• COVID-19: Business Triage

  • COVID19 Business Triage Rome, Ga
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  •       IRS extends Federal tax filing deadline to July 15 

        The Georgia tax filing deadline is also July 15

     

  • Tax forms and payments won’t be due to the Internal Revenue Service until July 15 this year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet. “We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” Mnuchin said. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.” The announcement follows an earlier decision to move the payment deadline, but not the filing deadline, to July 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Tax professionals and lawmakers of both parties have said it could confuse taxpayers to have forms and payments due on separate days. The change gives individuals and corporations an additional three months to file before they would owe interest and penalties for filing late. Many states have also delayed their filing and payment deadlines. Mnuchin is encouraging taxpayers who are due a refund to go ahead and file despite the delay so they can get their checks more quickly. The IRS recommends filing electronically and opting for direct deposit to get the money within about three weeks. Part of the concern is that it could be difficult or unsafe for people to met with their tax preparer before April 15 while most schools and many businesses are shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. “It’s welcome news and it will put the minds of millions of taxpayers and preparers at ease,” said Cindy Hockenberry, director of tax research and government relations at the National Association of Tax Professionals.

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  • VIRTUAL CONFERENCE HELD TODAY – April 2, 2020 @ 10:00 AM
    featuring Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler

    Thank you for joining us this morning for our virtual conference with Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. Commissioner Butler was joined by Chamber President & CEO Chris Clark to discuss the expanded rules and regulations in place to assist both businesses and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    For those who may have missed the conversation this morning, a recording of the interview can be viewed by following this link: https://youtu.be/562DtzKrNTQ 

    To download and read a summary of today’s call, click HERE.


    UPCOMING VIRTUAL CONFERENCE FOR TUESDAY – April 7, 2020 @ 2:00 PM
    featuring Georgia Superintendent of Public Schools Richard Woods

    Our next call is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 2:00 PM and will feature Georgia Superintendent of Public Schools Richard Woods. Woods will share details surrounding the Governor’s executive order due to Covid-19 for public school education during the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Join us to learn the impact of these measures and the future plans for education as we look ahead to recovery and regained prosperity in our communities.


    Call-in information is located on our website at www.gachamber.com/covid19.

  • FAQs for Large Employers Facing Mass Consolidation of Operations

    The WARN Act and understanding state and federal regulations where large numbers of employees are impacted by Covid19-induced layoffs.

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  • This is only a sample of the application. You will need to complete the application with a participating lender. 

  • From the US Chamber:

    U.S. Department of Treasury Releases Information on Paycheck Protection Program 

    Earlier today (March 31st),  the U.S. Department of Treasury shared new information regarding the Paycheck Protection Program. The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Please review the resources provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury below and visit their webpage for additional information.

    • A top-line overview of the program can be found here.
    • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
    • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
    • The application for borrowers can be found here.

     

  • Governor Kemp Covid19 rome ga
  • Atlanta, March 24, 2020 –Governor Brian P. Kemp today called on all Georgia businesses who are able to help the state provide, produce, distribute, or store critical health care items needed to fight the spread of COVID-19.

    “As our state’s hardworking healthcare workers and first responders stand on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, it is our job to come together as Georgians and arm them with the necessary resources to keep them safe and effective,” said Governor Kemp. “Now more than ever, I am confident in both our nation and our state’s ability to work in solidarity as we continue to fight spread of COVID-19. I ask all Georgia businesses who are able to support us in the fight against this global pandemic.”

    Critical items include: N-95 masks or equivalent, air purifying machines, face shields, hair covers, hand sanitizer, hospital beds, gloves (various sizes – nitrile or latex-free), negative pressure machines, no-touch thermometers (regular if no-touch are not available), safety goggles, sanitation units, sanitizing spray, sanitizing wipes, shoe covers, surgical masks, Tyvek suits, and ventilators.

    Businesses able to provide assistance and resources with factories already up and running, or facilities that can be repurposed for these vital products, are asked to complete an informational form online here. This is simply for the purpose of collecting information. Submission of the form will not equate to a commitment by the state of Georgia to purchase.

    As part of this mission, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is actively working to identify manufacturers and distributors across the state who have in their inventory, or could produce, distribute, or store critical health care supplies that are already limited in supply or may become scarce in the weeks ahead.

    “We could not be more grateful for the dedication our medical workers, first responders, and partners have shown during this challenging time. They consistently continue to make Georgians’ health and safety their number one priority,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “As we fight COVID-19 and its expanded consequences together, we thank our Georgia businesses who have stepped up to help our state and pledge the continued full support of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.”

    To complete the information form, visit: www.georgia.org/covid19response.

    Contact

    Candice Broce, Director of Communications & Deputy Executive Counsel
    Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp
    candice.broce@georgia.gov

    Cody Hall, Press Secretary
    Office of Governor Brian P. Kemp
    cody.hall@georgia.gov

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  • SBA Disaster Covid19 Rome, ga
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  • Small-Business-Administration_-COVID-19_-Small-Business-Guidance-and-Loan-Resources. rome ga
  • U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Office Contacts

    If you would like to coordinate information calls, briefings and other resources at the regional, state and local level, please reach out to the following contacts:

    Federal Regions I-V (States/Territories East of Mississippi River):
    Michael Lampton, Public Affairs Supervisor, michael.lampton@sba.gov
    Mark Ihenacho, Lead Public Affairs Specialist, mark.ihenacho@sba.gov

  • To start the process of applying for a Disaster Loan, see the link below. 

  • Local Assistance 

    SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. The SBA has 68 District Offices, as well as support provided by its Resource Partners, such as SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. When faced with a business need, use the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to locate the office nearest you.

    Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov Deadline to apply is 12/18/20!

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    Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

    Georgia is a Presidential and SBA Agency Declared Disaster Area for Disaster Loan Assistance. Visit disasterloan.sba.gov to learn more. 

    Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.

    The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 

     

  • Access to Capital

    SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

    How to get access to lending partners?  SBA has developed Lender Match, a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours.

    • 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
    • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
    • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
    • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
    • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

     

  • Exporting Assistance

    SBA provides export loans to help small businesses achieve sales through exports and can help these businesses respond to opportunities and challenges associated with trade, such as COVID-19. The loans are available to U.S. small businesses that export directly overseas, or those that export indirectly by selling to a customer that then exports their products.

    • Export Express loan program allows access to capital quickly for businesses that need financing up to $500,000. Businesses can apply for a line of credit or term note prior to finalizing an export sale or while pursuing opportunities overseas, such as identifying a new overseas customer should an export sale be lost due to COVID-19.
    • Export Working Capital program enables small businesses to fulfill export orders and finance international sales by providing revolving lines of credit or transaction-based financing of up to $5 million. Businesses could use a loan to obtain or retain overseas customers by offering attractive payment terms.
    • International Trade loan program helps small businesses engaged in international trade to retool or expand to better compete and react to changing business conditions. It can also help exporting firms to expand their sales to new markets or to re-shore operations back to the U.S.
  • Government Contracting

    SBA is focused on assisting with the continuity of operations for small business contracting programs and small businesses with federal contracts. For more information on federal contracting, visit https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-guide

    More specifically:

    • 8(a) Business Development program serves to help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, and the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate. The 8(a) program offer and acceptance process is available nationwide, and the SBA continues to work with federal agencies to ensure maximum practicable opportunity to small businesses. 8(a) program participants should stay in touch with their Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS).

    • HUBZone program offers eligibility assistance every Thursday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET at 1-202-765-1264; access code 63068189#.  Members of the HUBZone team answer questions to help firms navigate the certification process.  For specific questions regarding an application, please contact the HUBZone Help Desk at hubzone@sba.gov.

    • Women-owned Small Business firms who have questions, please visit www.sba.gov/wosbready or write to wosb@sba.gov.

    If a situation occurs that will prevent small businesses with government contracts from successfully performing their contract, they should reach out to their contracting officer and seek to obtain extensions before they receive cure notices or threats of termination. The SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives can assist affected small businesses to engage with their contracting officer. Use the Procurement Center Representative Directory to connect with the representative nearest you.

  • Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter:

    • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business's financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it.  See SBA’s capital access resources.
    • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
    • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
    • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
    • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
    • Changing Market Demand – Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.

    • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
    • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises
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    • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
    • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
    • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
    • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
    • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
    • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
    • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
    • For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
    • Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.
  • SBA Loan covid 19 rome ga
  • In response to COVID-19, the Small Business Administration has two major loan programs. If the proceeds from each of the loan programs is used differently, small businesses can apply for both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and Paycheck Protection Program as long as receipts from these two funds are not blended or combined.   
  • Nonprofit resources Covid 19 rome, ga
  • Message from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger :

    Due to the current public health concerns related to COVID-19, our office is receiving inquiries regarding the requirements of annual meetings for Georgia profit corporations and nonprofit corporations. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sections 14-2-701 and 14-3-701, Georgia profit corporations and Georgia nonprofit corporations, respectively, are required to hold their annual meetings at “the place stated in or fixed in accordance with the bylaws.” However, these Code sections do not specifically prohibit virtual or telephone attendance of annual meetings. Read more here

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  • Rome, GA Covid Business
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  • Disaster Loans - Rome, ga  COVID 19
  • Housing Covid 19 Rome, ga
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  • Unemployment COVID 19 Rome, ga
  • In response to the recent development of COVID-19, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is temporarily suspending in-person requirements for services provided by the agency. In accordance with Governor Kemp’s recommendation, the GDOL is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers, and other reemployment services.

    Employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

    Due to an extremely high volume of unemployment claims filed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, individuals may experience a delay in requesting weekly benefit payments. If you are having difficulty claiming your weekly benefits, please contact your local career center. Please note that you can file a claim online 24 hours per day.

    Please see the following links for quick access to the following:

     

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  • UGA. SBDC Rome, ga covid 19
  • The Small Business Development Center understands that many small businesses will suffer a decline in business as a result of  COVID-19.  Social distancing protocols are an important part of controlling the spread of the virus, but may also have an unintended significant negative impact on business activity.   We are here to help with no-cost, one-on-one counseling services and can accommodate with teleconferencing in lieu of face-to-face meetings. As we are funded by the SBA and the University of Georgia, these services are provided at no cost to the business owner.   Our focus during this unique and challenging time is helping small businesses with a tactical plan, cash flow issues, and connecting them with the resources that may be of help.   We have three experienced business consultants on staff who have the experience to help small business during challenging times.  Appointments may be scheduled by calling 706-622-2006 or by emailing rome@georgiasbdc.org.  Other resources are available at https://georgiasbdc.org .

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  • MSP COVID 19 rome, ga
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  • We encourage you to utilize CO—, the U.S. Chamber's own interactive digital platform designed specifically for business owners and offering unparalleled assets and subject matter expertise from the U.S. Chamber. 

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Coronavirus Resource Page

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    March 18, 2020

    "Earlier this afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As we shared earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber had sent a letter urging President Trump and congressional leadership to enact, as swiftly as possible, this legislation to ensure American businesses of all sizes can mitigate the potentially devastating economic effects from the spread of the Coronavirus. To see an updated summary from the U.S. Chamber on the legislation that has since been approved, please click here. Please note that edits to the original document were made visible to demonstrate what changes were made."

    This evening, U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue issued the following statement in response to the vote:

    "The Chamber applauds congressional leaders for moving quickly to pass a strong, bipartisan coronavirus response package that will provide immediate relief to American workers and families during this unprecedented time. We strongly urge the administration and Congress to now turn their attention to supporting America’s employers. No family or business should go bankrupt because of the unexpected financial hardships caused by the coronavirus.” 

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  • Click Here To Read the Executive Order

    From the Executive Order

    Whereas: Counties and municipalities responsible for regulating inspections of buildings or similar structures to ensure compliance with the state minimum standard codes have smaller workforces and cannot meet the demand for inspections in this State…

    It is ordered: That because of limited staffing and increasing wait times, I have determined that all counties and municipalities in this state that regulate inspections of buildings or similar structures to ensure compliance with the state minimum standard codes in accordance with Code Section 8-2-26 may not be able to provide regulatory action or inspection within the time frames required by Code Section 8-2-26(g)(4). Therefore, it is hereby ordered that all applicants seeking plan review or inspections in these cities and counties pursuant to Code Section 8-2-26 are not required to wait out the time frames required by Code Section 8-2-26(g)(4) and have the option of retaining “private professional provider[s]” immediately to provide the required plan review or inspection in accordance with the provisions of Code Section 8-2-26(g)(5). The Order does not otherwise amend or abate the requirements of Code Section 8-2-26, nor does it suspend the enforcement of its provisions.

    We continue to work with our state association, the Home Builders Association of Georgia, to bring you the latest
    updates and work on your behalf during this ever-changing situation.

     

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  • CDC-ROME-GA-COVID19
  • Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • See a full list of information from the CDC here. 

  • Purpose

    This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.

    The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

    To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19 infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page.

    Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak

    Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employerspdf iconexternal icon for more information about job risk classifications).

    Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with stateexternal icon and localexternal icon health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategiespdf icon according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.

    All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:

    1. reduce transmission among employees,
    2. maintain healthy business operations, and
    3. maintain a healthy work environment.

    Reduce Transmission Among Employees

    Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:

    • Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
    • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.

     

    Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:

    • See OSHA COVID-19external icon webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employerspdf iconexternal icon, including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
    • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

     

    Separate sick employees:

    • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

     

    Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:

    • Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.
    • Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
    • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
    • Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
    • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

     

    Maintain Healthy Business Operations

    Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

    Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

    • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
    • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
    • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
    • Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
    • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’sexternal icon and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’sexternal icon websites).
    • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.

     

    Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

    • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
    • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

     

    Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.

    • Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
    • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
    • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.
    • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

     

    Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:

    • Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)
    • Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)
    • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
    • Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)
    • Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)
    • Downsizing operations
    • Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)
    • Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery

     

    Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.

    Maintain a healthy work environment

    Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:

    • Increase ventilation rates.
    • Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.

     

    Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors:

    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
    • Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
    • Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other noncontact methods of greeting.
    • Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

     

    Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:

    • Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
      • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
      • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf iconexternal icon. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

     

    Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:

     

    Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:

    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

     

    Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:

    • Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.
    • Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
    • Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
    • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
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  • HR6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Summary

    The bill proposes many changes to increase public health measures as well as provisions that require most U.S. private employers to provide paid leave to employees under certain circumstances. While employers are responsible for funding the paid leave should it become law, employers would be able to take tax credits for the paid leave provided to employees under the FFCRA.

    Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

    Coverage and uses

    The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PSLA) provisions of the FFCRA apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers with at least one employee. Employers covered by the law would be required to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s “regular rate,” for any of the following reasons:

    1. Self-isolation due to coronavirus diagnosis
    2. Medical diagnosis or care if the employee is experiencing coronavirus symptoms
    3. Compliance with a recommendation or order by a public official with jurisdiction or health care provider on the basis that the physical presence of the employee on the job would jeopardize the health of others due to either:
    4. Employee’s exposure to coronavirus
    5. Employee’s exhibition of coronavirus symptoms
    6. Caring for or assisting a family member who is either:
    7. Self-isolating due to coronavirus diagnosis
    8. Experiencing coronavirus symptoms and needs medical diagnosis or care
    9. Caring for his or her child because the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus

    Additionally, if passed, the pay entitlement of an employee taking paid sick leave to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed, would be reduced to two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. Most employees would be eligible for leave regardless of their tenure with the organization or full- or part-time status. The bill, as it stands, would ensure employees who work under a multi-employer collective agreement and whose employers pay into a multi-employer plan are similarly provided with leave.

    Existing paid leave policies

    Employers may not require employees to exhaust their current sick leave before using leave under the current bill. Furthermore, if the PSLA is enacted as written, employers cannot change their existing paid leave policies, like vacation or paid time off (PTO). The paid leave provided under the PSLA would be provided in addition to the paid leave provided by employers as of the day before enactment of the bill.

    Effective date, carryover and expiration

    The PSLA will take effect no later than 15 days after the date of the bill’s enactment and paid sick leave would not carry over from year-to-year. PSLA entitlements would expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

    Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

    Coverage and uses

    The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) provisions of the bill would apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. There is a provision that may allow the Secretary of Labor to exempt some businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements.

    Under the EFMLA, employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for any of the following reasons:

    1. To adhere to a requirement or recommendation by a health care provider or a public health official having jurisdiction to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus
    2. To care for an at-risk family member who is adhering to a requirement or recommendation by a health care provider or a public health official to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus
    3. To care for a child of the employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to coronavirus
    4. Under the bill, the first two weeks of such FMLA may be unpaid. An employee may choose to substitute accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or other medical or sick leave during this period, but an employer may not require an employee to do so. After the two weeks of unpaid leave, employers must provide up to 10 weeks of paid FMLA leave at a rate of no less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay.

    Under the EFMLA, the Secretary of Labor may exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the employees who are eligible for leave. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor may exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the EFMLA requirements will jeopardize the business.

    Employee protections

    As with traditional FMLA leave, this leave is job-protected, meaning an employer must offer the employee the same or equivalent position upon their return to work. The bill contemplates an exception to this requirement for employers with fewer than 25 employees if the employee’s position does not exist after FMLA leave due to an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency during the period of leave. Certain conditions, including reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position, and required efforts to contact a displaced employee for up to a year after they are displaced, are required.

    Effective date and expiration

    The EFMLA will take effect no later than 15 days after the date of the bill’s enactment, and will remain in place for the one-year period following enactment.

    Tax credits for paid leave

    The bill provides tax credits for the employer’s portion of payroll taxes for wages paid to employees taking either paid sick leave or FMLA pursuant to the FFCRA. The sick leave credit for each employee would be for wages as much as $511 per day while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or $200 per day if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child if the child’s school is closed. The amount of tax credit for qualified family leave wages for each employee is $200 per day or $10,000 in aggregate.

  • The Rome Floyd Chamber seeks to provide access to recommendations, regulations, services and expertise to its members.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission remains constant.  Prior to acting, members should consult their own professional advisors for information and counsel specific to the individual and unique situations faced by organizations, individuals and corporations.  The opinions, interpretations and recommendations of the Rome Floyd Chamber are informational only and should not be relied upon by the recipient as legal or professional advice.  The Rome Floyd Chamber makes no representations as to the accuracy or reliability of the content contained herein.  Users of this information accept any and all risks associated with the use of such information and agree that the Rome Floyd Chamber has no liability to user.