down for a good part of March. It is the largest decline since the fourth quarter of 2008, during the height of the Great Recession. Click here for more.

  • HELP US GATHER A LOCAL RESOURCES: Do you have hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc. that would be beneficial to businesses working to re-open? We're gathering a list for the business community. Help us populate it! Click here for more.

  • ABILENE WORKS: As we all move to re-open Texas and Abilene, many Abilenians may be without a job. If you have a position open in your company, please share it on our Abilene-centric job portal – It is free and we help market the position for you.

  • UPDATE YOUR BUSINESS HOURS: We've been keeping track of business hours on Help us share with the public of your changes by updating your hours of operation here.

Webinars for business

  • 5/1 MANAGING STRESS IN UNCERTAIN TIMES: Stress management is what we often call it, but is that what we are really doing? Is “managing” even the right word? In this short webinar we will explore how “stress management” or any kind of “management” related to our health and wellbeing can work in this environment. Register here.

  • 5/5 COMMUNICATING AND BUILDING A BRAND THROUGH A CRISIS: Whether you are an individual, executive, company, small business or firm – knowing how to communicate and build brand through this crisis is essential to thriving after this is over. Mila Grigg, CEO, MODA Image and Brand Consulting, is joining us for a live webinar. Her experience around personal brand branding, company brand building, marketing, communicating, sharing on social media and building executive and company brands will give you a plan to communicate through and beyond this crisis and how to share value on social media. There are things you can do RIGHT now that will allow you to share your story, grow your message and thrive. Register here.

  • 5/7 MANAGING YOUR FINANCES AND BUDGET THROUGH A CRISIS: Join the Chamber and Eide Bailly, LLP for an in-depth look at managing your finances and budget through a crisis. Topics will include an overview of IRS relief programs (maximizing loan forgiveness and the next round of payroll protection, employee retention credit), managing cash flows, tax saving opportunities and what information your bank or lender will want and be looking for. Register here.


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