In an effort to keep our members informed on the latest news, resources, and information during this unprecedented time, the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Greater Houston Partnership, is making access to what you need to know quick and simple. If you want to share resources that you have found particularly helpful to you or your business, please email us at  melissa@deerparkchamber.org

Important information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Updated 3/31/2020

The goal of the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce is to keep our members informed especially during these trying times that we are now experiencing.

To better understand the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and how it impacts you and your business, we encourage you to review the following summary provided by the US Chamber of Commerce. This summary breaks down the final stimulus package and provides analysis for the business community. Links to the final bill text are included in the summary.

Additionally, The US Chamber reports;

The CARES Act has approved $350 billion in emergency loans for small businesses to help them keep workers employed. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some—or possibly any—of the loan. We encourage you to utilize the U.S. Chamber’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist to help answer common questions and navigate the process.

Finally, The Deer Park Chamber of Commerce will be working with our friends at the SBDC to provide you with additional information and resources.

Please do NOT hesitate to contact our office at 281-479-1559 for assistance in answering any of your questions or concerns. If we do not know the answer directly, we will work to find someone that does.

Stay Home, Work Safe Order – Updated 3/24/2020

In light of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s recent “Stay Home, Work Safe Order”, please be informed of the following information:
Please stay home unless your business falls under the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers guidelines as set out by CISA.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released official guidance from the President regarding the Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19. This guidance states that:
  • “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”
The U.S. Chamber had sent a letter to President Trump recommending that the administration offer additional guidance on recent quarantine orders and mandatory business closures to clarify “essential infrastructure” and “essential businesses and services.” For more information on the Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19, please click here.
And, remember, it is absolutely essential to maintain social distancing at all times.

Latest News – Updated 3/23/2020

Houston Chronicle:  Trump tightens border controls
Houston Public Media:  Red White & Blue discusses COVID-19
Houston Chronicle:  U.S. fuel demand likely to plunge
Houston Chronicle:  Coronavirus tracker

Government Response – Updated 3/23/2020

All levels of government continue to focus on strategies to contain COVID-19.
Federal
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the Senate Republican proposal for a phase 3 coronavirus economic relief package last week. The bill includes direct cash payments to families, payments to small businesses, loans to industries, and increased funding for the healthcare industry.
    • Senate Democrats blocked the bill on Sunday. Senators voted 47-47 on advancing a “shell bill” which would have acted as a placeholder for the actual content of the stimulus package to be added to later. The vote fell short of the 3/5th threshold needed to move forward.
    • Senate Democrats opposed key provisions of the proposal including the focus on corporate “bail outs” and what they claim is a walk back of expanding unemployment insurance.
State
    • Governor Abbot waived several regulations to expand Texas’ active nursing workforce:
    • Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam;
    • Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam;
    • Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam.
    • Governor Abbott issued an executive order calling all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient.
    • The Governor also announced the creation of a temporary Supply Chain Strike Force, which will be tasked with guiding collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure health care facilities have the supplies and resources they need to respond to COVID-19.
Local
    • The Houston Health Department and local medical community, including members of the Texas Medical Center, opened the first of four free COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites on Friday for high-risk symptomatic people. The first testing site currently has the capacity to test 160 people daily. Testing opened to healthcare providers and first responders experiencing symptoms on Friday. On, Saturday, March 21, people 65 and older with symptoms, including fever, were tested. After Saturday, anyone meeting high-risk testing criteria could seek an evaluation. The public-private partnership offering the tests includes TMC institutions – Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann and CHI St. Luke’s Health, and HCA Houston Healthcare.
    • Read Full Report

Data & Analysis – Updated 3/23/2020

Greater Houston Partnership:  Special Edition of Bayou Business Download
In this episode Partnership Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowksi talks about the impact we are already seeing from COVID-19 and what the future may hold for the region. Listen Now

Resources – Updated 3/23/2020

SBA

SBA is coordinating with Texas Department of Emergency Management and is processing Texas’ SBA Disaster Request for the State of Texas. Once the SBA declaration for Texas is finalized at  disasterloan.sba/Declarations , we are directing all businesses that have significant economic injury to  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/  to begin the registration and application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The SBA Texas Declaration will be posted once it is finalized, allowing businesses to complete their loan application.
Any such EIDL assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the COVID-19. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans  are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible. We will continue to assist small businesses through our District Office and Resource Partners, including:  Small Business Development Centers ,  SCORE Mentors , and the  WBEA Women’s Business Center .