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4/6 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

Dear member –

The City of Abilene has been in contact with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and has received clarification on the effect of the Governor’s Order GA-14 on Abilene’s Limited Shelter in Place. The provisions of Abilene’s Limited Shelter In Place Declaration, adopted by the City Council on March 30th, are valid and enforceable. The City’s LSIP is more restrictive than the Governor’s. All Abilene residents should immediately follow the restrictions and requirements of the Governor’s Order and Abilene’s Limited Shelter in Place Declaration. Below is a summary of our LSIP.

Abilene’s Shelter In Place (LSIP) Overview:

1. The LSIP orders all residents to stay at home through April 14th, unless they are traveling to Essential Activities.

2. Essential Activities include (1) attending work and providing financially for their families; (2) activities necessary for medical care, food, shelter and clothing for the safety and well-being of their families; (3) action necessary for the preservation of their mental and spiritual health.

3. The LSIP continues to require residents of Abilene to gather in numbers of 10 or less. This restriction applies to indoor and outdoor social gatherings.

4. The LSIP continues to adopt the language of the Governor's Order, which prohibits inside-dining at restaurants, but allows carry-out and drive-thru dining.

5. The LSIP provides that all businesses, unless otherwise restricted or closed, are deemed essential and shall remain open, but those businesses shall require social distancing.

6. Businesses that are ordered closed are: (1) hair salons, hair stylists, barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, piercing businesses, and similar personal grooming businesses; (2) game rooms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, miniature golf courses, gyms, fitness centers, and other similar entertainment venues; (3) sexually oriented businesses, (4) food truck gatherings of two or more food trucks; and (5) smoking rooms located inside tobacco stores.

7. All businesses shall limit the number of customers to maintain social distancing requirements. Additionally, Retail stores shall reduce their maximum building occupancy by 50% or more as necessary to maintain social distancing requirements inside the buildings.

8. The following persons are required to self-quarantine: (1) persons who are sick or are currently experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath; (2) all persons in a household if any member of the household has tested positive for COVID-19; and (3) persons at a higher risk for severe illness if exposed to the virus.

9. All persons required to self-quarantine are allowed to travel to seek necessary medical care.

*Provided by Mayor Anthony Williams


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.


  • NEW - Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs

  • Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program Guide

  • Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide

  • Coronavirus Small Business Guide

  • Coronavirus Response Toolkit

  • US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES NEW PAID SICK LEAVE AND EXPANDED FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE IMPLEMENTATION: In a press release, the DOL announced new action concerning benefits offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The Wage and Hour Division posted a temporary rule effective April 1. The rule:

  • Issues rules relevant to the administration of the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements

  • Requires certain employers provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees who need to take leave from work for certain specified reasons related to COVID-19. 

  • Requires certain employers provide up to 10 weeks of paid, and 2 weeks unpaid, emergency family and medical leave to eligible employees if the employee is caring for their child due to COVID-19 related closures.

  • WHD will post a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020, to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA. The webinar can be found at the following link. More information regarding the temporary rule can be found here. The press release from the DOL can be found here.

  • CHILDCARE FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS: This letter provides Local Workforce Development Boards with guidance on implementing emergency child care for essential workers and extending the job search period during the ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Read more.

  • TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION IMPLEMENTS RECOMMENDATIONS TO EASE BACKLOG OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT SERVICES PORTAL: Over half a million Texans have filed for Unemployment Benefits within the last 18 days. The historic increase has led to long wait times at the TWC call center, website outages and issues with the Unemployment Benefits Services Portal. Due to this, the TWC has released recommendations that ask Texans to stagger their calls and access to the online portal based upon the applicant's area codes. The full press release from TWC can be found here.

  • TEXAS FARM BUREAU ASKS U.S. SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO HELP CATTLE RANCHERS: Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation spearheaded a letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking him to explore all options within his authority to provide relief to cattle ranchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

  • 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

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