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4/7 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

Business Updates for COVID-19

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:


  • US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CREATES COVID-19 RESPONSE WEBPAGE: The DOD has created a webpage to provide easy access to the latest information on the DOD's efforts to combat COVID-19. All DOD related action such as its response timeline, guidance, news releases & briefing transcripts can be found here.

  • US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PUBLISHES GUIDANCE ON PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: The DOL has announced the publication of the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 16-20 that provides guidance to state for the implementation of the PUA program. Individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue to work due to COVID-19, will be eligible for PUA benefits. The program provides up to 39 weeks of benefits. Benefit payments under PUA are retroactive for inability to work, unemployment, or partial unemployment as a result of COVID-29. Those included under this program are:

  • Self-employed workers

  • Independent contractors; and

  • Gig workers

  • Clergy and those working for religious organizations who are not usually covered by regular unemployment compensation (varies state-by-state)

For more information, the guidance letter can be found here.

  • SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS AUTHORIZES NEW FUNDING TO SUPPORT STUDENTS: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is responding to requests from local leaders, who have asked for the ability to steer more resources to local needs. Devos announced new flexibilities, “authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, that allow schools to repurpose existing K-12 education funds for technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning, among other flexibilities to move resources to areas of highest need during the national emergency.” States can complete a simple form and will receive an initial determination within one business day. 

  • AISD BUSES PROVIDE INTERNET ACCESS TO STUDENTS: Abilene Independent School District (AISD) will be in the designated locations from 9:00-11:00 am each week day to provide internet access to students.In addition to these sites, students can also go to any of the parking lots around AISD capuses and use the AISD visitor WiFi which is free.

  • Continental Villa Apartments off Arnold Blvd

  • Parking lot off Kirkwood St between N 2nd and N 3rd

  • Parking lot of old Wal-Mart on N Judge Ely Blvd

  • Parking lot of Soutwest Park Baptist Church on S 20th and Matador

  • Parking lot of N Park Baptist Church at Anson Ave and Beech


Previously shared updates

  • 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

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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