COVID 19 Updates
House Approves Changes to PPP
The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886). The bill makes several positive changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but it does not address the issue of 501 (c)(6) eligibility.
Among other changes, the bill extends the forgiveness period for eligible expenses from eight weeks to 24 weeks. It also adjusts the restrictions requiring that 75 percent of the loan amount goes to payroll, changing the ratio from 75/25 to 60/40.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week. The bill is expected to remain narrowly focused on changes to the current program and it will not address expansion. The next big federal package is likely to be the next opportunity to address (c)(6) inclusion.
ACCE will continue to work with our partners at the U.S. Chamber and ASAE to push to expand PPP eligibility to chambers of commerce and other 501 (c) organizations.
See ACCE’s recent op-ed in the Washington Business Journal.
How Will COVID-19 Change the Future of Work
Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work published a special report that considers how COVID-19 could change the world of work, education, health, shopping, entertainment and more.
“We imagined what would it be like if we were in 2025 and then looking back at what happened in the aftermath of the virus,” said Benjamin Pring, director of the Center for the Future of Work. “In that way of stretching your imagination, it gives you a different perspective. It offers a different way of looking at things, getting beyond the short-term panic and thinking about how we separate the changes that will become permanent from the short-term changes that will revert back to normal.”
A few highlights include:
Business Travel Loses its Cool: Is business travel the engine of commerce that we thought it was? Will virtual meeting and event alternatives, along with the environmental benefits of less air travel, lead to new habits around business travel.
The Birth of the Clean Regime: While workers may not be clamoring to get back into the office, it is clear that people want to quickly return to social spaces – parks, cafes, gyms, movie theatres, etc. As venues reopen, cleanliness is more important than ever, both in terms of combating the virus and strengthening consumer confidence to reenter these spaces. “This might be a complete shift in our perspective on the world. There is going to be a commercial opportunity around that. If conspicuous cleanliness is suddenly chic and cool, then there is going to be money to be made riding that wave.”
Online’s Big Bang: In the future, will solutions that were considered digital alternatives become the new norm. Up until the virus, technology played more of a supporting role in the delivery of education and health care. After the virus, digital solutions will play a much more central role. “What we are going to see in the next five years is that everything that can go online is going to go online,” Pring said.
Everyone’s Home is Their Castle: Will converted bedrooms and garages make way for more substantial, dedicated working space. Before the crisis, about 5 percent of Americans regularly work from home. During the COVID-19 crisis, a far greater number, perhaps 80 percent of knowledge workers worked from home regularly and there was not a massive hit to productivity. Coming out of the crisis, Pring estimated that 20-25 percent of knowledge workers may shift to working from home most of the time. “I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to go into physical offices when we need to do something that really requires that face-to-face interaction,” Pring said. “But the idea that people will regularly do that, Monday through Friday from nine to five, to do work that they could so just as easily at home will become less common.”
More Future of Work Reading
Congress Considering Changes to Paycheck Protection Program
Both houses of Congress are considering changes to the Paycheck Protection Program.
According to the U.S. Chamber, the Senate may take action today to pass a bill that includes revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program that would extend the period in which small businesses can use the funds. Next week, the House is expected to consider the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886). The bill makes a number of positive changes to the PPP, but it does not address the issue of 501 (c)(6) inclusion.
Contact your Congressional delegation and encourage them to make 501(c)(6) organizations eligible for financial relief under PPP.
House COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Relief for Chambers
A proposal to expand access to the Paycheck Protection Program to all 501 (c) organizations is part of the $3 trillion COVID-19 relief package introduced by House Democrats this week.
Chambers of commerce have been urging their congressional delegations to support (c)(6) inclusion for weeks. It’s great to see lawmakers recognize the vital role chambers are playing during this crisis, helping companies access capital, sharing best practices for reopening, coordinating the sourcing of personal protective equipment, helping displaced workers find new jobs and more.
Among other priorities, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, the bill provides nearly $1 trillion to state and local governments. View the complete bill summary here.
One additional provision within the bill is the extension of the $600 federal unemployment payments through January 2021. We are hearing from many chambers that, as states ease stay at home restrictions, this benefit is undermining businesses' ability to bring back employees, who are instead opting to stay on unemployment because of this added benefit.
The bill faces opposition in the Senate, where Senate Republicans are drafting their bill with a heavy emphasis on liability protections for businesses. No word yet on whether that bill will allow for (c)(6) inclusion in PPP. Expect bipartisan negotiations on a final package in the weeks ahead.
Reopening Resource Roundup – May 15, 2020
The U.S. Chamber launched a new Reopening Business Digital Resource Center that includes state-specific guidance, industry sector-specific guidance and more.
The National Governors Association is tracking state actions addressing business reopening on this chart.
Back to Work Surveys:
Here are two examples of back to work surveys chambers used to gain reopening insights from area businesses:
Indy Chamber President & CEO Michael Huber spoke to MSNBC's Alicia Menendez about the chamber’s ongoing efforts to connect people with jobs and resources through the Rapid Response Hub and Rapid Response Talent.
The Charleston Metro Chamber, working with a variety of partners in its three-county region through the One Region initiative, released phase one of re|IGNITE, a plan to safely reopen businesses. The plan is meant to provide confidence for employers, their employees and the community to safely reopen when the time is right.
Oregon Chambers: The Springfield Chamber and Eugene Area Chamber worked together to release Back to Business: A Guide to Reopening
Greater Des Moines Partnership released DSM Forward, a compilation of playbooks to help businesses prepare for economic recovery. DSM Forward includes industry specific playbooks as well as business function playbooks.
The Little Rock Regional Chamber worked with local advertising agencies to create a quick reference guide to help businesses formulate their relaunch messaging.
Commerce Lexington released An Introductory Guide to Reopening Your Business in the Era of COVID-19 to provide area businesses with policies and procedures to consider as they prepare to reopen.
The Wilmington Chamber released Smart Restart Hanover County, a framework to help get regional businesses back to work.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s Rapid Response South Sound site is leveraging experts from area business to provide assistance to impacted businesses in the areas of financial assistance, HR & employee services, communications & marketing and more.
The Napa Chamber formed the Countywide Business Advisory Group to work with health and government officials to develop guidelines and rules of engagement to reopen businesses and facilitate economic recovery. The chamber also launched the Community Assist Campaign, an ongoing video series to spark positive, productive conversations during a difficult time.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Procter & Gamble Co., CVG and Brain Brew Custom Bourbon at Eureka! Ranch are helping businesses resume operations by providing free RESTART Kits.
The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Tulsa Regional Chamber partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance to provide a directory of companies supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed for operating according to guidelines set forth by the CDC.
- McKinsey & Company: Digital strategy in a time of crisis
- HBR: Leading Through Anxiety – Inspiring Others When You’re Struggling Yourself
- S. Chamber: Federal Liability Problems and Solutions
- Cognizant: After the Virus – A Special Report Looking Back on the Next Five Years
- Weathering the Storm: How Congress can help businesses and workers get to the other side of this pandemic and beyond
Chamber of Commerce COVID Updates & Best Practices
COVID-19 Legal Liability Issues: A wide array of challenges remain around legal liability issues, from exposure liability and safe workplace requirements, to the potential for discrimination claims and health privacy concerns. Here are a few updates from this week:
- U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: Businesses Are Worried About Getting Sued As They Reopen
- Utah governor signs bill shielding businesses, property owners from coronavirus-related suits
501(c)(6) Inclusion in PPP: Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of representatives to ensure chambers of commerce have access to federal assistance like the Paycheck Protection Program. H.R. 6697, the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act, was introduced by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Greg Steube (R-FL), and Gil Cisneros (D-CA). Encourage your congressional representatives to co-sponsor and support the legislation. Learn more here.
Best Practices for Membership Renewal: We updated our COVID-19 Resource Guide with a section addressing best practices for membership renewal during times of crisis. This new section features tips and insights culled from ACCE’s Membership Development Division, along with template and sample communications.
Supporting Cultural Institutions: More than 140 chambers of commerce signed on to a letter urging Congressional leaders to support cultural institutions like performing arts centers, aquariums, zoos and museums.
- U.S. Chamber: State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance
- MultiState Associates: COVID-19 State Reopening Guide
- McKinsey & Company: The Restart
Chamber Restart/Reopening Examples
- Calgary Chamber
- Tulsa Regional Chamber
- Charleston Metro Chamber
- Virginia Chamber
- Greater Louisville Inc.
- Mobile Area Chamber
- Nashville Area Chamber
- Columbia Chamber
- Greater Kansas City Chamber
- Michigan West Coast Chamber
- Greater Houston Partnership
- Nixa Area Chamber
- Billings Chamber of Commerce
- Maryland Chamber of Commerce
- Association of Washington Business
Chambers in the News
- Chamber Corner: It’s time to rally around #ChamberStrong
- Adam Knapp On BRAC’s Indicator Dashboard
- Bob Duffy: Gradual reopening in NY will be based on data, science
- Buffalo Niagara Partnership: Businesses getting hit hard by pandemic, survey shows
- Houston, Orlando, Colorado Springs featured on DCI Podcast
- As business community’s needs surge, Oregon chambers of commerce dig in, reach out, forge ahead
- Local Businesses Rely on Chamber of Commerce
ACCE Launches Executive Support Alliance
Chamber of commerce CEOs are facing a variety of challenges dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. They are seeking support from their peers, leadership and staff to help their members, and their communities, rebound from these difficult times.
ACCE is pleased to launch the Executive Support Alliance, a team of industry consultants and retired chamber execs. These industry pros have stepped up to provide free coaching and support for chamber leaders in areas including programming, human resources, financial, legal, marketing & communications, strategic planning, board management, executive coaching and more.
"The chamber community is in this together, and it's inspiring to see the positive response we received when we reached out to our industry partners to organize this program," ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said. "The coaching sessions will help many chamber executives navigate challenging conditions, and we appreciate the commitment of our alliance partners."
To take advantage of this new initiative and schedule a no-cost, 1-hour coaching session, contact Anissa Starnes at firstname.lastname@example.org to be matched with a consultant.
More Restart Resources
Last week, we showcased how a few chambers organized their back to work plans. We have a few more examples to share this week, but we also wanted to highlight a couple of specific areas:
Guidance to Employers: It is no surprise that chambers are being relied on as a trusted source of information by businesses seeking help as they reopen. Chambers are fielding questions, launching toolkits, holding webinars and more. Here are a few new examples:
- The Greater Kansas City Chamber: The chamber launched the #SafeReturnKC guide to help organizations reopen their workplaces in a thoughtful, safe manner. The chamber also provided training to several staff members and stood up a help desk to assist businesses with specific questions.
- Colorado: As Colorado reopens, Northern Colorado chambers have updated the NoCoRecovers.com website to share the latest guidance, including industry-specific checklists.
- Greater Louisville Inc.: GLI’s Renewal Task Force released its recommendations to reopen the regional economy this week. The recommendations outline a thoughtful, regional, phased-in approach to reopening that addresses key concerns and offers industry-specific guidance.
- Quad Cities Chamber: The chamber launched a new toolkit to help businesses navigate the new normal and ensure the safety of our region, providing guidance to safely serve your customers and accommodate your employees.
- The Mobile Area Chamber: The chamber released a guidebook of recommendations for reopening and keeping your workplace safe.
- Lake Champlain Regional Chamber: The chamber released a step-by-step guide to help businesses safely reopen and ensure their employees and customers remain and feel safe.
Helping Employers Access PPE: Chambers are stepping up to help businesses obtain the personal protective equipment needed to reopen safely.
- The Greater Cleveland Partnership launched a platform to connect providers of essential supplies with buyers that continue to operate. The site also helps manufacturers interested in shifting their operations to produce high-demand supplies.
- The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce launched a marketplace to connect businesses in need of supplies with the manufacturers producing them.
- Alabama chambers, including the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, Business Council of Alabama and Dothan Area Chamber partnered with Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth's office to develop a personal protection equipment database for businesses to connect them to PPE suppliers.
- Liability shield for businesses emerges as new fight over reopening
- AEI: Use the $600 unemployment supplements to get people back to work
- The fear of coronavirus is changing our psychology
- DCI: The Pivot – Five Economic Development Leaders Share Post-Corona Changes
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Implementing a National Return to Work Plan
- Baton Rouge Area Chamber: Release | Plan
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: Release | Plan
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber: Plan | Playbooks by Industry
- Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama: Playbook for Reopening Your Business
- Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce: Project Rebound
Guide to Reopening Your Workplace
Many states are beginning to announce timelines for reopening businesses to get the economy restarted. As chambers provide support and resources for businesses planning to reopen, they are also starting to think about reopening their chamber offices.
During ACCE’s roundtable calls this week, several participants highlighted Cushman & Wakefield’s recently released Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace. The resource includes a comprehensive guide, a recorded webinar, a general check list and two industry-specific checklists.
We’ve heard from many chamber leaders who plan to continue work-from-home policies in the short-term. As you begin to formulate your reopening plan, the six steps outlined in the guide are a great place to start:
- Prepare the Building – implement cleaning plans, pre-return inspections, and HVAC and mechanicals checks
- Prepare the Workforce – create policies for deciding who returns, shift/schedule management and employee communications
- Control Access – enforce protocols for safety and health checks, building reception, shipping/receiving, elevators and visitor policies
- Create a Social Distancing Plan – follow guidelines for decreasing density, schedule management and office traffic patterns
- Reduce Touch Points & Increase Cleaning – implement open doors, clean-desk policy, food plans and regular cleaning of common areas
- Communicate for Confidence – recognize the fear employees may feel in returning, communicate transparently and listen/survey regularly
The Gwinnett Chamber is ready
The Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett are prepared for a safe return to work thanks to our partners at Level Seven. Their experts have applied a natural disinfectant hypochlorous acid mist/germ killer to our work environment. @GwinnettChamber @PartnershipGw pic.twitter.com/288o5z0J2L— Nick Masino (@NickMasino) May 1, 2020
ACCE Continues to Call for Federal Support for Chambers
Chambers of commerce across the country continue to call on congressional leaders to support the inclusion of chambers and other 501(c)(6) organizations in federal stimulus programs.
Lawmakers have taken notice, and as Congress drafts the next largescale relief package, and chambers must continue to communicate with their elected officials and local media.
Congressmen Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) continue to provide leadership in the House, following the letter they submitted to Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month. There was also a similar letter in the Senate, led by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) Joe Manchin (D-WV). Many other lawmakers have voiced their support as well, including:
- John Cornyn (R-TX)
- Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA)
- Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
- New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation
- Mike Johnson (R-LA)
- Email me at email@example.com if you have other examples.
We’ve also seen great examples of chambers showcasing the community leadership they are providing during this crisis and raising awareness of how chambers were left out of the Paycheck Protection Program.
- ACCE President & CEO Sheree Anne Kelly: Chambers of commerce are locating economic lifeboats for their members, but they can’t climb in
- Pennsylvania Chambers: 'Mini-news outlets' for businesses: chambers of commerce press for paycheck protections amid COVID-19 pandemic
- New Hampshire Chambers: Chambers of commerce scramble to support small businesses even as they fear for their own survival
- Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce: America's Chambers Of Commerce Need Relief
- Buffalo Niagara Partnership: America's chambers of commerce need relief
Continue to urge your federal lawmakers to support chambers of commerce in the next stimulus package, and please share your stories of community impact using the hashtag #ChamberStrong. Keep up the great work, and let ACCE know how we can support you.