• Employer Resource Guide

    Employer Resource Guide

    COVID-19 Employer Resource Guide
    Your Anderson Chamber is sensitive to how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts both business and community. Without a doubt, we are in uncharted waters. It is critical we work together to communicate a clear message - ANDERSON is OPEN for Business! The way we deliver may look differently, yet our doors are OPEN.
    The best way to navigate the rocky waters is through communication and facts, not fear nor panic. As such, we plan to do our part to keep an open line of communication to you about the adjustments we are making AND commit to keeping you informed on the latest business-based impacts that could prove helpful to your business and our community. We understand that there is a lot of information flow right now and you need a trusted source to share the facts, as they are available. Our commitment is to share as much information as possible and provide you with a one-stop well sourced information desk at COVID-19. 
    First, Your Business.
    - We have created a community post on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAreaChamber/?eid=ARAXMRK9xl4oaHJMu4nckCb1mjsIC-DnG4J4kvOE7iXWFq2wbnX1hovskiWlwcICJyEOjS6_EYISafY4 where we are continually adding resources as part of our commitment to be your partner in managing this challenge. On the landing page, we are also inviting you to send us your best practices so we can post them on our website as a valuable resource to others.
    - We are planning a webinar series addressing key concerns. Examples include: Ask the Attorney, Ask the Doctor, Ask the SBDC, etc. Information will be promoted to our members through email and our latest weekly newsletters.
    - We are asking you to leverage our social media support by tagging the @AndersonAreaChamber page on FB; https://www.facebook.com/AndersonAreaChamber/. We are seeking best practices on pandemic preparedness, business interruption plans, and how your business is modifying delivering products and services. 
    - We are asking you to send us your press releases to Britton Rodgers, brodgers@andersonscchamber.com. She will post them on our website.
    Second, the Community.
    We fully recognize that this unfolding situation has everyone feeling anxious. Yet, again, I ask that you be guided by facts and do your part to promote calm and, quite frankly, commerce.
    We are all in this together and that fact alone is what gives me confidence in what I believe is Anderson County's unique ability to handle these circumstances. Start with you. Use common sense when dealing with crowds, wash your hands and get some sleep. Stay healthy.
    Third, YOUR Anderson Chamber.
    - Your Anderson Chamber will follow the procedures outlined by our government leaders. During this new normal, we have made the decision to postpone our Annual Meeting Luncheon and will get back with you on the date as things progress. For updated information on our events, please visit: https://www.andersonscchamber.com/events/calendarcatgid/6
    - Given the uncertain timeframe of concern, we are exploring options for all future events including postponements, on-line opportunities or cancellations. We are very proud of the quality of content in our 2020 programming line-up and are working to do everything we can to deliver it to you in a traditional or new platform.
    - For as long as the COVID-19 concerns last, our newsletter weekly updates will continue and will have the latest news and business-based resources and tips included in them. If you have employees you want to ensure receive these communications, please contact Britton Rodgers at brodgers@andersonscchamber.com
    Once you're taking care of yourself, take a moment to think of other businesses that need your ongoing support. We simply cannot let fear get in the way of commerce. If ever there was a time for the business community to think about the community's business, now is that time! Maybe you don't want to go out to dinner, but how about grabbing some take-out from that same small business that needs your support? Before you cut back on anyone's hours, take a moment to think about a project you've been meaning to get at for years and assign it to that employee. Maybe instead of hosting that staff party, you have the caterer make to-go lunches/dinners for your employees to enjoy at home? In other words, please be safe; but please don't shut down. You and our entire community will be the better for it.
    We will get through this together and we will return to normal soon. In the meantime, let's take care of ourselves and let's help each other, just as we always do!
    National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SCDHEC are also helpful resources with the latest information.

    Best Practices for Prevention: 
    Follow the Three P’s: prevent, plan and practice. 
    Most important is clear and constant communication to employees on how to prevent illness. Businesses large and small can be effective by simply posting and communicating vital information, updates, and reminders at work. Businesses can access those informational signs through the web page that links to the CDC, as well as other national and local resources.
    Please encourage employees to implement best health practices to prevent workplace exposure, including:

    • Good handwashing (soap and water for at least 20 seconds)
    • Covering your cough and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Regular use of tissues and hand sanitizer
    • Stay home if you or a family member is sick
    • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects regularly
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices before any international travel
    Those who believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus or who are not feeling well should remain at home, except to receive health care; call the doctor to describe symptoms and receive instructions; wear a facemask in public and among household companions; clean all high touch surfaces; and confirm illness and contagion have passed before returning to work or public engagement. Learn more steps here

    Preparing your Business
    Businesses, no matter their size, can significantly influence our community's readiness, awareness, resources, and engagement against the spread of the coronavirus.  This begins with organizational preparedness, including risk management teams and contingency plans.  

    Employers should prepare and socialize an Outbreak Response Plan and:
    • Ensure the plan is flexible and involves employees in development and review.
    • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using the plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
    • Share the plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available.
    • Share best practices with other businesses in the community.

    Corporate Policy Recommendations
    The United States Department of Health and Human Services, along with the CDC, recommends that companies:
    • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Speak with vendors that provide contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
    According to OSHA, the Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies, and their effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Learn more here. 
    For more information, view the U.S. Chamber’s “Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)” PDF.
    Emergency Remote-Work Plans
    Harvard Business Review outlines 5 recommendations in the article, “What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?”:
    1. Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.
    2. Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.
    3. Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption.
    4. Set up a communications protocol in advance.
    5. Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.

    Read more here.
    Small Business Support
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
    Printable Materials and Additional Resources

    National Association of Manufacturers: Coronavirus Resources
    CDC – What You Need to Know
    CDC – What to Do If You are Sick
    CDC – Stop the Spread of Germs
    U.S. Chamber – Guidance for Employers
    Destinations International: Coronavirus Travel Industry Resource Page
    OSHA - Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

    Below is information provided by Congressman Jeff Duncan's Office and his team.  Thank you! 

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center

    I am here to answer questions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide critical resources to constituents. The most important thing to remember – stay informed!
    Below are links to state and federal government agency websites that can provide the best information possible as our nation combats the coronavirus outbreak.  
    South Carolina Resources
    Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC):
    • DHEC emphasizes the importance of practicing disease prevention measures and following recommendations for social distancing to protect the health and safety of all South Carolinians: This includes: Washing your hand frequently, covering your cough, staying home when you’re sick, and appropriately disposing tissues and other items that you've sneezed or coughed into. 
    • Visit DHEC’s coronavirus webpage HERE
    • DHEC’s Care Line is available to help: 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. 
    Free Telehealth Services:
    • The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and PRISMA Health are providing FREE telehealth coronavirus screenings to ALL South Carolinians. 
    • If you are experiencing symptoms, you can visit MUSC’s website HEREor PRISMA Health’s website HERE to be screened without having to leave your home. 
    • The applications are FREE. Just use the code COVID19 at either checkout. 
    Small Businesses in South Carolina
    In response to a request from Governor Henry McMaster for a disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for South Carolina small businesses suffering substantial economic injury resulting from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of South Carolina. Small businesses and non-profit organizations that have been financially impacted as a direct result of COVID-19 may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. 
    The application and additional information is available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. The deadline to return Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications is December 21, 2020.
    Federal Resources
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): What you should know from CDC: Information for Businesses: Information for Travel and Transportation: Information for Healthcare Providers, First Responders, and Research Facilities: Information for Families and Households: Information for Schools and Childcare Providers: Information for Community Events and Gatherings: Information for Military Response: Update from Congressman Jeff Duncan
    Duncan Supports Coronavirus Economic Rescue & Recovery 
    Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) released the following statement on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the economic rescue and recovery package for the American people. 
    “Our nation and world have been turned upside-down in an unprecedented way by the global coronavirus pandemic. Individuals, families, and businesses have been severely impacted physically and financially from the outbreak, causing economic activity to halt after a record-breaking economy under the Trump Administration.  
    “This coronavirus rescue and recovery package will help bring stability back to the moms and dads out of work, to the main street businesses that are the backbone of our economy, to the manufacturers and companies that produce to meet our needs, and importantly to our health care systems that we rely on. This swift action will empower families, job creators, and innovators to push through the devastation and get back on their feet. 
    “This legislation is not perfect. With needing 60 votes in the Senate and with Democrats in control of the House, there had to be compromises. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a penny for any project that wasn’t absolutely necessary. But, I believe those amounts are small compared to the financial impact this virus is causing to our nation’s GDP. There is a cost of doing nothing.  
    “Congressional Republicans did, however, fight to make sure the legislation was better than the alternative. We fought hard to ensure Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s version of the bill was dead on arrival in the Senate. We successfully blocked her leftist wish list so the final legislation contains no abortion funding, Green New Deal, amnesty, Second Amendment restrictions, and much more. She should be ashamed of trying to take advantage of a national emergency in order to push her radical agenda on America. I’m glad she was unsuccessful. 
    “COVID-19 is novel, which is why it is wreaking havoc on our nation and world. We don’t know much about it yet. Unlike the financial crisis of 2008, the current state of our economy is caused by this new global health threat – not by fraudulent or irresponsible business practices. Families and businesses across our country are suffering through no fault of their own.
    “America is hurting right now, but America is resilient and will overcome any challenge. We will get through this together as a nation and come out stronger than ever before. Please keep those impacted by the coronavirus in your prayers as we all do our part to combat this economic and public health threat to our country.” 
    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act – Major Provisions
    • Provides direct payments to qualified individuals with checks of $1,200 per adult, and $500 per child available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 individual/$112,500 head of household/$150,000 filing jointly. Payments are phased out above those thresholds until it is phased out completely for single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers.
    • If you are on Social Security and didn’t make enough money to file a tax return, you can file a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, a Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement with the IRS to receive the recovery check.
    • Significantly boosts unemployment insurance benefits, expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay, and will give Americans four months-worth of their income if they are furloughed or lose their job due to COVID-19. Creates an employee retention tax credit to incentivize businesses to keep workers on payroll during the crisis.
    • $150 billion through a Coronavirus Relief Fund for making payments to States, Tribal governments, and units of local government.
    • $100 billion for hospitals and providers.
    • $19 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs to support our veterans.
    • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts.
    • $11 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for the manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other medical or preparedness needs.
    • $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    • $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to speed getting treatments to the market.
    • $17 billion in small business debt relief.
    • $16 billion for personal protection equipment (PPE), ventilators, and medical supplies.
    • $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans via the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. These resources will allow 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses who maintain their payrolls.
    • $45 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund.
    • Students can defer student loan payments for 6 months.
    • Speeds the development of coronavirus vaccines and ensures free tests.
    Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) resources from the U.S. Department of Labor – Wage and Hour Division. Stay safe and have a good week.COVID-19 and the American Workplace

    See Temporary Rule (FFCRA regulations) link; recently added questions and answers (now 79); posters in English, Spanish, and Korean; and links to a webinar recording and slides. 
    FFCRA National Online Dialogue
    The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue, now extended until close of business on April 10, 2020, to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect retail workers from exposure to coronavirus.
    Safety measures employers can implement to protect employees working in pharmacies, supermarkets, big box stores and other retail establishments include:
    §  Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus;
    §  Using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up;
    §  Recommending that workers wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus; and 
    §  Practicing sensible social distancing, which could include opening only every other cash register, temporarily moving workstations to create more distance and installing plexiglass partitions between workstations.
    The new alert is available for download at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3996.pdf.
    In addition, OSHA issued a reminder to employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe or unhealthful working conditions during COVID-19. OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage provides valuable resources on worker rights, including fact sheets on whistleblower protections for employees in various industries and frequently asked questions.
    For more information about COVID-19, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For department resources on COVID-19, please visit: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

    More than 2 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in the United States.  Currently, about 118,000 to 120,000 people are being tested per day.
    President Trump announced that, through the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, 19 therapies and treatments are now being tested, and 26 more are in active planning for clinical trials.
    Vice President Pence announced that $125 billion in forgivable loans have been approved through the Paycheck Protection Program.
    6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week; in total, more than 16 million people have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks. (Here)
    The Federal Reserve announced that it will take actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy, including bolstering the effectiveness of the Paycheck Protection Program by supplying liquidity to participating financial institutions, purchasing up to $600 billion in loans through the Main Street Lending Program, offering up to $500 billion in lending to states and municipalities, and more. (Here)
    The Department of Education announced that more than $6 billion will be distributed immediately to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students.  The funding is available through the CARES Act.  (Here)
    HHS and FEMA released information regarding the optional transition of federal community-based testing sites to state management.  Under state control, CBTS sites would still receive technical assistance from the federal government and be able to request supplies through the normal FEMA systems.  (Here)
    NIH began a trial today to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19, with the first participants now enrolled in Tennessee.  (Here)
    An NIAID-funded research team developed a microneedle vaccine candidate for the virus that causes COVID-19.  If successful, the components of the experimental vaccine could be made quickly and at large-scale.  The final product also doesn’t require refrigeration.  The research team hopes to launch a phase 1 trial within the next several months.  (Here)
    CMS temporarily suspended a number of rules so that health care practitioners can be hired quickly and perform work to the fullest extent of their licenses, including that doctors can directly care for patients at rural hospitals, across state lines if necessary, without having to be physically present, nurse practitioners may perform some medical exams on Medicare patients at skilled nursing facilities, and more.  (Here
    CMS has delivered more than $51 billion in accelerated/advance payment program requests.  CMS has approved over 21,000 of the 32,000 requests it has received from providers and suppliers seeking accelerated and advance payments.  (Here)
    CDC updated guidance on safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  (Here)
    FDA issued information and best practices for retail food stores, restaurants, and pick-up and delivery services to protect both workers and customers.  (Here)
    HHS Office of Civil Rights announced that it will exercise enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA Rules against covered entities or business associates in connection with the good faith participation in the operation of COVID-19 testing sites during the public health emergency.  (Here)
    Pfizer announced that it has identified a potential antiviral to combat COVID-19; the potential therapeutic blocks a key enzyme viruses need to replicate.  (Here)

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