COVID 19 Business Resources

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Updated May 22, 2020

We encourage you to check this page for updates.

We are on the calls with your legislators, the PA Chamber and the US Chamber, asking the questions that you need answers to. Make sure to communicate your needs to us so we can #BeYourVoice.

If you have a specific need or question, please reach out to help@lvchamber.org and we will do our best to find a solution

The Latest News

Lebanon County Moves to Yellow May 29

Pennsylvania has announced that Lebanon County will move to “YELLOW” on May 29.
To read the full release, please visit here.
 
 
Please review the guidelines involved with this move as per the governor’s plan to reopen.

What Does Moving to Yellow Mean?

 
The Yellow Phase: As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.
 

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions

  • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction

Social Restrictions

  • Stay at Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
 
  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary
 
“After a county transitions to the yellow phase, we will closely monitor for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for fourteen days, we will transition the county to the green phase.
 
The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay at home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health.
 
While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.”

 

 

 

As local businesses consider reopening, please visit here for some guidelines. Until we are officially on yellow – May 29th – these guidelines still exist.

Check Out These Resources for Reopening

Reopening Business Digital Resources Center
The U.S. Chamber 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.
 
Reopening Business Digital Resources Center Toolkit
In addition to the Reopening Business Digital Resources Center, and as you face new questions and unprecedented new challenges, the U.S. Chamber has also created a comprehensive toolkit of key messages, example posts, and social media graphics.
 
Small Business Reopening Playbook
Check out the U.S. Chamber’s new Small Business Reopening Playbook which provides in-depth information and resources for you as you plan and prepare to reopen and get back to work.
 
Considering that reopening strategies will largely depend on the state and business type, this guide has consolidated federal, state, and local guidelines, industry specific resources, insights and strategies from leading experts, and more.
 
  • The playbook is now available to download in Spanish—click here to learn more
Johns Hopkins Offers An Operational Toolkit for Employers
The 3 parts of the Operational Toolkit include:
  1. An Instruction ManualInstructions that explain how to complete the 4-stage Business Risk Worksheet and Assessment Calculator.
  2. A Business Risk WorksheetA 4-stage step-by-step worksheet for you to report and understand your business’s overall risk of spreading COVID-19 and how your business operations can be made safer.
  3. An Assessment CalculatorAn Excel spreadsheet you will fill out to receive a calculated risk score and a modification score.
 
 
A Guide By Industry
This is a great guide by industry from Back to Work Safely.

SBA Makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories were able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

FOR PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED APPLICATIONS: SBA has resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing these applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

SBA has begun accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
  • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.

At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.

Eligible agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

 

PPP LOANS REOPENED at 10:30 am on Monday, April 27

For PPP loans that were not yet funded but were previously submitted, many banks have been imputing your application data for submission upon replenishment and reopening of the program. If you are unsure, check with your bank to make sure your application will be automatically processed for you.

 

Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance

https://www.psp.pa.gov/Documents/Public%20Documents/Letter%20LEO%20Community.pdf

As a reminder, all of the enforcement happens at the local level (or via various regulatory bodies like OSHA).

Pennsylvania's Plan to Reopen
Governor Wolf presented his detailed plan for reopening the commonwealth with a targeted May 8 start. The administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region.
 
The administration will first study conditions in the north-central and northwest regions with a target of moving from red to yellow on May 8. Additional monitoring will take place and direction will be provided in the next week.
 
To decide when to move to a new phase, the administration will use Department of Health metrics and a data tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The full plan is available here. Download a printable document here.

The red phase, which currently applies to the whole state, has the sole purpose of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures, and building safety protocols.
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
  • Life Sustaining Businesses Only
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed
Social Restrictions
  • Stay at Home Orders in Place
  • Large Gatherings Prohibited
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
  • Only Travel for Life-Sustaining Purposes Encouraged
 
  • Reiterate and reinforce safety guidance for businesses, workers, individuals, facilities, update if necessary
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

The Yellow Phase: As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place. The purpose of this phase is to begin to power back up the economy while keeping a close eye on the public health data to ensure the spread of disease remains contained to the greatest extent possible.

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
  • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction
Social Restrictions
  • Stay at Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings of More than 25 Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
 
  • All businesses must follow CDC and DOH guidance for social distancing and cleaning
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary

The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. While this phase will facilitate a return to a “new normal,” it will be equally important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
  • All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
Social Restrictions
  • Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
 
  • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
  • Monitor public health indicators, adjust orders and restrictions as necessary
 
Just as the administration took a measured, county-by-county approach to the stay-at-home order before expanding statewide, it will do the same to ease restrictions and reopen the state.The governor first announced the standards for reopening last week and they remain the focal point for the comprehensive plans announced today:
  • The approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
  • There will be guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers for assured accountability as we reopen.
  • Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
  • Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.
 
The commonwealth is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create a data-driven decision support tool that will enable a balance between maximizing the strengthening of the economy while minimizing public health risks. This tool will help officials better understand the current health and economic status, as well as the inherent risks and benefits to easing restrictions by sector and region.
 
There is no single tool or model that can determine easing of restrictions or reopening, but the commonwealth, through partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University and other institutions of higher education, and the criteria set by the Department of Health, will make informed decisions based on data and science.
 
To determine when a region is ready to reopen and return to work, the state will evaluate the incidence rate of COVID-19 cases per capita, relying upon existing regional health districts used by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. A regional assessment will measure the COVID-19 cases to determine if the target goals of an average of less than 50 cases per 100,000 individuals over the course of 14 days is met. The administration will work closely with county and local governments to enable the communities to reopen and transition back to work.
 
Throughout this process, the administration will have guidance in place to support best public health practices to avoid these negative impacts. This guidance will reinforce and build on existing business and building safety orders and will adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic, even as we learn from the first communities to reopen.

 

Governor Wolf provided an update on his plan for Pennsylvania: Relief, Reopening, and Recovery. Details can be downloaded here:

Health Coverage Options

With millions of businesses forced to close or make staffing changes amid the coronavirus pandemic, many individuals have lost or are at risk of losing access to employer-sponsored health coverage.

What other health coverage options are available for workers who lose coverage because of job loss, hour reductions, or lay-offs? 

There are several health coverage alternatives that furloughed or former employees and their families may consider.

Options may include:

  • A spouse’s employee health plan
  • COBRA continuation coverage through the previous employer
  • Individual market coverage through an Exchange
  • Public programs such as Medicaid and CHIP

 

Download the guide from the US Chamber here.

Unemployment
For an overview of benefits, please visit here.
 

Unemployment and Your Employees

As some businesses gear up to reopen or get more of your workforce back in your payroll, there are options.

Option 1 – Full-time employment

You can bring your employees back full-time in which case their unemployment benefits, including the $600 federal payout, will stop.

Option 2 – Shared Work Plan

A Shared-Work plan allows an employer to temporarily reduce the work hours of a group of employees and divide the available hours equally rather than laying off any employees. Employees covered by a Shared-Work plan receive a percentage of their Unemployment Compensation (UC) Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA), while they work the reduced schedule, if they are otherwise eligible for UC.

Shared-Work allows you, the employer, to retain your workforce during a temporary slowdown and then quickly ramp up operations without the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees. At the same time, Shared-Work helps to protect your employees from the financial hardship of a full layoff. For all the details, please visit here.

As long as employees are eligible for any unemployment compensation, they are still eligible for the $600 federal payout until July 31, 2020 regardless of the hours they work.

Option 3 – Part-time Employment

Allows your employees to work part-time and collect unemployment benefits for the balance of hours you are not providing. Employees report this partial work when filing for benefits. Employees can review this option here.

As long as employees are eligible for any unemployment compensation, they are still eligible for the $600 federal payout until July 31, 2020 regardless of the hours they work.

Bringing Employees Back to Work That Were Previously Receiving Unemployment Compensation

Please review your company policies and check with your HR department or employment attorney for clarification of any of these items.

If you have a furloughed employee and ask them to return to work and they refuse because:

They are anxious about safety in general terms.

  • Reinforce and explain what you are doing to mitigate safety concerns to protect them and their colleagues. Understanding the employees concerns is important.
  • If they refuse to return, technically, they are violating unemployment laws and can lose benefits. As an employer, there is recourse for a business in section 402(a) of Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law. This provides, in part, that an employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week in which their unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, to accept suitable work; provided that the employer who offers the work notifies the department of the refusal within seven days from when the offer is made. Notify the department within seven days of the offer by submitting the form, UC-1921W, online. https://www.uc.pa.gov/forms/Pages/UC-1921W-Refusal-of-Suitable-Work.aspx.

They are concerned about exposure because they or someone in their household is compromised:*

  • They will need to provide doctor’s documentation. See information below under Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

If they think they have been exposed or have been told they were exposed due to a positive test from a recent contact:*

  • If they are quarantined for possible exposure, there is coverage under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

If they say they are making more money on unemployment:

  • This falls under the same information as above that they are violating the terms of unemployment compensation and you can report this.(See paragraph and form UC-1921W above).

*The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020. Please visit here for details.

 

Self Employed/Independent Contractors

Unemployment now has expanded eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for unemployment benefits (e.g. self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers). For details, please visit here . Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also be eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

 

US Chamber Independent Contractor/Self-Employed Guide

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed, you may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and/or Unemployment Compensation for losses of income related to the coronavirus pandemic. While some of these loans are waiting for refunding, the guide still has options for you. Please download it here.
 

 

Processing Updates

To manage or check for updates on your claim, please visit here.
For important updates to PIN and determinations, please visit here.
 

 

*For Employers Requesting Employees Return to Work*

If you are faced with an employee who doesn’t want to come back to work because they might be making more on UC there is recourse for a business in section 402(a) of Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law. This provides, in part, that an employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week in which their unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, to accept suitable work; provided that the employer who offers the work notifies the department of the refusal within seven days from when the offer is made.
 
The department has created a new form, UC-1921W, so employers can notify the department that suitable work was refused. The form can be saved, printed, and submitted directly to the department online. Be an active partner in helping to improve the integrity of unemployment compensation payments. Notify the department within seven days of the offer by submitting the form, UC-1921W, online. If you prefer to send the form via facsimile, please complete, print, and fax the form with any additional documentation to UIAS at 717-772-0378.
 

Unemployment Eligibility Chart

Download a PDF here.

Funding, Loans and Grants

Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. Download it here.
 

Paycheck Protection Program

There is still funding available in the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. If you are considering applying, don’t wait! It is recommended to check with smaller, community banks for application processing.
 

Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF). Term sheets for each facility and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing more information regarding eligibility and conditions can be found below. To read more, please visit here.
 

CARES ACT Updates

The Senate passed an additional $483.4 billion economic relief measure that will replenish a popular small-business loan program and provide funding for hospitals facing financial shortfalls due to COVID-19. The legislation would provide:
  • $310 billion to restart the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money late last week amid higher-than-expected demand for the forgivable loans designed to keep workers on the payroll while businesses are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • An extra $10 billion is included for administrative costs, such as fees paid to lenders participating in the program, according to sources familiar with the plan who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
  • $60 billion of the PPP funding would be set aside for smaller lenders, including state and federal credit unions and those serving communities where relationships with more established financial institutions that dominate the SBA program are scarce.
  • That pot of money for “underbanked” communities will be divided in half between lenders with less than $10 billion in assets and those with between $10 and $50 billion in assets.
  • $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 each that disaster loan recipients can obtain, and $2.1 billion for the administrative costs of running that program.
  • Hospitals and other health care facilities will receive $75 billion to help treat patients with the virus and address revenue shortfalls they are facing as a result of the pandemic.
  • $25 billion for more COVID-19 tests as well as a nationwide testing approach, something Democrats and governors have been urging so state officials can begin to think about reopening their economies once cases begin to subside.
 
The new loan program funds could run out nearly as fast as the previously approved funding, which lasted about 14 days. That will likely put a timer on Congress’ efforts to negotiate a larger, more sweeping aid package that Republicans, Democrats and the Trump administration all agree is needed. House members are expected to vote as early as today. The bill did not include expanded funding for states and local governments or increased SNAP funding.
 

Clarification on Using the Paycheck Protection Program for Payroll

The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to keep your employees covered on your payroll to eliminate the need for those employees to be on unemployment compensation.
 
Part of the requirement for loan forgiveness is to use 75% or more of the loan towards payroll expenses within 8 weeks of receiving the loan.
 
  1. Payroll expenses can include: customary employee pay, benefits, bonuses and vacation pay*
  2. You should be paying payroll as soon as the loan starts, do not wait.
  3. You do not need to provide work for the employees receiving payroll.
 
* Customary should be comparable to the same quarter the previous year. If you always pay bonuses or vacation pay at the same time each year, you can include this in your payout. If you are paying extra now to ‘pay ahead’ you are likely to get flagged. From the SBA’s Updated FAQ sheet: PPP loans covers payroll costs, including costs for employee vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick leave. However, the CARES Act excludes qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under sections 7001 and 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127).
 
If you are unable to use the 75% towards payroll by the end of the 8 weeks, you are still eligible for partial loan forgiveness.

 

What Fits Your Company?

 

Independent Contractors: Guide to CARES Act Relief

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, you may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and/or Unemployment Compensation for losses of income related to the coronavirus pandemic. Download it here.
 

Updated Small Business Guide and Checklist

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act originally allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Download the updated guide here.
 

 

Governor Wolf Announces DCED Loan Forbearance

In order to help businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus, the Department of Community and Economic Development recently announced the forbearance of May and June payments for many loans administered by the department.
 
Deferrals will also be requested for borrowers with the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (excluding PENNWORKS program loans), the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, and the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority. More details about the announcement are available here.

 

US Chamber of Commerce Update on Save Small Business Fund

The US Chamber received 15,000 applications shortly after the site went live, which caused the site to become overwhelmed and many businesses were not able to apply. Read the US Chamber Foundation letter here.
 
{Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as they can. they hope these supplemental funds will help you get through the next days and weeks. For more details please visit here. Eligibility is by zip code.
Eligible Lebanon County zips include: 17010, 17016, 17026, 17038, 17039, 17041, 17042, 17046, 17067, 17073, 17077, 17083, 17085, 17087, 17088
Ineligible zip codes include: 17003, 17064, 17078.}
 

 

COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program

Currently, this program is not able to receive any additional applications. We will update you if opportunities reopen. Lebanon County submitted 18 applications for a total request of $1,411,319.

Small Business Resources

From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Assistance Guide

The latest resources, advice, and information to help small businesses navigate this challenging time, including financial aid guides, remote working tips, best practices articles, webinars and town halls, and more.
 
In partnership with Inc., CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting weekly virtual town halls to help small businesses navigate financial aid programs and answer questions. Register to attend the next town hall.
 
CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is now hosting “Workshop Wednesdays” – a weekly series of virtual events focusing on a single topic related to COVID and its impact on small companies. Register to attend the next workshop.

 

Business-to-Business Interchange Directory

A new Business-to-Business Interchange Directory will help move COVID-19 supplies like personal protective equipment from the manufacturing floor to the businesses and organizations who need these critical supplies.
The directory currently includes surgical masks, N95 masks and fabric masks. Additional supplies and materials will be added to the directory as more potential manufacturers are identified. More details about the new directory are available here.
 

Free Bilingual Support for Companies in May

To support companies as they communicate with employees from multiple cultural groups about issues related to the Coronavirus, IU13 Community Education is offering FREE bilingual cultural navigation services for a limited number of hours during the month of May. The cultural navigators, who represent the language groups of Swahili, Arabic, Spanish and Nepali, will communicate with your employees through Zoom, Skype, phone, texting, WhatsApp, and other distance devices. To request additional information, please contact IU13 Community Education here or call Beth Boll at 717-947-1652.

 

PA Chamber of Business & Industry Announces Bring PA Back Initiative

As the Commonwealth works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the PA Chamber is taking the lead on helping businesses re-open their facilities safely and jumpstart the economy through a new initiative, “Bringing PA Back.
 

 

Still Operational? What are Your Needs?

Do you have a need for any of the following:
  • PPE Supplies
  • Materials to post/provide to employees (English/Spanish) on safe work environments and guidelines
  • Materials to post/provide to employees (English/Spanish) on what to do if they are feeling ill
Please contact the Chamber with your requests.

 

Check out these Great Articles!

 
 
 
Safety and Cleaning Guidelines

CDC Guidelines

The CDC offers a lot of advice on cleaning and disinfecting your facility.
 

U.S. Chamber Summary on Guidance Issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

To help you better understand the recent guidance issued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , the U.S. Chamber has created a  summary outlining what employers need to know about protecting their workers as they maintain or resume operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summary describes OSHA’s comments and addresses three of the main questions:
  1. How should employers protect their employees?
  2. Do employers have to record cases of COVID-19 on their injury logs?
  3. How will OSHA conduct enforcement related to Coronavirus?

 

Department of Health Issues New Mask Order

The Department of Health has issued a new order that requires all life-sustaining businesses to take new precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including requiring all customers and employees to wear masks beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Businesses are mandated to deny entry to customers without a mask, but exceptions are included for people who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.

The order also includes guidelines on social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, staggering of work starting and stopping times, limiting building access and occupancy and more. Additional protocols are also included if a business is exposed to an individual who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. Download the Health Department Order here.If you are struggling to get masks for your employees, please contact us and we will work to find resources for you.

Webinars
To view all our upcoming webinars, please visit here.

 

Join the Lebanon Valley Chamber for Peer Group Meetings

We’ve just added 10 Peer Group meetings to gather you by industry or job.
Feel free to join in one or more that fit your needs. Peer Groups are designed for those in similar industries or job groups to have conversations, ask questions, stay current and connect with each other, while letting us know what is impacting you and what you need more information on.
 
 

Watch Past Webinars

Much of our data comes from the US Chamber’s Friday at noon Small Business Town Hall. Last week’s covered a lot of information on unemployment, payroll protection program, loan usage, etc. Watch it here. You can join in next week’s Small Business Town Hall by registering here.
 

Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce A Dose of Positivity: Leadership and the Future

Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce provided Lebanon County COVID-19 Update with WellSpan Health

Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce provided The Importance of Marketing During a Closure with Fresh Creative

US Chamber provided Expert Advice on Critical Ways to Keep Customers Engaged During Coronavirus

Candoris provided a webinar on Securing Your Remote Workforce

How You Can Help

Some of you have asked, ‘How can we help?’ One way is to visit here to help out WellSpan and healthcare workers.

Other ways you can help local businesses:

  • Follow businesses on social media
  • Like their posts
  • Share their posts that encourage business
  • Comment on their posts
  • Tag your friends
  • Write reviews on their social media pages
  • Subscribe to their emails/newsletters
  • Send them a message of support
  • Buy their online products or gift cards
Manufacturers

Companies seeking to Import or Manufacture Medical Products to Aid the U.S. Response to COVID-19:  

 If a company would like to import or produce medical products to help with the COVID-19 response, please send these inquiries to FEMA at covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov. Please include as many details as possible about the request (e.g., manufacturer name, address, product, and model number) and contact information for the company, either an agent in the U.S. or the company itself.

If companies have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please email FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center at nbeoc@fema.dhs.gov. For additional information, see https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help.

Beware of Grant Scams and Fraud Schemes

The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times.  Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.

Scam and Fraud Scheme Advisory List

  1. The SBA does not initiate contact on either 7(a) or Disaster loans. If you are proactively contacted by someone claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud.
  2. The SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. The SBA provides guarantees to lenders to encourage them to make loans to small businesses. If you are contacted via social media about an SBA grant program for small businesses, suspect fraud.
  3. If you are contacted by someone promising to get approval of an SBA loan but requires any payment up front or offers a high interest bridge loan in the interim, suspect fraud.
  4. Look out for phishing attacks/scams utilizing the SBA logo. These may be attempts to obtain your personally identifiable information (PII) to obtain personal banking access, or to install ransomware/malware on your computer.
  5. If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and receive email correspondence asking for PII, ensure that the referenced application number is consistent with the actual application number.
  6. The SBA limits the fees a broker can charge a borrower to 3% for loans $50,000 or less and 2% for loans $50,000 to $1,000,000 with an additional .25% on amounts over $1,000,000. Any attempt to charge more than these fees is inappropriate.
  7. Any email communication from the SBA will come from accounts ending with gov.
  8. The presence of an SBA logo on a webpage does not guaranty the information is accurate or endorsed by the SBA. Please cross-reference any information you receive with information available at sba.gov.
  9. If you have a question about getting an SBA disaster loan, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
  10. If you have questions about other SBA lending products, call the SBA’s Answer Desk at 800-827-5722 or send an email to answerdesk@sba.gov.

Report Fraud

Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online at, https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/oversight-advocacy/office-inspector-general/office-inspector-general-hotline.