Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce Response

The Greater Bryant Chamber of Commerce is focused on supporting all businesses in our community, particularly as they navigate the weeks and months ahead. COVID-19 will continue to have an impact on our region, and your chamber is working with local, state and federal officials to help businesses take advantage of assistance and advice which has been committed at various levels. As we get more information, we will continue to update this page.

Your chamber team is still available to you and the office remains open; please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance to you by calling 501.847-4702

Arkansas Department of Health Guidance for Employers

If any of your employees are being monitored due to their possible exposure to coronavirus disease 2019, also referred to as COVID-19, they will be placed under home self-quarantine by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) for 14 days after leaving an area of concern. The areas of concern include any country with a Level 2 or higher travel advisory. If this occurs, ADH will provide the person with a letter, and they have the option of requesting a letter be provided to you as well. This letter provides additional information regarding the quarantine, including the date the employee can return to work.

During this time, the person is expected to stay home during the entire 14-day period and not leave for any reason, except to seek any needed medical care.

If the employee does not develop symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the end of the self-quarantine period, they will be free to resume normal activities, including school or work. They will also receive a letter stating they have completed the home quarantine period.

Please call the Arkansas Department of Health at 800.803.7847 if you have any questions.

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recommended strategies for employers to use now for any infectious disease:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps

See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19 by clicking here.

Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report. For U.S. information, visit CDC’s COVID-19 in the U.S. This following location list is found here.

Here is a link CDC on keeping workplaces, homes, schools or commercial spaces safe – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf

Guidance for Employers from U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible: Consistent with public health guidance, permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member, and that employees are aware of these policies. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employees should notify their supervisor if they are sick and won’t be coming into the office.

Local decision making: Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions based on the conditions in each locality.

Employee travel: Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a health care provider for advice if needed.

Separate sick employees: CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.

Social distancing: Plan to minimize exposure between healthy employees and also between those employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.

Workplace hygiene: Routinely clean all frequently-touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly-used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.

For more information, click: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/guidance_for_employers_to_plan_and_respond_to_coronavirus.pdf

Coronavirus Toolkit
The U.S. Chamber has created a toolkit to share recommendations for businesses and workers across the country from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We continue to encourage Arkansas businesses to follow data-based guidance from the CDC and state and local officials. The toolkit has shareable graphics based on the CDC’s latest guidance for businesses and employees to share on social media, websites and other channels. The toolkit can be found here.
Customizable: Coronavirus Flyer
As you know, the business community plays a vital role in maintaining the health of their communities, and now is the time for businesses to demonstrate how they are helping contain the coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations. This is important to instill a sense of calm and confidence. To help you communicate the measures you are taking to ensure the safety of your community, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a customizable flyer to display in your place of business. You may access it by clicking here using Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download available at this link).

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

UAMS has a website offering free online screening here: https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/.

Additionally, they are offering drive-thru triage on their main campus at the corner of Shuffield and Jack Stephens Drive: https://uamshealth.com/location/covid-19-drive-thru-screening/

Small Business Resources

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has been made available to eligible businesses and private nonprofits that were impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private nonprofit organizations in designated counties of the state (county by county). SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the State to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance.

These working capital loans of up to $2 million can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

In order to receive an economic injury declaration, Arkansas must show that small businesses within individual counties have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster, and are in need of financial assistance not otherwise available on reasonable terms. The method to determine impacts of the disaster is through the collection of Economic Injury Disaster Loan worksheets. These worksheets provide an estimated economic impact of each business affected.

The Estimated Adverse Economic Impact Section of the Economic Injury Worksheet needs to be fully completed, with all questions answered regarding business revenues, whether there was any business interruption insurance, as well as the comments section. The comments section should indicate that the economic impacts are a direct result of COVID-19. The established incident start date is January 31, 2020. The completion of this worksheet is not an application for an SBA loan; however, the completion and submittal of the worksheet to the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management will assist the state in receiving a declaration from SBA.

Please return the completed form to the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management at businesscovid19@adem.arkansas.gov. The timely submission of the worksheets will assist in a timely SBA declaration of each county. Once a declaration is made for designated areas within the state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on the SBA and ADEM websites. Please send any questions and completed worksheets you may have to businesscovid19@adem.arkansas.gov

Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center (ASBTDC)
ASBTDC is gearing up to be set up as a virtual emergency site to help with disaster relief lending. For more information on ASTBC, please see http://asbtdc.org/covid-19-resources where they will be putting more information disaster funding assistance. You can also call ASBTDC at 1-800-862-2040 or e-mail at leadcenter@asbtdc.org

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

OSHA – Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division – FLSA and FLMA Guidance here.

U.S. EEOC Guidance here.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYERS here

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Health, Safety and Insurance Considerations here.

An Employer’s Guide: Ten Considerations to Support Your Workforce here.

COVID-19 and Paid Leave: Three Scenarios to Plan For here.

The Workers Compensation Impacts of 2019 Coronavirus here

Payroll Tax Relief https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Office of Senator Tom Cotton https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1346