The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:
SURVEY: We want to hear how your company is doing, and in turn, gain guidance on what is happening in the Abilene economy during this ever-changing time. By asking the same questions week-by-week, we will be looking for trends and inflection points. CLICK HERE to take this week's survey. New questions have been added!
AN UPDATE ON CHILDCARE: As Texas works to re-open in the next few weeks, much of our workforce will be impacted by lack of available childcare. Currently under Governor Abbott's order childcare facilities may only be made available for government deemed "essential workers." We sat down with Day Nursery of Abilene's Cynthia Pearson and asked where she saw childcare headed moving forward. Click here for more.
TRAVEL WEEK: Join the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau to celebrate #TravelWeek2020, May 3-9, by supporting the places that enrich our lives: Take a virtual tour. Buy a Round Up Pass to use later. Donations are already being accepted for Tuesday’s Abilene Gives event, a great opportunity to support your favorite venues. Read more about the value of travel to Abilene, National Travel Week 2020 and how this vital industry helps sustain a vibrant economy. The ACVB will offer an abbreviated, live Zoom version of its popular Abilene Champions Hospitality Training, May 14. It’s free. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or register here. The class builds skills for service industry employees and includes helpful knowledge to grow your appreciation of Abilene.
HERE’S HOW THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPACTING TEXAS’ ECONOMY: The coronavirus pandemic has steered the economy into the path of a recession. In Texas alone, more than 1.3 million people filed for unemployment relief in the last five weeks. The real number of people facing job losses is even higher; the Texas Workforce Commission’s website and phone lines have been overwhelmed by millions of queries daily. What has emerged is lagging data and an under count of jobless Texans who need help. Click here to read more.
SEN. TED CRUZ WANTS CONGRESS TO EXTEND CORONAVIRUS FUNDS TO CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: Sen. Ted Cruz is calling for federal financial assistance to be made available to chambers of commerce, arguing that the thousands of chambers around the U.S. will be critical in helping small businesses recover from the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic once the economy can reopen. Click here to read more.
STATE SALES TAX REVENUE 9.3% LESS THAN APRIL 2019: Texas Comptroller, Glenn Hegar announced Friday that state sales tax revenue is 9.3% less than in April 2019, the steepest decline since January 2010. The majority of April sales tax revenue is based on sales made in March and remitted to the agency in April. Widespread social distancing requirements were not in place across much of the state until late March, meaning the impact of those measures affected only a portion of sales tax remittances in April. Next month’s remittances likely will show steeper declines compared to a year ago, as the effects of both the shuttering of businesses related to COVID-19 and plummeting oil prices were manifest throughout April. Click here for more.
AG PAXTON - GUIDANCE LETTER ABOUT REOPENING NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES REGARDING GA-18: AG Paxton has issued a letter responding to questions regarding whether local governments may allow businesses to reopen if they are not essential or reopened services defined under Governor Abbott’s executive order. The guidance letter notes that local governments are prohibited from allowing businesses to reopen unless they are recognized as essential or reopened services under the Governor’s order. The guidance further notes that GA-18 prohibits people from “visiting” businesses that are neither essential nor reopened services. These include “bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons.”
PPP LOAN FORGIVENESS CALCULATOR: How much of your PPP loan will be forgiven? Click here for a calculator.
TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSION CHANGES GUIDELINES DURING PANDEMIC: The Texas Workforce Commission issued new guidance for claimants concerned about their eligibility for unemployment benefits. Texans can continue to receive unemployment benefits during the pandemic if they choose not to return to work. But there are certain conditions. Claimants can refuse work and receive benefits if they or members of their household are 65 or older, if they or a family member have tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas, if they are currently in a 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure...or if no alternatives are available for child care. Other situations are subject to review by the TWC. (Source KACU)
ABILENE MAYOR REQUESTS ELECTION DATE CHANGE FROM TEXAS GOVERNOR: Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams is requesting permission to move up May's rescheduled city and school board elections. Governor Greg Abbott pushed the elections to November in response to the possible spread of COVID-19. In a letter to the governor, Mayor Williams requests that Abilene and other public entities be allowed to conduct postponed elections in August. According to a statement from the City of Abilene, Williams wants citizens to have the opportunity to elect officials before officials adopt next year's budget and tax rate. The Mayor also stated an August election may help prevent a further delay in the event of a coronavirus resurgence during the Fall months. Nine other cities, as well as the Lytle Lake Water Control and Improvement District have joined Abilene in making the request. (Source KACU)
DYESS AFB UPDATED BASE ACCESS: Access for retirees and disabled veterans will be expanded beginning Sunday, May 2. New access dates/times:
Sunday: All day
Tuesday: 12:00-6:00 pm
Thursday: 12:00-6:00 pm
Medical Treatment Facility
Military Personnel Services
STORYBOOK FRIENDS: How are our Storybook friends downtown adjusting to their new normal? Take a look.
CAUGHT DOING GOOD: We've been blown away by the amount of businesses that have been giving back during this challenging time. We've gathered a few photos to showcase what we like to call - The Abilene Way. The Abilene Way: Coming together and lifting the community through the most challenging of times. Synonyms: caring, united, resilient, determined, community, strong, passionate, family. Take a look here.
Webinars for business
5/5 COMMUNICATING AND BUILDING A BRAND THROUGH A CRISIS: Whether you are an individual, executive, company, small business or firm – knowing how to communicate and build brand through this crisis is essential to thriving after this is over. Mila Grigg, CEO, MODA Image and Brand Consulting, is joining us for a live webinar. Her experience around personal brand branding, company brand building, marketing, communicating, sharing on social media and building executive and company brands will give you a plan to communicate through and beyond this crisis and how to share value on social media. There are things you can do RIGHT now that will allow you to share your story, grow your message and thrive. Register here.
5/6 TXBIZ TALKS WITH CONGRESSMAN KEVIN BRADY: Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is the lead Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee- considered by many to be the most powerful committee in Congress with jurisdiction over taxes, health care, Social Security, Medicare, international trade and welfare. Brady's focus is creating jobs, reducing Washington spending and sunsetting obsolete federal agencies. Register here.
5/7 MANAGING YOUR FINANCES AND BUDGET THROUGH A CRISIS: Join the Chamber and Eide Bailly, LLP for an in-depth look at managing your finances and budget through a crisis. Topics will include an overview of IRS relief programs (maximizing loan forgiveness and the next round of payroll protection, employee retention credit), managing cash flows, tax saving opportunities and what information your bank or lender will want and be looking for. Register here.
5/8 TXBIZ TALKS WITH SENATOR TODD YOUNG: Senator Todd Young (R-IN) currently serves on the Senate Republican Leadership Team as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He also serves on three important Senate Committees: Senate Finance, Foreign Relations and Commerce, Science and Transportation. Senator Young was elected to the US Senate in 2016. Register here.