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7 Areas You Need To Know Regarding COVID-19

Impact & Advocacy , Events & Programs , Local Stories , Chamber Updates
March 25 2020
Good Morning.

I hope this email finds you dealing with the rapidly-changing circumstances of this  pandemic as best as can be expected.

As we move deeper into this unprecedented situation, it is likely that the information and advice all around us is becoming a bit overwhelming.  There are new government programs, ongoing legislation being passed at all governmental levels, new work rules that continue to adjust every day and more webinar and articles speaking to the moment than one could possibly digest.

Today’s email is meant to sort through the mass of information and lift the primary information up to you in an organized fashion.

As always, we invite you to check out our website often (www.lancasterchamber.com/coronavirus) as we are regularly updating it with all the business-based information that you need to know.  Please know our site includes specific sections dedicated to small business and non-profits information, as well.

[Later today, we will be posting information on the historic $2 trillion aid package (here is a summary) that was agreed to overnight by leaders of the Senate. A vote is expected later today.]

7 AREAS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1- First of all, if you are experiencing hardship and you have yet to contact your bank, lender, landlord, utility provider(s), insurance carrier and/or your internet carrier, you should.  Not only are many of them being incredibly flexible with their current terms, but some are also becoming a conduit for some of the government programs/offers.

2- Families First Coronavirus Act - Last week Congress passed sweeping changes to workplace rules in their initial effort to deal with the spread of the virus. You can review a Frequently-Asked-Questions from the U.S. Department of Labor about it HERE.

3- Life-Sustaining Businesses – As you all know, last Thursday Governor Wolf asked for the closure of Non-Life Sustaining Businesses. Please note that since the Governor’s announcement, the list of businesses to be closed has been adjusted three times. The latest list is HERE. If you have questions you can get them answered HERE; if you’d like to request a waiver, you can do so HERE. You can also feel free to contact Heather Valudes (hvaludes@lancasterchamber.com, 717-278-5482) at the Chamber for additional assistance;

4- Loan Programs – Even before last night’s deal on a new federal response, there have been a host of emergency loan programs emerging at both the state and federal level. Two programs that are just being launched include: 
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan is available to small businesses and private non-profits. Webinar trainings will be held daily Monday-Friday at 12 p.m. EST starting today through April 3 and will address who’s eligible and what you need in order to apply. Zoom log-in for the webinar is here. The SBA has also created a special page, now accessible here.
  • PIDA Working Capital Loan: The application is opening soon. The loan is first-come, first-serve and is available for businesses with less than 100 full-time employees. Businesses can request up to  $100,000 to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. Watch the Lancaster Chamber and the EDC’s websites for more information. Please be aware that demand for the loan is expected to exceed the supply.
5- Workforce Challenges – Changes are happening rapidly for businesses, with some seeking staffing and others having to make very hard decisions on the short-term and long-term outlook for their employees. Here are a few resources for these various circumstances.
  • If you are in need of staffing, the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board is actively (and remotely) connecting employers with those seeking employment. Click here or call 717-584-4932 for more information.
  • Layoffs & Furloughs - Unfortunately, this area has been receiving a lot of attention lately and the rules are being adjusted as the crisis continues.  Please click HERE for an overview on the latest guidelines for UC.
6- Webinars – Our new normal now has webinars as the go-to-method for learning in groups.  We have been hosting our own and posting them on our website once completed AND we have been posting many other local webinars on our site, as well. All of them are free. We will continue to provide you with webinar information and links as more become available.
  • Those that were recently held by us or others include: Ask an Attorney Part 1 (listen here with access code kY5XGd6f) and Business Insurance Considerations (listen here).
  • Those that are coming up include: Ask an Attorney Part 2 (register here).The latter happens today at 11am. If you can't make it, a link will be available afterwards. Also register for the SBA EIDL Program Webinar (watch here - it happens every day from Noon-1:30pm).
7- Take Care of Yourself – Make no mistake about it, this situation is head-spinning and stressful for everyone.  While it requires a steely determination and focus at work, it also demands that we take care of ourselves.  Here is an article on staying healthy from the Department of Health (read here) and here are resources for mental health during this time from WellSpan health (find here).


In all of this, I continue to be inspired by the resilience, determination, innovation and generosity of the local business community, and I invite you to share your stories with us so we can post them on our website, as well. Trust me when I note, you’re not boasting when you share the good things and best practices you are doing, you are simply inspiring and teaching others and, in turn, making us all better.  We welcome your feedback.

Please know the Chamber team is here to help you navigate this unprecedented journey in any way we can.  If you have any specific questions or concerns or any ideas of programs and services we could offer that would be helpful, give us a call at 717.397.3531 or drop us an email at info@lancasterchamber.com. Rest assured, someone will respond quickly. That’s part of our determination to help.

Be safe & stay distant,

Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber

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Lancaster Chamber
115 East King Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
Tel: (717) 397-3531
Fax: (717) 293-3159

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