Coronavirus Resources for Employers

Updated 7/13/2021 at 8:45 a.m. Updates in bold

We appreciate the ongoing support of all of our members, including our Visionary Members: Bloomsburg University, First Columbia Bank & Trust, First Keystone Community Bank, Geisinger, Kawneer, PPL Electric Utilities, USG, & SEKISUI KYDEX
 

Business Operations

All mitigation orders for businesses except masking were lifted on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st.  

Restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, theaters, event venues, nightclubs, and other businesses can operate at 100% capacity, and crowd-size limits are lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The order requiring universal face coverings was lifted statewide at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 28.  

The department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidance for wearing a mask where required by law, rule, and regulations, including healthcare, local business and workplace guidance. For the protection of themselves and others, individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or are partially vaccinated are still encouraged to wear a mask when in public. The CDC requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. In addition, all individuals should still follow guidance at workplaces, local businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, prisons, and shelters. 

The Chamber of Commerce is recommending that employers continue following CDC guidance, which includes masks for unvaccinated individuals.

 


Vaccination and Testing

 

Vaccination

The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Geisinger in encouraging eligible individuals to get vaccinated. Resources to help employers communicate with their employees about vaccination are available from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, provides recommendations for developing a workplace vaccination strategy.

Vaccine Distribution

Geisinger is offering vaccines to anyone age 12 or older either by appointment or through a walk-in clinic. Click here for information. 

Click here to find vaccination sites statewide. 

Columbia County EMA is assisting Susquehanna Valley Medical Specialties with COVID-19 vaccination appointments.  Those eligible should call 570-389-5735, Monday through Friday only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Provide name, date of birth, address and phone number.  Someone from Susquehanna Valley Medical Specialties will call back to schedule an appointment. The clinic expects to experience a large volume of inquiries and asks callers to allow ample time for a call back. Callers who are not contacted within 72 hours are asked to call again. Another way to schedule an appointment time for their vaccination, patients simply need to log on to our website at svmedspec.com and click on our Covid-19 vaccination link to enter their contact information.

Individuals needing a ride to a vaccination appointment can call 1-800-632-9063 to schedule a free ride with rabbittransit.

Testing

Geisinger offers both symptomatic testing and testing for travel.  Visit here for details.

If you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, contact your physician for a referral to a testing site.


Financial Assistance

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled an updated guide for the latest Federal programs. 

Federal programs

– The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is now closed. Applications are no longer being accepted.

– The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Small businesses and nonprofit organizations may qualify for EIDL loans with a 3.75% fixed rate for companies and a 2.75% fixed rate for nonprofits. Businesses can apply directly with the SBA for EIDL loans.

Businesses needing assistance in applying for an SBA loan can contact the Small Business Development Center network.

Columbia & Luzerne County businesses – wilkes.edu/sbdc
Montour County businesses – bucknell.edu/sbdc

The Employee Retention Credit is extended through December 31, 2021. The new credit, beginning January 1, is 70% on $10,000 in wages per quarter (or a maximum $28,000 per employee through December 31, 2021).

The new law expands eligibility to include employers who experienced a decline of more than 20% in a qualifying quarter.

Employers can also apply to the PPP program and take advantage of the tax credit program, provided the same wages are not used.

The IRS has issued updated guidance on utilizing ERC.

The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) grant program provides assistance to live venues that were harmed by COVID-19 restrictions. The SVO grant program will distribute $16 billion in funds to live venue operators, including eligible movie theaters, concert spaces, museums and performing arts organizations.

SVO grants are being administered directly by the SBA. Click here for program details and to apply. 

Local programs

– SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has created a loan program with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. For-profit businesses can apply for loans of at least $10,000 with an interest rate of 3.25%. Funds can be used for working capital and can be disbursed based on past working capital expenses. No payments are due in the first six months. 

There is a $500 underwriting fee and a $100 filing fee.

For more information, visit https://seda-cog.org/covid-19/ or contact SEDA-COG’s Business Finance Department at cwca@seda-cog.org.

– The Chamber’s low-interest loan program is offering loans of up to $10,000 for members at 3% interest for 30 months, with interest only payments for the first 12 months. If you are interested in the Chamber’s loan program, contact Fred Gaffney at the Chamber of Commerce at 570-784-2522 as funds are limited.


Unemployment, Benefits & HR Issues

 

 

The PA Department of Labor and Industry provides UC guidance for employers with impacted employees.


Small Business Recovery Program

The Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Zeigler College of Business has established a Small Business Recovery Program (SBRP) to assist local businesses in recovery from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know these are challenging days for small businesses throughout the region, and the Zeigler College of Business wants to be a partner to help solve those problems,” said Todd Shawver, dean of the Zeigler College of Business.”

The SBRP will assist regional small businesses with any aspect of their business, except for financial assistance. These services can include, but are not limited to:
• Professional sales assistance
• Social media and marketing strategy
• Business strategy redevelopment
• Cost structures and monitoring
• Tax guidance
• Open to customizing services depending on business needs.

Anyone wishing to access the services of the SBRP can do so by filling out a request form


Member News – July 28, 2021

Trivium Packaging Expanding Columbia County Operations

Trivium Packaging, a metal packaging manufacturer, is expanding its manufacturing operations with upgrades to an existing production line, the installation of an interior sunken dock pit, and a building expansion for receiving steel coil shipments to accommodate new business, investing over $7 million into the upgrades, retaining 76 jobs at its South Centre Township, Columbia County site and creating 48 new, full-time jobs.

Trivium Packaging offers a variety of sustainable metal packaging with innovative shaping, decoration, embossing, debossing, and opening solutions to more than 1,300 customers. The company also has a location in Pittsburgh and has been at its facility in Columbia County since 2000.

“We are extremely excited to see the upcoming developments and upgrades that this new project will bring to our Bloomsburg plant and overall operations,” said Trivium President of the Americas Jens Irion. “The investments also illustrate the importance that manufacturing still plays for our society, so being able to retain 76 jobs and add an additional 48 makes us extremely proud, as these jobs will provide good living wages and benefits to individuals and their communities. We thank the Governor’s Office for providing us with this opportunity.”

The company received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $144,000 Pennsylvania First grant, a $400,000 Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan and was encouraged to apply for the department’s Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC) program. The company has committed to investing $7.17 million into the project and creating at least 48 new jobs over the next three years.

The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.


National Night Out Activities Planned in Bloomsburg and Danville

National Night Out is an annual event for the public to meet local law enforcement, fire department, and emergency services personnel in an informal gathering and learn about essential services such as substance abuse programs. The date of this year’s National Night Out is Tuesday, August 3rd. Activities will be held in Bloomsburg from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds and Liberty Hall near the Free Stage. In Danville, activities will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Washie’s Playground. Both events are free to attend and there will be free hot dogs.


Exchange Seeking Memories of 2011 Flood for Exhibit

“Watermark: A Community Album of the 2011 Flood” solicits artwork in any medium, as well as newspaper clippings, artifacts, and other memorabilia from anyone and everyone who lived through the event, anywhere in the Bloomsburg area. Everything will be displayed in the Exchange Gallery in downtown Bloomsburg as a tribute to the resilience of our community and the people in it.

You may bring your piece(s) to the Gallery during the week of July 26th to 31st — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“Watermark” will run at the Exchange Gallery from August 2nd through September 10th, 2021 — ten years and a day after the crest.

A reception will be held in the Gallery on Friday September 10th — the tenth anniversary (plus one day) of the crest of the flood.


Children’s Museum Announces August Programs

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, 2 W. 7th Street, Bloomsburg, is pleased to announce its August programs which includes some free opportunities.

Dog Days of Summer
August 4: Under the Sea, 11:00 am-1:00 pm
Beat the heat and come to the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. Enjoy a special summer-themed craft every other Wednesday with free adult admission.

Touch-A-Truck
Saturday, August 14 @ Rohrbach’s Farm, 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Join us at Rohrbach’s Farm Market for a fun-filled day with trucks of all kinds. Get an up-close, hands-on look at loaders, campers, tractors, fire engines, and more! Free admission.

For a complete listing of all programs, visit the-childrens-museum.org.


Wesley UMC to Host Choral Concert

A new choral/music educational ensemble will be holding its first concert for the community this Saturday, July 31st at 7:00 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church on Market Street in Bloomsburg. The new group will include 3-4 vocal ensembles for children and adults of all backgrounds, skill levels, and musical interests. More information is available at facebook.com/TheBloomsburgSingers.

New Publication Highlights Pennsylvania As A Place to Work, Live, and Grow

The inaugural edition of the Pennsylvania: Work Smart, Live Happy magazine is out and now available online. This annual print and digital magazine is a new tool to help economic developers, corporate real estate agents, communities, and employers attract top talent and promote business growth in the Keystone State.

The digital content is easy to share and showcases Pennsylvania’s quality of life as an ideal home for entrepreneurs, remote workers, families, and businesses of all sizes.

The publication features articles on Pennsylvania’s top industries, innovation, career opportunities, quality schools and higher-ed institutions, abundant outdoor attractions, and diverse cultural offerings. The nine-county central PA region which includes Columbia and Montour counties is featured. 

Create an Emergency Action Plan for Your Small Business

The American Red Cross Ready Rating program is a free, self-guided program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Members complete a ReadyGo or ReadyAdvance assessment and have access to tools, tips and best practices to help improve their level of preparedness.

A free webinar will be held September 13th at noon to review how to improve your small businesses’ level of emergency preparedness.

Topics will include:

  • Online and self-paced, free membership program – readyrating.org
  • Self-Assessments uniquely quantify an organization’s level of preparedness.
  • Customized reports with feedback help members plan improvement.
  • Create basic or detailed Emergency Action Plans.
  • Resource Center with 60+ tools help members implement their emergency preparedness program

Presenter: Erika Wolfe, Disaster Program Manager, PA Rivers Chapter, American Red Cross

Click here for more information and to register. 

Welcome Scott’s Floral, Gift & Greenhouse

Scott Edwards started his floral business at the age of 17 in the basement of his parents’ rural farmhouse. Since then, he has traveled to Europe, Japan and Hong Kong to study with master designers and teach floral design classes. Today, Edwards, his wife, Judy, and their daughters, Holly Edwards Hoffman and Heather Edwards Marks own and operate Scott’s Floral, Gift & Greenhouse on Rt. 11 in Danville.

Scott is an accredited professional floral commentator, a certified FTD judge and has represented the United States in the World Teleflora Designer of the Year competition in Tokyo. He is also a member of the American Academy of Florists, American Institute of Floral Designers and past president of the PA Florist Association.

Scott was selected as a member of the elite design team that created floral decorations for the Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration in New York and the presidential inaugurations of George Bush and Bill Clinton.

Scott and his special event design team from Scott’s Floral provided all the floral decorations for the US Senior Golf Open in Allentown. These talented designers provide floral decorations for weddings and special events from Maine to Washington D.C., Philadelphia to Oklahoma, and everywhere in between.

Visit Scott’s Floral, Gift & Greenhouse’s website at scottsfloral.com for more information about their products and services.

Scott’s Floral joins over 400 members of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce to receive benefits and support the Chamber’s efforts to enhance the region. 

Public Meeting Opportunity to Learn About Flood Mitigation Studies in Columbia County

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is holding a public meeting for all residents, businesses, and municipal officials to learn more about the Fishing Creek Watershed and West End Flood Mitigation studies.

There will be two meetings on July 29, 2021 at the Columbia County Office at the Sawmill Road Complex, 702 Sawmill Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 in the large meeting room. Entrance for the large meeting room is in the rear of the building. The County will live stream both sessions for those who cannot make it or have COVID concerns on the Columbia County Resiliency YouTube channel at https://bit.ly/3kFzXiG

The meeting schedule is as follows:

6:00-7:00pm – West End Flood Mitigation Study, presented by Borton-Lawson
7:00-7:30pm – Break/Social Opportunity
7:30-8:30pm – Fishing Creek Flood Mitigation Study – presented by HRG, Inc.

Reservations can be accepted online at https://bit.ly/2Urvt43 or by calling Flood Resiliency Program Analyst Geralee Zeigler, SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) at 570-522-7218. Individuals who are interested in attending may register for the 6:00pm session or the 7:30pm session independently or for both sessions. SEDA-COG is assisting the County in the grant administration of the studies.