During these tough economic times, we wanted to let our members know that the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Washington are working closely together to get you the most up to date information regarding COVID-19 help. Between the two organizations, we receive information from the Missouri Chamber, St. Louis Regional Chamber, and Missouri Department of Economic Development. In an effort to keep from sending you the same information multiple times, we are collecting everything and sending it in one email.
These organizations also forward us any webinars or conference calls that they are hosting. If they are open to our membership, we will forward them on to you and you are welcome to join. Tomorrow the St. Louis Regional Chamber is hosting a weekly policy briefing webinar that will be available to the public. You can register for tomorrow’s 10:00 a.m. webinar here> https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJQoduysqz0rQ42T6OjQkmgHgHtHGPHv1Q After you have registered once, you will continue to receive information about future meetings. Last week’s proved to be very informative for us and we think it could be beneficial to many businesses.
Currently, we are working on putting together some upcoming conference calls for our members so please be looking for that soon. We are also working on adding a new tab (Coronavirus Resources) to our website where you will be able to find updated information on COVID-19 relief. - https://www.washmochamber.org/
Below is a summary of programs available so far that could be helpful..
Layoff Program Resources. If your business is going to be forced to do some lay-offs from the crisis, we encourage you to connect with the Department of Labor to review options prior to making any announcements within your company.
1. WorkShare Program – allows you to cut hours of employees rather than lay them off. Supplements their decrease in wages with partial unemployment. - https://labor.mo.gov/shared-work
2. Mass Claims Program – allows you to register laid off employees for a mass claim of unemployment benefits for a period of up to 8 weeks as long as you certify to bring employees back after the crisis. Allows employees to collect benefits without having to look for work. – https://labor.mo.gov/mass-claims
Small Business Association Loans – With the declaration of emergency, the SBA is now qualified to issue low interest loans to small businesses (Small Business definitions vary per sector, typically 500 employees and under). This allows businesses to request loans up to $2 million at 3.25% rate and extended pay back periods. We have been advised to apply online for these during off-peak hours in the evening or early in the morning due to the increase in traffic on the site. They can be applied for at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
CARES Act – The Federal Government passed the CARES acts on Friday, March 27th. There are a number of programs included to help individuals and businesses. This does include a Small Business loan called the Payroll Protection Program. This allows companies to apply for potentially forgivable loans to fund up to 2.5 months of payroll and operating expenses. Businesses will have to certify that they will maintain existing payroll to qualify for loan forgiveness. These will be applied for through your normal lender so you will want to contact them. However, as of Monday, March 30, we were told not to expect them to be available for another 2 weeks. Attached to this email are summaries for the new loan program and the CARES Act significance to businesses. You can find more information on the CARES Act and the Family Protection Act on the Chamber website under Coronavirus Resources.
We will continue to update you as we learn information about additional programs. You are all important to us and we want to help in any way that we can.
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
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