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5/12 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • B-1 FLYOVER ROUTE TO HONOR WEST TEXAS FIRST RESPONDERS: Tentatively scheduled around May 15, Dyess Air Force Base will show its support for our local first responders with a flyover. The tentative schedule is to be at Hendrick Health System at 12:25 pm and Abilene Regional at 12:28 pm. You can check the Dyess Air Force Base Facebook page for more date details and changes.

  • A CHECKLIST FOR OFFICE-BASED EMPLOYERS: Effective May 18, 2020 employers may operate their offices with up to the greater of five individuals or 25% of the total office workforce, provided the individuals maintain appropriate social distancing. Click here to view the checklist on how to prepare your office for reopening.

  • SBA EXTENDS SAFE HARBOR DATE TO RETURN PPP LOANS TO MAY 14 AND OTHER GUIDANCE: The Small Business Administration (“SBA”), in consultation with the Treasury Department, issued FAQ #43 on May 5, 2020 extending by a week the time within which a borrower has to repay a previously issued SBA loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) in order to take advantage of a presumption that a borrower certified necessity for the loan in good faith at the time of the loan application. Click here to read more.

  • WORKPLACE STRATEGIES FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s new case study report, Cultivating Wellness: Mental Health Training in the Workplace, addresses how and why leaders in the business community are creating innovative programs and training to address mental health and well-being in the workplace. While it adopts a general approach to building a mentally healthy business, the practical information and strategies provided in the report can be applied to any situation, including COVID-19. Click here to read more.

  • BUSINESS CYCLE IS DIVING, BUT IT WILL BOUNCE BACK: Labor, land, capital, and entrepreneurship underlie all economic activity, and all four are so profoundly intertwined that when one falters, the others stumble too. Economists refer to these as the factors of production. To understand how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the economy, all four need examination. Click here to read more.

  • TEXAS HAS BILLIONS IN ITS RAINY DAY FUND, BUT LEGISLATORS SAY THEY WON’T USE IT UNTIL JANUARY: As Texas’ economy reels from a monthlong shutdown of commerce statewide, unprecedented unemployment, and falling oil prices, some Texans are calling on officials to tap into the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund that has billions of tax dollars officials have been saving for years. Click here to read more.

  • TEXAS’ AGRICULTURAL LOSSES FROM COVID-19 COULD TOTAL $6-8 BILLION: The Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University has released a new report showing the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on production agriculture in Texas. Since the beginning of the pandemic many agricultural commodity prices have dropped 20% to 30%, according to the report. Many Texas producers have already experienced losses, and if prices do not recover soon for livestock and prior to row crop harvest, they could easily see losses in the range of $6 billion to $8 billion – down 27% to 36% overall. Click here to read more.

  • DOWNTOWN HOTEL PROJECT PROGRESSES DESPITE COVID-19 CLOSURES: The Abilene downtown hotel development continues to move forward during a time when many businesses and projects are on hold due to COVID-19-related closures. City Manager Robert Hanna confirmed the project is still progressing in the design phase and negotiations are underway with Hilton to operate the hotel itself. But Hanna is advising the city council to wait for the financial market to stabilize before issuing debt on the project. "I'm not in a position where I could in good conscience tell council that the hotel development corporation should issue the money they need to build this hotel,” Hanna said Monday. "The municipal bond markets are very unstable and we just need to wait for things to slow down a little bit, re-solidify and hit the ground running with a shovel-ready project.” The development partners on the project are working as if the groundbreaking planned for this Summer will still happen. Hanna does not think that is likely, but assures the public the city still fully intends to fund the project. (Source: KACU)

Previously shared updates:

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 5/13 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.

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