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  • updated 4/30/20

     

    Dear Members,

    Below you will find updates from the US Chamber, SC Chamber, SCRLA, CDC.GOV, and the US Chamber Foundation. 

    Additionally, I encourage you to:

    • View ArtFields 2020 Artwork online here 
    • Find a local restaurant for take-out – lunch or dinner, list is here
    • Or check out the Lake City takeout and delivery places page on facebook
    • Give blood, save lives.  The American Red Cross is in desperate need of donations, visit www.redcross.org for details

    And most importantly, be safe & be thankful, support local.

     

    LATEST CDC UPDATES

     

    To continue the conversation on transportation from Monday's Path Forward program, here is the video of the event. Please feel free to share this widely with your colleagues and networks. 

    SCRLA Developed Business Opening Guidelines

    The South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Hospitality Industry Resilience Task Force has developed a set of opening and operating guidelines to help restaurants return to full operation safely when the time comes. South Carolina is committed to following the protocols set forth by Governor Henry McMaster.

    The guidelines detailed in this Phase One plan are driven by three major considerations: safety, gradual and phasing in. The guidelines are designed to provide a basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to COVID-19, including:

    •           Food safety

    •           Cleaning and sanitizing

    •           Employee health monitoring and personal hygiene

    •           Social distancing

    The purpose of this guidance is to build on the already established best practices and requirements available to address specific health and safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19.

    Per our list of recommendations, we suggest beginning to phase in the opening of restaurant outdoor dining areas on May 4 with their being treated the same as takeout, curbside service and delivery from a regulation standpoint. We anticipate being able to open the dine-in areas of restaurants by the week of May 18, depending on safety considerations.

    For more information click here: Phase One Recommendations

    SC Chamber Organizes Working Groups to Develop Employer Liability Protection Recommendations

    Legal Working Groups: The SC Chamber is coordinating with the SC Manufacturers Alliance, the SC Retailers Association, the SC Hospital Association, and the SC Medical Association on developing a list of actions and legislative recommendations to limit liability risks related to COVID-19. Members of the SC Chamber’s Legal Committee have identified legal experts within their law firms to draft recommendations and develop best practices for businesses. The attorneys are focused on COVID-19 issues related to workplace safety/OSHA issues, employment liability, premises liability, workers compensation, product liability for manufacturers transitioning to making PPE, and medical and healthcare liability.

    In the coming days, SC Chamber will ask Governor McMaster and accelerateSC to consider and act on our recommendations. Some of our recommendations will require legislative action; as such, we will call for the Governor to bring the SC General Assembly into session as soon as it is safe to consider critical COVID-19 legislation to help businesses, including liability protections. 

    Federal Action: The SC Chamber has communicated our concerns about the high risks of legal liability related to COVID-19 to our federal delegation. We are pleased to see that US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is making this issue a priority in the next coronavirus bill, which we expect will provide additional funding to state and local governments.  

    “You have to carefully craft the liability protection to deal with the money that would be supplied to state and local governments conditioned upon them enacting at the state level the kind of legislation that would provide liability protection for those that are seeking to go forward and get the economy back to work,” McConnell said.

    accelerateSC Response Subcommittee Meets for the First Time

    The Response Subcommittee of the accelerateSC Task Force met for the first time this afternoon to discuss many of the COVID-19 issues affecting business and how we start to move the state forward safely and sustainably. The committee’s stated goal is to identify challenges related to workforce capacity, workforce re-entry, critical industries, capital requirements, regulatory issues, and supply chain/logistics. Members include representatives of business associations, private businesses, as well as several government agencies. The full accelerateSC Task Force met for the first time last Thursday.

    Items on today’s meeting agenda included (1) safety protocols/reopening guidelines, (2) access to PPE, (3) workforce concerns to cover childcare, recall resistance, persistent unemployment, and online training opportunities.

    Discussion of these topics included items that we have heard from our SC Chamber policy committees persistently over the last few days like:

    • Establishing best practices and guidelines for businesses to reopen while keeping their employees and customers healthy
    • Liability concerns for businesses as they get back to work
      • Senator Lindsey Graham noted that Senator Mitch McConnell had made liability issues a priority in the Federal Phase 4 bill
    • PPE availability and the possibility of the state purchasing large quantities of PPE
      • A working group is being formed that will dig into this 
    • Childcare
      • 52% of certified childcare facilities have voluntarily shut down
      • Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals and past chair of the SC Chamber explained how Nephron had created a childcare program for their employees
    • Recall resistance
      • Director Dan Ellezy re-emphasized that an employee who refuses to return to a job after being offered their job back cannot continue to receive state or federal unemployment benefits

    Also, SC Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts presented preliminary results from the SC Chamber’s accelerateSC COVID19 Business Survey. Read more here.

    The next meeting will be next Tuesday, and the Governor said he expected the entire group’s work to be done within 30 days.

    Last Call for COVID-19 Business Survey

    The SC Chamber and SC Department of Commerce developed a survey to assist the accelerateSC task force by giving members critically needed data to make important decisions during the next 30 days. We value your input and ask that you please take 5 minutes to answer the survey. It will remain open until Friday, May 1st

    Community Request from Local Medical Centers

    Local Florence hospitals are encouraging the community to be smart in handling personal health during the COVID-19 era. If you are suffering what might be a health challenging circumstance, the local medical centers are open and ready to help you. Patient safety is their number one priority, and measures are being taken to ensure that they can safely deliver patient care.

    Again, all patients are asked to NOT delay their medical appointments, any required procedures, diagnostic testing or emergency room care. Please share this information with friends and family.

     

    updated 4/27/20

     

    Promotional Information to Business owners, Chamber members, colleagues and friends:

    All-Star Sports of Florence is offering a great promotion to purchase a t-shirt and at the same time support a local restaurant for a great price. Just click on the link below. Choose a t-shirt that reflects the restaurant in the greater Lake City area that you would like to support though your purchase. It’s simple and easy. T-shirts are $20 each. $10 from each t-shirt sold will be given to the establishment featured on the shirt. The store runs weekly from Monday-Sunday. Every week it is re-opened . Once the online store closes for that week, all orders will be processed and custom decorated. All orders will be packaged and prepared for delivery, or curbside pickup based on your choice at checkout. Please allow one week from the date the store closes to receive your goods. The store runs weekly from Monday-Sunday. Every week it is re-opened. An email will be sent when orders are completed. For Questions please call Grant Huckabee or Wayne Grantham: All Star Sports at 843.662.8751. Email: wayne@allstarsports.net  

    Website: https://lceatlocal.itemorder.com/sale

     

     

     

    updated 4/22/20

     

    Due to overwhelming response the US Chamber of Commerce is no longer accepting applications for their Save Small Business grants.  Please visit their “Save Small Business Initiative” page for additional resources and information.

     

    Below please find the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s updates for today. 

     

    1. US Senate Passes Additional Funds for PPP

    US Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached a deal and added additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The package, passed yesterday in the Senate by a voice vote, allocates over $480 billion total including funding for:

    • $310 Billion for PPP
      • $30 Billion set aside for loans made by federally insured lenders with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion
      • $30 Billion set aside for loans made by community financial institutions and small federally insured banks and credit unions with assets under $10 billion
    • $60 Billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
    • $75 Billion Hospital assistance
    • $25 Billion COVID-19 testing
      • $11 Billion for states and municipalities
      • $1 Billion to cover costs for testing individuals without health insurance
      • $1 Billion for the CDC

    The US House could take a vote on the package as soon as Thursday of this week (tomorrow).

    2. Governor McMaster Closes Schools for Remainer of School Year

    In a press conference today, Governor McMaster and SC Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced that schools would close for the remainder of the school year. The Governor will issue an executive order next week that will lay out all of the exact details, but in their remarks, Governor McMaster and Superintendent Spearman noted the following:

    • School districts will be allowed some flexibility when it comes to end-of-year activities, including graduation ceremonies, end-of-year counseling, textbook/supply return, and the pickup of personal belongings.
    • The districts’ regular calendar will determine the last day of instruction.
    • Decisions to determine the format of summer school and summer reading camps – if reading camps cannot be conducted in-person, the State Department of Education (SDE) is making plans for virtual delivery.
    • The SDE is forming a task force to make plans for returning to school in August.
    • The Accelerate SC Task Force will discuss childcare issues related to parents returning to work while children remain out of school.
    • One of the biggest challenges during this time has been the “digital divide” – some schools were able to transition immediately to a 100% online delivery system, some have adopted a blended delivery system (a combination of online and pencil and paper). Others have to rely on an all pencil and paper system.
      • Superintendent Spearman noted that some of the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for school districts can go toward technology in schools.

    3. Updates for Our Manufacturing Members

    White House Defers Some Tariffs for Hard-Hit Companies: In an executive order announced on Sunday, President Trump deferred some tariffs, taxes, and fees for businesses that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Shortly after that, Customs and Border Protection and the Treasury Department (Treasury) issued a temporary final rule which allows companies to postpone certain payments on merchandise imported during March and April for 90 calendar days from the original due date.

    The US Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision. Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said:

    “Providing some temporary tariff relief will help American businesses make payroll and retain employees in the coming weeks. With the current economic downturn, liquidity has become one of the top challenges for businesses of all sizes. Allowing US companies to defer some tariff payments — like the tax relief provided in the CARES Act — will alleviate some of that strain.”

    The order does not apply to all tariffs. It excludes changes to antidumping and countervailing duties and tariffs under sections 201, 232 and 301 of the trade code, The goal of this deferral is to help companies relying heavily on imports get through the next several months until the economy is on its way to getting back up and running.

    OSHA Issues Safety Tips for Manufacturing Employers: Last week, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new alert with recommendations about how to keep manufacturers safe.

    The safety tips for employers to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to COVID-19 include the following:

    • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
    • Establish flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible.
    • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six feet between co-workers, where possible.
    • For work activities where social distancing is a challenge, consider limiting the duration of these activities and implementing innovative approaches, such as temporarily moving or repositioning workstations to create more distance or installing barriers (e.g., plexiglass shields) between workstations.
    • Monitor public health communications about COVID-19 recommendations for the workplace and ensure that workers have access to and understand that information.
    • Train workers on how to correctly put on, use/wear, take-off, and maintain protective clothing and equipment.
    • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus.
    • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
    • Discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment.
    • Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
    • Promote personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide disinfectants, and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces.
    • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

    The alert is available for download here.

    These and other resources for businesses are available on SC Chamber’s COVID-19 website.

    As always, please feel free to reach out to the Greater Lake City Chamber of Commerce at LCCOC1@ftc-i.net or the SC Chamber at COVID19Response@scchamber.net with questions.

     

     

    From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday:

    Earlier this afternoon, the administration and Congress reached a deal to increase the funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs under the CARES Act to provide emergency financial relief for small business owners navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Just moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the legislation.

    In response to the deal, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley issued the following statement:

    "We applaud congressional leaders and the administration for reaching a deal to increase desperately needed funding to support America’s small businesses during this difficult time. These additional funds could make the difference between keeping a business up and running over the coming weeks or being forced to reduce salaries, lay off employees, or shutter businesses entirely. Congress should enact this legislation immediately to help small businesses that need the funding right now.”

    Click Here to Read the Full Statement

    The U.S. Chamber has been a strong advocate for the small business community and the swift enactment of this legislation, and recently launched the Save Small Business Initiative—a nationwide program to provide supplemental funding, resources and webinars, research, and advocacy for American small businesses.

    This legislation is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives this Thursday, April 23, 2020.

    Click here to encourage House Members to vote to restore funding now. You can also share this tool with your members and ask them to join us in urging Congress to take swift action.

    Click Here to Urge Congress to Save Small Business

     

    U.S. Chamber Top Line Summary of New CARES Act Funding

    To better understand the new CARES Act funding and how it impacts you and your members, we encourage you to review the U.S. Chamber's top line summary of the final bill.

    Click Here to View the Summary

    Thank you for your continued support as we work towards securing this vital funding for the small business community—the backbone of the American economy.

     

    updated 4/21/20

     

    Looks Like New Funding For SBA Small Business Aid Is About To Go Through

    We understand that the U.S. House and Senate have reached an agreement on an emergency economic rescue package that will replenish the small business aid program and provide money for coronavirus testing and funding for hospitals.

    The new package would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, which was part of the $2 trillion stimulus approved late last month and ran out of money last week. The agreement seems to include $75 billion for hospitals and funding to expand testing for the COVID-19 virus. It is believed that $125 billion of the small business funds will go exclusively to unbanked and very small stores.  The Senate is scheduled to meet today at 4 p.m. for a pro forma session which provides the platform for passage.

    The bill will likely allocate more than $400 billion total including funding for:

    • PPP
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
    • Hospital assistance
    • COVID-19 testing

    The Chamber will share more details when available  later today.


    NEWS FROM THE SC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

    Governor McMaster Announces, “Accelerate SC” Task Force

    Accelerate SC Task Force: In a press conference yesterday, Governor McMaster announced the formation and membership of the economic revitalization task force called “Accelerate SC.” Revised estimates now predict that the peak of new COVID-19 cases in South Carolina was on April 15 and the peak in deaths was April 9. The Accelerate SC task force will develop a plan to move South Carolina toward a phased-in revitalization path as healthcare data indicates it is safe and appropriate to do so.

    Accelerate SC includes representatives from various business and industry sectors, including SC Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts. For a full list of members, click here. The plan will consist of five categories: Response, Protection, Governance, Resources, and Information. The group’s first meeting will be on Thursday of this week.

    New Executive Order: Governor McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-28, which reopens public beaches and waterways effective tomorrow, April 21st at 12:00 pm, allowing local governments to decide whether to close beaches within their jurisdictions. The order also reopens certain retail stores, effective today at 5 pm, including:

    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, with the exception of hardware and home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores

    *All stores are required to (1) limit occupancy to five customers per 1,000 square feet of retail space or 20 percent occupancy, whichever is less; (2) ensure customers are not congregating within six feet of one another, and (3) implement all reasonable steps to comply with CDC and DHEC sanitation guidelines.


    Original CARES Act Loan Recap Data

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released updated Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. loan approval numbers through 12:00 pm on April 16th.

    Nationally:

    • Approval of 1,661,367 loans
    • Approval of $342.3 billion in loans (does not reflect the amount required for reimbursement to lenders per statute within the CARES Act.
    • 4,975 lenders have processed approved loans
    • Overall average loan size is $206,000
    • Top five sectors receiving loans:
      • Construction (13.12%)
      • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (12.65%)
      • Manufacturing (11.96%)
      • Health Care and Social Assistance (11.65%)
      • Accommodation and Food Services (8.91%)

    In South Carolina:

    • Approval of 22,933 loans have been approved
    • Approval of $3.81 billion in loans

    The SC Chamber Team will continue to monitor developments at the federal level and to work with the SBA’s South Carolina District Office and the SC Bankers Association in order to assist members and provide up-to-date information about the evolution of the PPP.


    Monday's Call with US Senator Lindsey Graham (Recap)

    Monday there were nearly 400 people tuned in to the SC Chamber Zoom call with US Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham was integral in the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the most significant relief package in American history, designed to help businesses and the economy during this time of crisis.

    Key points from the call include:

    • Hopefully, by summer the country will be entering Phase 2 (Mitigation) of the President’s reopening plan
    • Senator Graham’s hope is that they can continue to fund the PPP program if our small businesses remain under restrictions (such as dine-in eating)
    • Changes he is pushing for in PPP include directing the money down to the main street level, rather than it going to large franchises.
    • Foreign-owned companies DO qualify for PPP – any business who receives conflicting guidance is encouraged to contact the SC Chamber and we will connect them with Senator Graham’s office to get the issue cleared up.
    • One of Senator Graham’s main goals is to eliminate the possibility that individuals receive more per week on employment than they would have at their job – he says the additional $600 per week on top of $327 max in SC has led employees to choose unemployment over remaining on the payroll of their employer
    • Drug therapy is going to be the key to actually beating COVID-19 – we need both COVID-19 tests and antibody tests as well as a vaccine before we can actually say we’ve conquered it.