• COVID-19 Resource Center

    In support of our business community amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the Grand Island Chamber is providing up-to-date information to combat the ever-changing circumstances businesses and individuals are facing. Last update: 6/02/20  
     
     

                                             

     

  • Back to Business Toolkit NEW
     
    The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce has developed a Back to Business Toolkit to serve as a guide for businesses as you prepare to safely and thoughtfully reopen. The specific recommendations in each category support the overall goal of opening businesses in a way that protects employees and customers from exposure to COVID-19 and helps prevent the virus's spread. More importantly, it provides your customers and employees with a sense of confidence that you and your company are aware of and adhering to best practices as it relates to transacting business during this pandemic.
     
    Because the Directed Health Measures are constantly changing, this toolkit is limited to providing guidance only. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Central District Health Department have the official and up-to-date Directed Health Measures included on their web sites. We will update this Back to Business Toolkit to reflect new DHMs as they are issued.  For a look at Nebraska Directed Health Measures in central Nebraska and by county, visit http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Directed-Health-Measures.aspx
     

    COVID-19 Impact on Nebraska Businesses

    The State of Nebraska, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, the University of Nebraska and several local project partners came together to develop and share the Nebraska Business Response Survey to understand the impact coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the revenue and workforce of organizations across the state and find the best ways to support our business and nonprofit community during this crisis. To view the COVID-19 Impact on Nebraska Businesses Survey Report click here. 

     


    Business Leaders Forum 
    The Chamber hosted several of its business leaders for a forum on April 22nd, 2020 to discuss adapting the current narrative regarding COVID-19 to what recovery looks like for their business. The video below is the discussion in its entirety:
     

     


    FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
    Emergency Business Loan Opportunity for Grand Island NEW
    The City of Grand Island, the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation, and the Central Nebraska Growth Foundation have partnered to offer and administer an emergency business loan program to Grand Island businesses. This program is timely to Grand Island businesses as many of them look to reopen their doors to Grand Island area customers.
     
    Get Nebraska Growing: DED to Co-Administer COVID-19 Relief Grants NEW
    Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) will co-administer four new State grant programs — utilizing $392 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act COVID-19 Relief funding — to help support Nebraska’s economic recovery. 

    The grants are designed to provide assistance to individuals, families and businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and will fill gaps by addressing four critical areas of need:

    • Financial support (i.e., support for operating costs) for small businesses and for livestock producers.
    • Workforce training and retraining for un- and underemployed Nebraskans.
    • Enhanced rural broadband access.
    • Gallup-based leadership training to promote positive outcomes for impacted businesses.

    Click here to learn about these grant programs in detail. To stay up-to-date with the latest news, information and updates, visit and bookmark https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/. For questions, contact the Get Nebraska Growing info line at 855-264-6858.

    CARES ACT 
    On March 27th, 2020 the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was signed into law as a way to help business owners with the current financial hardships they are facing due to COVID-19. Once implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, specific non-profits, and other employers. Visit the SBA website to stay up to date when these programs become available and for additional information. (This guidance has been adapted from the Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act developed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship).
     
     
    Employee Retention Tax Credit
    The CARES Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19.
     
    Families First Coronavirus Response Act
    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act 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. 
     
    Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Employers and Individuals
    If individuals do not have access to sick leave or vacation during a time of quarantine, they may file for unemployment insurance benefits here.
     
    • U.S Department of Labor announces new guidance on unemployment insurance flexibilities
    • Eligibility is on a case by case basis and individuals may or may not be eligible.
    • Historically, individuals had to be able and available to draw unemployment.
    • If extreme measures are needed during a temporary shut-down of a facility, employers should call 402-458-2500 and identify themselves as an employer.
     
    Short-Time Compensation
    In addition, when individuals are working a limited schedule, the following may be of assistance:
     
    • The Department of Labor has a program where an employer can apply for Short-Time Compensation (STC) for their employees to work when needed, but also gives the employees partial unemployment. During the STC, the employer agrees to continue providing benefits to the employees. This website can be found here.
     
    Heartland United Way COVID-19 Compassion Relief Fund
    The Heartland United Way and the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation have partnered to launch a relief fund, the COVID-19 Community Compassion Fund, to help organizations and individuals most in need of assistance. Click here for the full press release.
     
    Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
    Assistance for bartenders is available through the USBG National Charity Foundation. To apply, click here.
     
    Governor Ricketts announces extended tax deadline
    Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Nebraskans will have until July 15, 2020, to pay state income taxes. Click here to read more.
     

    DIRECTED HEALTH MEASURES (DHM) 
    (The following has been adapted from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
    • Gatherings—including gyms and event venues—remain subject to the 10-person limit.
    • Salons, barber shops, massage therapy services, and tattoo parlors can reopen. They are limited to 10 patrons. Both workers and patrons must be masked.
    • Restaurants can reopen for dine-in, up to 50% capacity, with a maximum of six persons per table. Bars remain closed.
    • Childcare facilities can have up to 15 children per room/space, subject to the usual staff-to-child ratios
     
    Hall County is under Pase I of reopening until June 30th, 2020.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
    NEW OSHA's Response to Workplace Safety and Coronvirus Exposure
    As employers seek to protect their workers from exposure to Coronavirus, either while maintaining operations or in anticipation of resuming operations, what is expected of them by OSHA is one area of concern and uncertainty. View full guidance here.
     
    Path Forward
    America is beginning to consider what it will take to restart the economy after a lengthy shutdown. It’s increasingly clear that the most likely approach is a gradual, phased reopening linked to regional conditions. But any effort to bring millions of people back to work comes with lots of big, complicated questions.
     
    Path Forward, a new program from the U.S. Chamber Foundation, is designed to help business and community leaders find the answers they need to develop a responsible reopening strategy.
     
    NRG Media Free Announcements
    During this difficult time, NRG Media is offering free announcements to local small businesses about what they are doing now to serve their customer and communities. Click here for additional information. 
     
    Can't meet face to face?
    Consider hosting your meeting virtually using the free version of:
    • Zoom
    • GoTo Meeting
    • JoinMe
    • Skype
    • Cisco 
     
    Governor Ricketts Encourages Business Flexibility
    Governor Pete Ricketts hosted a Facebook Live event to discuss ideas on flexibly continuing business operations during the COVID-19 outbreak. He offered these flexibility ideas:
    • Fitness centers are offering virtual classes.  YMCA has classes available on a YouTube channel.  Other gyms are offering free classes on demand. Gyms could also send an instructor to provide in-home classes to groups of 10 or less.
    • Large stores have marked off where customers should stand while waiting to checkout.  This helps to maintain the recommended social distance between customers.
    • Medical clinics are having patients check-in from the parking lot and wait in their vehicles for their appointment.  This prevents patients from being bunched together in a waiting room.
    • Restaurants are offering gift cards with more value than the purchase price while specifying that the cards must be used at a later date.  For instance, they’re selling $75 gift cards for only $50, provided that the cards are used after June 1, 2020.  This is helping their cash flow during the pandemic.
    More business flexibility ideas can be found here.
     
    Spectrum offers assistance to students, communities
    We will offer free access to Spectrum broadband and WiFi for new K-12 and college student households that our network currently passes for the next 60 days. We'll open our WiFi hotspots across our footprint for public use. We'll continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, our high-speed broadband program to eligible low-income households.
     
    Walmart to hire temp workers
    If anyone has been laid off from their job and needs something temporarily, Walmart South is hiring. If interested, ask for personnel at 308-381-4970.
     
    Resources for Hall County
  • COVID-19 Business Resource Update
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    Social Media Examples/Tools 
    Feel free to download and use examples for your business needs. 
  • COVID-19 Business Resource Update from March 26th

    Click here for the PowerPoint presentation from the COVID-19 Business Resource Update.