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5/8 - COVID-19 Highlights for the Business Community

The following is our latest on coronavirus response and news:

  • SHARE YOUR VOICE IN A NATIONAL ONLINE DIALOGUE: The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) is inviting you to participate in a national online dialogue, Opening America’s Workplaces Again, now through May 7, 2020. They want to hear about challenges that may be faced as businesses reopen and how best to help employers and workers reopen America’s workplaces safely. This open dialogue will take place through May 7th. During this period, you can join at any time to submit your ideas or comment and vote on ideas submitted by others. Click here to share your input.

  • INSIGHTS FROM CONGRESSMAN KEVIN BRADY ON REOPENING TX ECONOMY: As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Brady shared a lot of firsthand knowledge and insights on reopening the Texas economy. Click here to hear the full call. 

  • PFIZER DOSES FIRST U.S. PARTICIPANTS IN GLOBAL COVID-19 MRNA VACCINE PROGRAM: Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced that the first participants have been dosed in the U.S. in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19. The trial is part of a global development program, and the dosing of the first cohort in Germany was completed last week. Click here to read more.


  • TEXAS BARBER SHOPS, NAIL SALONS WILL BE NEXT BUSINESSES ALLOWED TO OPEN TODAY: Earlier this week, Governor Greg Abbott announced he is allowing salons to reopen today. Only one customer per stylist will be allowed. People waiting will have to maintain a distance of six feet from others. He also said stylists should be wearing a mask at all times. As for gyms, Abbott said they may reopen on May 18, but showers and locker rooms must remain closed. All equipment must be sanitized in between uses. 

  • HAVE YOU FILLED OUT YOUR CENSUS? As of 5/6 Taylor County sits at 52.1percent counted for the 2020 Census. Dyess Air Force Base sits at only 25.1 percent. Please help us reach our goal of a complete count by encouraging your friends to go online and fill out the form. Click here.


  • RESOURCES FOR REOPENING: Reopening the economy safely is at the top of mind for all. The IEDC has launched a “Reopen Your Economy” page to their website that includes a wide spectrum of industry reopening practices, handbooks, guidelines and more. Click here.


  • GOVERNOR MODIFIES COVID-19 EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO ELIMINATE CONFINEMENT AS PUNISHMENT: Governor Abbott has modified his executive orders related to COVID-19 to eliminate confinement as punishment for violating orders. The order is retroactive to April 2nd, superseding local orders. The move comes after Texans in Dallas and Laredo were arrested, and in some cases, confined, for not violating the Governor’s executive orders.


  • TWC GUIDANCE ON UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIM ELIGIBILITY: The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is issuing guidance to unemployment claimants concerning their continued eligibility for unemployment benefits (UI) should they refuse rehire. Each UI benefits case is currently evaluated on an individual basis. However, because of the COVID-19 emergency, there following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work.

  • Reason for refusal:

  • At High Risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 (Source DSHS website).

  • Household member at high risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 (source DSHS website).

  • Diagnosed with COVID - the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.

  • Family member with COVID - anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.

  • Quarantined – individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.

  • Child care – Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.

  • Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by the Texas Workforce Commission based on individual circumstances.


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


  • 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 businessresourceabilene.com. Help us share with the public of your changes by updating your hours of operation here.

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© 2020 by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

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