Chamber Updates & COVID-19 Resources
The West Shore Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in our area. As a business resource center, we want to help you navigate this situation and what that means for our community. We understand that there is uncertainty in a time like this, therefore we believe the best way to proceed is with facts and communication of those facts. We need to steer clear of fear and focus on what we can do to keep our members and community safe. Remember we need to prepare, not panic.
Let’s make sure we are minimizing the impact on our community by looking to our public health experts for guidance related to COVID-19. We hope to maintain business as usual, but also want to ensure we’re aligning with best practices to do all we can to keep our community healthy. Please make sure that you are also thinking about your fellow businesses, anyway that you can support local business while staying safe please do so!
We are creating this page as a gathering place for information from reliable resources and updates on how we are adjusting during this time.
Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that the statewide stay-at-home orders issued on April 1 to protect Pennsylvanians and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will be extended until Friday, May 8 at 12:01 AM. The initial order was set to expire on April 30.
In accordance with this order, the Chamber will continue to be closed until we are allowed to re-open safely. We are postponing all public events until further notice and will announce any rescheduled dates once the staff is back in the office. The Chamber’s physical office remains closed and you can email email@example.com with any questions you may have.
Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Schuylkill counties, bringing the state total to 26 counties under a stay-at-home order. This order takes effect at 8 p.m., Monday, March 30, 2020, and will continue until April 30. All stay-at-home orders are now extended through April 30. All Pennsylvania schools will remain closed until further notice. Non-life-sustaining business closures remain in effect. The order now includes these 26 counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties.
In accordance with this order, the Chamber will be postponing all public events through April 30th. The Chamber office’s physical location is still closed until further notice, however, Chamber staff are working remotely and can be reached through email. Please visit the staff page for emails.
Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. on March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21. View Order Here. View List of Life-Sustaining Businesses Here. If you are unsure if you need to close or have questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to apply for a waiver or have questions on the process please email RAemail@example.com. The Chamber office staff will be working from home and are accessible by email. Please visit the staff page for our information.
The Chamber has decided to close the office to the public in response to the recommendations of health professionals and government officials. Starting today, Monday, March 16th all staff will be available by email and limited staff will be in the office to answer phone calls directly until further notice. We are here for you during this time so please reach out and let us know what we can do for you so that we can help you navigate this ever-changing situation.
As we all know, many local businesses are going to be affected by this situation and we want to continue supporting them while staying safe. We posted some ideas on our Facebook page on how to do this. However, if your business is doing your part to support the local community during this time let us know so that we can share it out as we can. We are here for you, so please reach out and let us know what we can do for you so that we can help you navigate this ever-changing situation.
In addition to this, in partnership with the Mechanicsburg Chamber, to keep our members and the community safe we are postponing our Taste of the Chamber event until June 24th, 2020.
Any further updates will be provided via our social media channels, on our website, and through our weekly email to our members.
Due to public health concerns, the Chamber and our member Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Mechanicsburg believe it is a responsible decision to postpone the morning networking mixer scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th. It will be rescheduled at a later date.
Since we are unsure of the length of time that we should be concerned, we are discussing events that are scheduled in April and May to see how they should be handled. At this time no other events are postponed or canceled. Decisions for committee meetings will be made on a case by case basis and that information will be communicated to committee members and on our website. Supporting local businesses is critical but so is keeping our members and the local community safe.
Any updates to this will be communicated to our members via direct email, our WeeklyWire, on social media and on this page. To sign up for our emails please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our list. If you have any direct questions please call the Chamber office at (717) 761-0702 or email email@example.com.
RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS & THEIR EMPLOYEES
To help educate employers and employees on how to prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) have created resources so we can try to stay ahead of the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to go to these resources for updates as we see what impact this may have on Central PA. We will update these resources as they become available.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Keeping Workplaces, Homes, Schools or Commercial Establishments Safe Printouts
World Health Organization (WHO)
Coronavirus Disease Outbreak – Current Updates
Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE)
ACCE Resource Guide: Coronavirus
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond
Key Planning Recommendations for Mass Gatherings
Pandemic Guidance – Ready.Gov
Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. Click here for the guide.
COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) Program
3.31.20 – They are no longer accepting applications for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program. All funding has been exhausted. However, low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania is now available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (see below).
CARES ACT/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. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application
Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Overview
PPP Information for Lenders
PPP Information for Borrowers
Employee Retention Credit FAQs
Employee Tax Credit Guide by the US Chamber of Commerce
JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
Restaurants, bars, and other independent food and beverage operations are strong economic drivers. $1 trillion generated by the culinary industry reflects 4% of our gross domestic product. The food and beverage community employs nearly 16% of the American workforce. These businesses support local economies, and according to some studies, restaurants pump as much as 60% of their money back into their local business communities. To help bring swift economic relief to these essential businesses, the Foundation is launching a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need*. Learn more, donate, and apply.
Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) This program is for Self-Employed/Independent Contractors/Sole-Proprietors. You can complete the application online and here you can find Frequently Asked Questions About PUA .
Recognizing the unprecedented health emergency facing our communities, THE PARTNERSHIP FOR BETTER HEALTH is making Rapid Response Emergency Grants available to local nonprofit organizations, to assist them in responding to the threat of COVID-19. Grants are expected to range between $2,000 and $25,000. All applications are accepted online. Please review the detailed instructions and Request for Proposals (RFP) on our website. Our online grants system is used for each step of the grant process, including the completion of your application and the final grant report. Awards will be considered on a rolling basis until May 29, 2020. After reviewing the complete RFP, feel free to direct grant questions to our Director of Grants & Public Policy, Carol Thornton, and/or to our Director of Health Promotion, Gail Witwer. Other emergency COVID-19 funding opportunities through the United Way of the Capital Region, Wellspan Health’s Slow the Spread Grants, and The Foundation for Enhancing Communities & United Way of the Capital Region’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund. To find a host of additional state resources for individuals, nonprofits and businesses, visit Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Resource Site.
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION – On March 19, 2020, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The US Chamber of Commerce has created a guide that can be found here. Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation “Save Small Business Initiative” Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the program provides $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities. Visit the Save Small Business Fund page for more information, including eligibility and applications.
Local Resource Links
Amtrak Travel Updates
Cumberland County PA
Fisher Phillips Law Firm, Comprehensive FAQ’s for Employers on COVID-19
Harrisburg International Airport Updates
PA 2-1-1, Free, accessible, 3-digit telephone number available to everyone. All residents have easy access to customized health, housing, and human services information in one place.
PA.Cast – COVID-19 Printables
PA Careerlink – New Phone Number Flyer for Employers and Job Seekers, Updated 4.9.20
PA Daily COVID-19 Report (updated every evening)
PA Department of Education
PA.GOV Health Department Coronavirus Updates
PA Restaurant & Lodging Association Updates
PA State Registrar Notices
PA Unemployment Compensation Filing Materials Checklist
4.17.20 Wolf offers ‘framework,’ few details for reopening state
4.10.20 The GIANT Company announces $250,000 emergency grant program to support small businesses during COVID-19 pandemic
4.3.20 Pennsylvanians should wear a mask when going out in public, Gov. Wolf says, amid coronavirus pandemic
4.1.20 All of Pennsylvania now under orders to stay home
3.31.20 Banks, Consumer Protection Bureau offer help with stimulus funds
3.31.20 Stay-at-home orders added for seven additional counties in Pa., including Franklin
3.31.20 With $349 Billion in Emergency Small Business Capital Cleared, SBA and Treasury Begin Unprecedented Public-Private Mobilization Effort to Distribute Funds
3.30.20 Stay at home orders for Cumberland and Dauphin counties, all schools closed indefinitely
3.25.20 Coronavirus $2 trillion aid deal reached by White House, legislators
3.18.20 Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially- Declared COVID-19 National Emergency
3.17.20 Facebook announces $100 million program for small businesses impacted by coronavirus
3.15.20 The Emergency Coronavirus Bill: What Employers Need to Know Regarding the Legislative Response to COVID-19
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE CDC
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you or someone in your household gone on a cruise or traveled to a country on the CDC’s Level 3 watch list in the last 30 days? See the CDC’s guidelines for the most up-to-date list.
- Have you been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19? See the CDC’s risk assessment guidance.
- Do you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19? Symptoms can include a fever, cough or shortness of breath. See the CDC’s symptom information.
If you answered “yes’ to any of those questions, we ask you not to attend meetings, committees or events hosted here at Chamber building or at other locations.
If you answered “no,” we ask you to take the advice of the CDC, including:
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home and personal items, such as cell phones, using regular household products.
– George M. Book, Jr, West Shore Chamber President & CEO