The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce will continue to bring you updated and accurate information.
We pledge to be your information partner, allowing you more time to focus on the decisions facing your business. Please continue to visit our website for small business assistance information, FREE job bank, and a continuously updated list of business closures/change of operations.
MONDAY, AUGUST 10 | Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Now, more than ever, business owners face unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath are going to continue to cause major disruptions for businesses across the country and change consumer buying behavior indefinitely.
It is in these moments of uncertainty and rapid change when a digital marketing strategy is vital. This is a pivotal time to invest your energy and efforts into building a digital marketing strategy that can support your business now and prepare you for acceleration in the future.
What you will learn:
•How internet traffic during quarantine is impacting marketing for small businesses
•Your digital marketing first steps
•The best Google features you should use
•Successful social media tips
As time allows, additional questions may be posed using the chat feature of this online presentation.
With nearly 10 years of online marketing experience, Jon is very knowledgeable about how to leverage the internet and social media to improve how your business shows up online to attract more customers. He will also share successful strategies to gain more consumer reviews and best practices on how to respond, even if they are not all positive.
This workshop will be offered via the Zoom online platform. Registrants will receive log-in credentials by email, so it is important to provide a frequently-monitored and accurate email address at the time of registration and payment.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll.
CLICK HERE to review the U.S. Chamber of Commerce July 2020 Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll.
Protecting our community is a language we can all speak! Soon, Chamber members will be seeing a local public health campaign developed by the Fredericksburg Convention & Visitor Bureau, in partnership with the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce and Gillespie County Economic Development Commission.
The PROTECT FBG flyer is available to download for display in your business, along with social media graphics and other resources that will be available soon.
The Fredericksburg Chamber thanks Amanda Koone and Sean Doerre, who lead the Communications Department at the FCVB for coordinating the campaign creative theme, along with Trish Rawls with Creative Noggin, the CVB's advertising agency.
EARLY VOTING EXTENDED
Governor Greg Abbott has extended the early voting period for the November 3rd Election by nearly a week. Early voting by personal appearance will begin on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and continue through Friday, October 30, 2020. He also expanded the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office, allowing such delivery prior to as well as on Election Day.
Does your business need to expand its outdoor service area to safely accommodate customers? TABC has you covered! Check out this simple process to expand your licensed premises: https://buff.ly/3911ALg
Protect your workplace from the spread of COVID-19. The US Chamber of Commerce offers this sample employee screening questionnaire.
July 4, 2020
An extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was signed into law today. The bill extends the deadline for businesses to apply for PPP loans until Aug. 8. The program, set up to assist businesses impacted by closures related to the coronavirus pandemic, had expired on Tuesday night with roughly $130 billion left unused.
GOVERNOR ABBOTT ISSUES FACE COVERING ORDER & CHANGES OUTDOOR GATHERING RULES
JULY 2, 2020
This afternoon, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring all persons in Texas to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. This will include Gillespie County as its case count exceeds this threshold. The order goes into effect at NOON on Friday, July 3.
Exceptions to the order include:
1. any person younger than 10 years of age;
2. any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
3. any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
4. any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;
5. any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
6. any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;
7. any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;
8. any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
9. any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
10. any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or
11. any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.
NOT excepted from this face-covering requirement is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household.
Following a verbal or written warning (from local law enforcement or other local officials, as appropriate) for a first-time violator of this face covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.
The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.
CITY OF FREDERICKSBURG HEALTH & SAFETY POLICY
JUNE 29, 2020
A Supplemental Order relating to the mandatory wearing of face coverings at commercial establishments open to the public has been issued by Mayor Gary Neffendorf, effective immediately.
The order requires that "all commercial entities operating in the city limits of the City of Fredericksburg, that provide goods or services directly to the public, must develop and implement a health and safety policy. The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees and visitors to the commercial entity's business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public and where six feet of separation is not feasible. The Health and Safety Policy required to be developed and implemented by this emergency order may also include the implementation of additional mitigating measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, such as temperature checks or health screenings. The Health and Safety Policy required to be developed and implemented by this emergency order may allow an exception to the face covering requirement i) when wearing a face covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk; ii) during the time period in which a person is consuming food or drink; and iii) for persons performing music, theatre, and other similar activities for a live audience. Commercial entities must post the Health and Safety Policy required by this emergency order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. Facilities owned or leased by the State of Texas, facilities owned or leased by a political subdivision of the State of Texas, and facilities subject to regulation by the Texas Racing Commission are not considered commercial entities under this Order. Failure to develop and implement the Health and Safety Policy required by this emergency order within seven calendar days following the effective date of this Order (by 11:59 p.m. on July 6, 2020), is an offense punishable under by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for each day the violation occurs, and may be subject to regulatory enforcement."
NOTE: While the ordinance is effectively immediately, businesses have until Monday, July 6 to develop and implement a Health & Safety Plan. Please click below to view the entire Supplemental Order for full details and enforcement information.
TABC Industry Notice regarding GA-28, clarifying scope of the order to include taprooms and tasting rooms at wineries, breweries and distilleries. However, they may still conduct sales to-go and for delivery.
June 27, 2020 - Executive Order and New Industry Notice
Under a new executive order from Gov. Abbott:
Bars were required to close by noon on June 26, as outlined in the news release linked below.
Note: This includes taprooms and tasting rooms at wineries, breweries and distilleries.
CLICK HERE for the news release
If you, or someone you know, is looking for work, here are a few resources to help in your search
All the resources a job-seeker needs, right here at home! This local program provides job counseling, resume and job application assistance, training programs and more.
This site includes free assessment tools to help you understand what career paths may best align with your interests, skills and education. It also includes comparative data about more than 1,000 types of jobs and educational resources to help you improve your skill set.
This 13-county workforce board, paid for by employment taxes, provides a wide assortment of employment services, including skills assessment and training, employer grants for worker skills development, Veteran's services, childcare assistance and more. There is a one-stop office located in Kerrville and scheduled coverage in Fredericksburg.
Texas' state-wide job posting site, which can be sorted by job type and geography. As of today, there are 383 jobs listed within a ten-mile radius of Fredericksburg.
MAXIMIZING PPP LOAN FORGIVENESS
With the clock ticking, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients look to receiving the maximum about of loan forgiveness. Learn how to reduce the impact of rehiring challenges, take advantage of the safe harbor period and keep the necessary records in this less than 30 minute video, released by the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
MAIN STREET LENDING PROGRAM
As a result of the Coronavirus Aid,
Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Federal Reserve has created the Main Street Lending Program to provide a total of $600 billion in financing for small and
While the program’s start date has yet to be announced, here’s what you need to know to check eligibility and get ready to apply. Businesses that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan ARE also eligible for this program.
TEMPORARY PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY
In order to provide increased liquidity during the COVID-19 crisis, The CARES Act provides a temporary payroll tax holiday. This is an option for employers to defer certain payroll taxes due between the enactment of the CARES Act and December 31, 2020.
Important to Note:
– This credit is not available to any employer who takes a loan under the Payroll Protection Loan Program.
– Applicable payroll taxes are limited to the 6.2% employer Social Security tax liability.
Deferment Dates – 50% of the applicable taxes are due December 31, 2021 with the remaining 50% of the amount due on December 31, 2022.
Self-Employed – Additionally, self-employed taxpayers can defer up to 50% of any related Self-Employment tax due between the enactment of the CARES Act and December 31, 2020. The deferment includes any estimated tax payments, as no estimated tax penalty will be assessed on these amounts.
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which went into effect on April 1, created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government.
The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire on December 31. Both programs are in addition to any leave you already offer.
The key numbers to remember with these paid leave programs are 500 and 50.
• If you have fewer than 500 employees, your business is required to provide paid leave under both programs
• If you have fewer than 50 employees, though, you may be exempted from the requirement to provide leave under both programs
The link below will take you to a simple employer's guide, produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to help you determine how to administer the provisions of Families First for your specific business.
Employers are required to display the Department of Labor Employee Rights poster for this program in the workplace.
CLICK HERE to download the Employers Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs
Below, please find some relevant information and resources with more to come as the Chamber's Workforce Development Committee develops initiatives around these concerns.
POST YOUR JOB
HIRING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal income tax benefit administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for employers who hire individuals from specified target populations. WOTC reduces a business’s federal tax liability, serving as an incentive to select job candidates who may be disadvantaged in their efforts to find employment.
The main objective of this program is to enable individuals to become employed, earn a steady income and become contributing taxpayers. WOTC joins other workforce programs that help provide incentives for workplace diversity and improve access to good jobs for American workers.
GUIDANCE FOR REFUSAL TO WORK
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) issued guidance on April 30,2020 to unemployment claimants concerning their continued eligibility for unemployment benefits (UI) should they refuse rehire.
Each UI benefits case is currently evaluated on an individual basis. However, because of the COVID-19 emergency, the following are reasons benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work.
Reason for refusal:
People 65 years or older, and/or people with medical issues, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID‑19. (Source: DSHS website)
Household member at high risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 (source DSHS website).
Diagnosed with COVID - the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
Family member with COVID - anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
Quarantined – individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
Child care – Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.
Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by the Texas Workforce Commission based on individual circumstances.
The Texas Workforce Commission requires employers to report workers who refuse an offer to return to work at the same position level and wage, using this electronic form.
If you have lost your healthcare coverage due to
COVID-19, this backgrounder by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides options for consideration. (available in English and Spanish)
FARM AND RANCH ASSISTANCE ENROLLMENT
Farmers and ranchers can begin enrolling for $16 billion in direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
Signup has begun at local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. CFAP will provide direct relief to farmers and ranchers who have suffered a 5 percent or greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face additional significant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production and disruptions to shipping patterns and the orderly marketing of commodities.
GOVERNOR ISSUES NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER
JUNE 26, 2020
Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.
The order includes the following:
All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”