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5/18 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news: · GOVERNOR ABBOTT PRESS CONFERENCE: Gov. Greg Abbott announced a press conference for today Monday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the continuous strategic opening of Texas businesses. This conference could discuss the second phase of Abbott’s plan to open the economy. · ABILENE CITY COUNCIL ALIGNS DECLARATION WITH GOVERNOR'S ORDER: Abilene City Hall offices, Abilene Zoo, and both the Main and South branches of the public library will open to the public beginning on Monday, May 18. Park splash pads and playgrounds will soon follow, after appropriate cleaning measures have been completed. The Abilene City Council approved an amended declaration of disaster order in a Special Called meeting held in council chambers Friday morning. The amended declaration aligns with orders issued by Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month and must stay in place for Abilene to remain eligible for reimbursements or assistance in covering the costs of pandemic response. The City Council removed several paragraphs from the declaration that detailed who should stay home or defined essential businesses. According to the state order retail and restaurant businesses may be able to expand their capacities for customers on May 18. (Source: KACU) · USE OF CARES ACT CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND: ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY: The U.S. Department of the Treasury has expanded the allowable use of funds for states and large metropolitan areas. These new permissible uses of funds include several areas of importance to the business community. Click here to view the U.S. Department of the Treasury's guidance on the Coronavirus Relief Fund for State, Local, and Tribal governments. An updated document of FAQs is also available here. The U.S. Chamber has created a one-page document that identifies some of those new permissible use of funds and provides relevant examples of how states are using their funds. Click here to view the document. · HEROES ACT: Last week, House Democrats introduced The Heroes Act. The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here. · EMPLOYER CREDITS FROM THE IRS: The IRS is offering the following tax help for businesses affected by COVID-19: · New employer credit available for paid family leave · New employer credit available for paid sick leave · Employee retention credit for businesses affected by COVID-19 · 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 · 5/20 INTRODUCTION TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING (FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL) In this LIVE Webinar facilitated by Cross Timbers Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), attendees will learn about important topics in government contracting (i.e. Federal, State, and local), to better prepare potential contractors on next steps to start or continue their government contracting program with confidence. Register here. · 5/21 RE-OPENING YOUR BUSINESS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In this webinar, we’ll cover what employers need to know to successfully reopen, best practices, and how to maintain customer and employee safety as we work to transition from work-from-home to working in office spaces again. Moderated by Staci Benavides with LoneStar HR, LLC. Register here. What we're reading: · Should Congress Protect Businesses from Coronavirus Lawsuits · Model of beef, transportation industries reveals vulnerabilities

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