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5/21 Updates for the Business Community

AGENCIES DIRECTED TO REDUCE BUDGETS BY FIVE PERCENT

Statement from the Governor's Office: Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen sent a letter yesterday directing state agencies and institutions of higher education to each submit a plan identifying savings that will reduce respective general and general revenue related appropriations by fiver percent for the 2020-2021 biennium. "As Texans recover from this pandemic, it is incumbent that state government continues to maintain mission critical services without placing a greater burden on taxpayers,"  You can read the full letter here.

CDC GUIDELINES, ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a document briefly summarizing CDC’s initiatives, activities, and tools in support of the Whole-of-Government response to COVID-19. This 60-page document also outlines recommendations for reopening restaurants, mass transit, schools and childcare programs across the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.

GOVERNOR ABBOTT WAIVES LATE FEES FOR TABC LICENSE AND PERMIT RENEWALS

Governor Abbott announced he has allowed Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) license and permit renewals to occur after the current 30 day grace period after an expiration date without any late fees. This waiver applies to renewals with an expiration date on or after March 13, 2020.

U.S. BORDERS WITH CANADA, MEXICO CLOSED ANOTHER MONTH

On Tuesday the US Government extended restrictions for another month on non-essential travel across the borders with Canada and Mexico to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The order will be extended until June 22 and reviewed every 30 days. Read more here.


SURVEY RESULTS FROM CHAMBER MEMBERS

Earlier this week, Chamber members were asked to complete a survey to help the Chamber keep a pulse on what's happening in the business community. You can find a summary of the results below. Read more.


WHAT WE'RE READING GOV. GREG ABBOTT SAYS 'ALL THE TRENDS ARE GOING GOOD' AS TEXAS REOPENS "Gov. Greg Abbott justified his expanded re-opening of the Texas economy during a national television interview on Monday by pointing to COVID-19 data heading in the right direction and saying it’s time to end “government forced poverty.” Read more.


NEW RESOURCES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Guide Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), loans may be forgiven if borrowers use the funds to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses. Click here to download this step-by-step guide to calculate your loan forgiveness amount, navigate record-keeping requirements, and determine repayment terms on amounts not forgiven. Reopening Business Digital Resources Center The U.S. Chamber has unveiled its Reopening Business Digital Resources Center to equip America's business community with the latest state guidelines, sector-specific guidance, small business advice, and other tools and resources as we look to reopen safely and keep employees and customers healthy and informed. Now, the resources center also includes a customizable workplace flyer to help you and your members communicate the steps your company is taking to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees and customers.


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR UPDATES

Final Rule to Expand Access to Bonuses for American Workers: The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule that allows employers to offer bonuses or other incentive-based pay to employees whose hours vary from week to week. Unemployment Fraud Prevention Resources: The Department of Labor announced they have released updated resources for employers, employees, and states to prevent fraud or misuse in the unemployment insurance system, including the new unemployment insurance programs under CARES Act. The DOL encourages reporting of unemployment insurance fraud in state systems, and the updated resources released today will assist in this reporting. The list of all state unemployment insurance fraud hotlines can be found here. FAQs can be found here. Reports of fraud, waste and abuse can be made to the Department's Office of the Inspector General, here. Announces Availability of $11.5 Million in Worker Safety and Health Training Grants: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the availability of $11.5 million in Harwood Training Grants for nonprofit organizations, including community and faith-based organizations, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, Indian tribes, and colleges and universities. The Harwood Training Grant program supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The grants will fund training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards, including COVID-19. More information about the grant program can be found here.

You don't want to miss these upcoming events for your business. 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. 5/21 AN UPDATE ON THE FLUID PANDEMIC RESPONSE - WHAT'S NEW AND WHAT'S NEXT? Address updates in light of new guidance from federal agencies and the State of Texas, as well as labor issues for non-unionized workforces. Register here. 5/27 WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE PANDEMONIUM IN THIS PANDEMIC? Join Parkway Advisors as they discuss the current market and the economic and financial impacts of COVID-19 on the investment landscape. Register here.

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