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

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!

· GOVERNOR’S PRESS CONFERENCE: Governor Greg Abbott will provide an update on the statewide response to COVID-19 on Tuesday, May 5th at 2:30 PM in the auditorium of the State Capitol. The Governor will be joined by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath.

· SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN AND EIDL ADVANCE PROGRAM PORTAL RE-OPENS: The EIDL program has been funded with an additional $10 billion by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. An EIDL advance will provide up to $10,000 of upfront economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. For more information, the EIDL program portal can be found here.


· SBA TO MAKE ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS AVAILABLE TO U.S. AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES: The SBA announced that agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees will now be eligible for SBA's EIDL and EIDL Advance programs. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis. The agricultural businesses EIDL portal can be found here.

· TREASURY AND SBA PROVIDE DATA ON SECOND ROUND OF THE PPP: $175 BILLION IN LOANS: On March 24, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that replenished the PPP's funds by $320 billion. At least $30 billion of those funds have been set aside for small lenders. Lenders began accepting applications again on April 27. The Small Business Association has released second-round PPP data for approvals from 4/27 to 5/1. So far, in the second round of the PPP, more than 2.2 million loans have been made; totaling in over $175 billion from 5,432 lenders. The average loan size in the second round is $79,000.

· LIGHT AT END OF CORONAVIRUS TUNNEL: LAYOFFS, FURLOUGHS MAY END SOON, ECONOMISTS SAY: The economy has been in free fall for the past six weeks, throwing tens of millions of people out of work nationally as businesses have closed or ratcheted back operations amid the coronavirus pandemic and as consumers have hunkered down and limited spending. But at least a bottom might be near. Click here to read more.

· ANALYSIS: IF REOPENING THE ECONOMY IS RISKY, WHO’S GETTING PROTECTION?: According to Republican leaders of the Senates in Washington and in Austin, the next round of federal coronavirus legislation ought to include blanket liability protection for companies that reopen in the face of the pandemic. The goal is to protect them from whatever might go wrong as the economy comes out of its deep freeze. Click here to read more.

· MANUFACTURED GOODS ORDERS FELL SHARPLY IN MARCH: This is becoming redundant. We report about the latest economic data showing a steep drop-off. The redundancy is not without value though. An accurate sense of the breadth and depth of the economic situation will better inform our decisions about policy decisions moving forward. Read more.

· AN UPDATE FROM WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS OF WEST TEXAS: The latest from the U.S. Department of Labor, local unemployment numbers, information about childcare and more. Click here.

· NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS-RELATED LAWSUITS EXPLODES: Last week saw an explosion of new litigation relating to the pandemic. Approximately 100 new filings brought the total number of cases to well over 350. Plaintiffs sought to consolidate some of the cases into multi-district litigations, while courts issued important decisions on stay-at-home orders and workplace liability. The perennial categories of consumer refund, misrepresentation, and workplace suits continued to have significant activity. To learn more, the Chamber Litigation Blog’s weekly COVID-19 Litigation Roundup comprehensively tracks the many different types of COVID-related litigation. – Daryl Joseffer, Senior Vice President & Chief Counsel for Appellate Litigation, U.S. Chamber Litigation Center

Previously shared updates:

· 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 or register here. The class builds skills for service industry employees and includes helpful knowledge to grow your appreciation of Abilene.

· RECOVERY AND RE-OPEN TEXAS: We’ve updated our business resource website to include guidelines for reopening on Friday, May 1. Take a look here. Have a question you can’t find the answer to? Ask us!

· 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.

Can you pencil us in? You don't want to miss these upcoming events.

· 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.

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