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5/11 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

· PAYROLL PROTECTION LOANS ARE STILL AVAILABLE: MAIN STREET LENDING PROGRAM GUIDE: There is still PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loan money available and businesses should continue to apply. A few key takeaways from last week’s National Small Business Town Hall from Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

· Employers who want to bring back employees who have been laid off will not be penalized in PPP loan forgiveness if the employee chooses not to return to work.

· It is not known yet whether the window for loan use and forgiveness will be expanded beyond June 30, 2020.

· Businesses need to develop and document their plans for reopening and dealing with sick employees. Ensure you’re listening to employees and have a dialogue with them about your plans and their concerns.

· Click here for a list of local lenders who can help.

· Click here for an updated FAQ for the PPP program.

· LEGAL CONCERNS ON THE HORIZON: As businesses begin to reopen across the state, there is still a level of uncertainty around legal liabilities, including safe workplace requirements, health privacy concerns, and more. The U.S. Chamber has provided some guidance and advice on the matter. The Abilene Chamber has also compiled reopening recommendations on our business resource website. Have a question you are not finding the answer to? Let us know!

· THREE TREND FORECASTERS ON THE BUSINESS WORLD AFTER CORONAVIRUS: Expert prognosticators take a future-forward look at our potential post-COVID-19 new normal: At times of crisis we see innovation flourish. Consumer behaviors stand to shift dramatically, influenced by untold weeks of a combination of social isolation, shopping online, working from home, and not working at all. Click here to read more.

· MOBILE TESTING SITE TODAY IN ABILENE: A COVID-19 mobile testing site will be available today at the Abilene Health District Facility from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Tests will be conducted by appointment only. For more information, click here.

· SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR TOURISM-RELATED BUSINESSES: The Abilene Visitors & Convention Bureau has gathered safety protocols for tourism-related businesses and organizations for when Texas reopens. Find those here.

· NEW DATES FOR COMMUNITY EVENTS: The ACVB wants to keep everyone connected to community happenings and new dates for postponed events. Send news to or submit new event information here. Even Better, stay informed about events and openings around town. Sign up for our This Week in Abilene e-letter by sending name and email address to

Webinars for business

· 5/13 GOVERNOR'S SMALL BUSINESS WEBINAR SERIES - WEST TEXAS: The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series - West Texas will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with timely, relevant, actionable information on COVID-19 recovery resources. Businesses will also get the chance to connect with local experts and support systems.Click here to register.

· 5/14 HOSPITALITY TRAINING: Sign up your employees and volunteers for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau’s live Zoom version of its long-running Abilene Champions Hospitality Training, May 14. Reach out to or register here. The class builds skills for service industry employees and includes helpful knowledge to grow their appreciation of Abilene. It’s free and people can do it in pajamas. It’s never been so easy!

· 5/14 HOW WILL SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT, AND RESTAURANTS MANAGE THE RETURN TO WORK? Join the U.S. Chamber Foundation on Thursday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. EST for an important discussion on how high-density consumer industries, such as movie theaters, restaurants, and sports leagues, are planning for reopening—how to start that process, how to keep employees and consumers safe, ensuring consumer confidence, and what the “new normal” might look like as we start to reopen the full American economy. Register here.

What we're reading:

Should Congress Protect Businesses from Coronavirus Lawsuits?

Why Get All Made Up with Nowhere to Go?

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