Coronavirus Resources for Employers

Updated 8/7/2020 at 12:00 p.m. Updates in bold

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

 

Business Reopening & Operating

All businesses must continue to follow CDC and Department of Health guidance for social distancing and cleaning. 

Guidance for businesses (including restaurants), and schools is provided here. (Updated 7/15/20)

Guidance for sports is provided here. (Updated 8/7/20)

A required notification poster for employees is provided here.

CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

A FAQ providing additional clarification on cleaning and safety is provided here.


Protection Equipment and Cleaning Supplies & Services

Hand sanitizer, masks, cleaning products, plastic barriers
(Contact individual stores for in-stock items)

  • Coles Hardware – 1089 Columbia Blvd., Bloomsburg
  • Commercial Stainless – 570-387-8980 (glass/plexiglass barriers only)
  • Renco Ace Hardware – 2251 Columbia Blvd., Bloomsburg
  • Sabo’s LLC – 1700 Orange St., Berwick, sabosllc.com
  • Staples, The Office Superstore, 1005 Scott Town Plaza, Bloomsburg
  • Wal-Mart – 100 Lunger Dr., Bloomsburg

Cleaning services

  • 3B Consultant Services – 570-799-5774
  • MaxWorx – 272-202-4435
  • Marr Development – 570-416-0570
  • ServPro of Columbia Montour & Sullivan Counties – 570-759-0966

Members that provide these products or services and are not listed should contact the Chamber.  


Financial Assistance

A webinar discussing the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Credit, and other resources is available on the Chamber’s YouTube channel.

Federal programs

PPP and EIDL loans are being accepted and processed, though funds for the EIDL advance have been allocated. The application period for PPP has been extended to August 8th. 

– The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to small businesses, including sole proprietors and self-employed individuals, as well as some non-profit organizations, that maintain their payroll during the emergency. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. 

  • The most up to date information, including the application and loan forgiveness forms, are available on the U.S. Treasury’s website. (Revised 6/12/20)
  • Considerations for non-profit organizations are available here.
  • A guide to PPP loan forgiveness is available here.

Applications can be submitted to approved lenders. Contact your commercial lender or banking institution for specific application requirements.

– The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides businesses with less than 500 employees working capital loans of up to $2 million. Click here for details about the program and to apply. 

All available funds for the EIDL advance have been allocated.

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

Federal tax credit program

– The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19. The Employee Retention Credit is a fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allowable qualified health plan expenses) that eligible employers pay their employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an eligible employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000.

Click here for details from the IRS.

State grant program

The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. The second application window will open at 9:00 a.m. on August 10th and will remain open for 15 business days closing at 11:59 p.m. on August 28th.

If you applied during the first application window, you do not need to reapply. Qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration.

In order to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible, the second application window will be the final opportunity to apply for the program. The grant awards for businesses in the second application window will be made in two decision rounds for funding.

To be eligible to apply, a business must:
• Be physically located, certified to do business, and generate at least 51% of their revenues in Pennsylvania;
• Have annual revenue of $1 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19; and
• Have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees prior to February 15, 2020.

Click here for additional details about the program.

Click here for a guide to completing the application.

Columbia County businesses should apply at reinvestment.com

Montour County businesses should apply at impactservices.org.

Local programs

– Small businesses and tourism-related businesses in Columbia and Montour counties can apply for grants through the counties. The Commissioners in each county have allocated dollars from the CARES Act to provide financial assistance for up to five months of fixed costs. 

Businesses that received funds through either the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan program are eligible for funding through these county programs. Businesses that did not receive funds through either of these programs are eligible for an additional 5%.

Columbia County businesses can receive up to $100,000 and the application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 10th.

Montour County businesses can receive up to $15,000 and the application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18th.

Additional details and the applications are available through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation’s website

For questions about the grant application, contact Christine Orlando, CSCF Senior Program Officer, corlando@csgiving.org,  570-752-3930, ext. 2.

Programs for non-profit organizations in the two counties will be announced later in August. 

– 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. EDA recently awarded an additional $6.3 million to this program.

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.

Private programs

– A growing number of companies have set up relief funds, online tools, classes, and other resources at no cost in response to the impact on small-business owners. This link contains a list that Inc. is curating and continuously updating.


Business Tax Deadlines Extended

In addition to extending tax filing and payment deadlines for individuals, the Commonwealth has also extended a number of business tax deadlines, including moving the due date for corporations with tax returns due in May to August 14, 2020 and removing the requirement for some businesses to make prepayments of Sales and Use Tax for April, May and June 2020.

Full details are available on the PA Department of Revenue’s website


Unemployment, Benefits & HR Issues

 

 

 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to individuals not eligible for regular benefits, including the self-employed and those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Click here for more information and to apply for PUA. Qualifying self-employed individuals will need to submit a copy of the Governor’s order closing businesses, available here

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

New temporary paid sick leave and Family and Medical Leave Act programs are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire December 31. Both programs are in addition to any leave the employer already offers. Click here for a guide for employers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for details from the IRS about the tax credits for paid leave.

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a required posting and FAQ regarding the FFCRA which went into effect April 1. 

Employee Rights: Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions


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 business 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


Welcome Tyler Bloom Workforce & Leadership Consulting

More than 430 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes Tyler Bloom Consulting.

Tyler Bloom Consulting is a local, privately owned workforce and leadership consulting firm, that is focused on aligning business strategy with talent strategy for the long term. They design, diagnose, hire, and inspire high performing teams.  Some of their focus areas include: Leadership and Managerial Training, Apprenticeship Program Services, Assistant and Staff Recruiting Services, Career Development and Marketing Strategy, Member and Customer Relations, Social Media Training, and Communication Training.  

To learn more about their services, visit their website, or Facebook page.

Employers Asked for Input on In-demand Occupations

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education held a workforce summit in November of 2019, where over 80 CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers met to align on definitions and competencies needed to build a talent pipeline. The State System then heard from national funders about their interest in learning more about the Commonwealth’s regional differences both in-and-across six high demand industries of advanced manufacturing, healthcare, finance, energy, information technology, and agri-business. 

The next step is to develop and hold Pennsylvania’s Regional Workforce Assemblies in September 2020.  The four assemblies have the following objectives and are designed to benefit the Commonwealth by building synergies and partnerships across various job sectors and areas of expertise:

1) to understand the regional differences across the Commonwealth both within and across six high demand industry clusters;

2) to develop competency maps with an embedded quality assurance framework wrap around that then become useful tools for curriculum and skills development;

3) to pilot the competency curriculum through the upskilling and reskilling of adult learners;

4) to create a competency model that could be scaled Statewide

Prior to the first meeting, employers in these industry sectors are being asked to provide updated input via a survey by August 7th.  The survey will only take 10-15 minutes to complete and is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Prepared4PA

Across the six industries and four regions in Pennsylvania, the objectives of the survey are to:

  • Validate the top in-demand occupations that were collected from traditional labor market information, real-time labor market information, O*Net industry clusters, and feedback gathered from the Pennsylvania Prepares Workforce Summit,
  • Gain insight into the relationships and partnerships between industry and higher education, and
  • Understand talent pipeline challenges

The results will be used during the Regional Workforce Assemblies to articulate regional workforce demands across Pennsylvania and inform competencies to skills mapping needed for successful transitions in the workforce. Recognizing the importance of addressing the impacts on our workforce of both COVID -19 and a focus on inclusivity and diversity, facilitated sessions at the Workforce Assemblies will be dedicated to these issues. 

 

Local & State Financial Assistance Application Deadlines are This Month

Businesses in Columbia and Montour counties can apply for financial assistance through several programs. Application deadlines are on various dates in the month of August.

The Commissioners in each county have allocated dollars from the CARES Act to provide financial assistance in the form of grants for up to five months of fixed costs for small and tourism-oriented businesses.

Businesses that received funds through either the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan program are eligible for funding through these county programs. Businesses that did not receive funds through either of these programs are eligible for an additional 5%.

Columbia County businesses can receive up to $100,000 and the application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 10th.

Montour County businesses can receive up to $15,000 and the application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18th.

Additional details and the applications are available through the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation’s website.

For questions about the grant application, contact Christine Orlando, CSCF Senior Program Officer, corlando@csgiving.org,  570-752-3930, ext. 2.

Programs for non-profit organizations in the two counties will be announced later in August.

The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. The second application window will open at 9:00 a.m. on August 10th and will remain open for 15 business days closing at 11:59 p.m. on August 28th.

If you applied during the first application window, you do not need to reapply. Qualified applications will be automatically rolled over into the next funding round for consideration.

In order to get funds to businesses in need as quickly as possible, the second application window will be the final opportunity to apply for the program. The grant awards for businesses in the second application window will be made in two decision rounds for funding.

Click here for additional details about the program.

Columbia County businesses should apply at reinvestment.com.

Montour County businesses should apply at impactservices.org.

Businesses can also apply for loans of at least $10,000 with an interest rate of 3.25% through SEDA-COG. 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. The U.S. Economic Development Administration recently awarded an additional $6.3 million for this program.

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 Federal PPP program is also open until August 8th, though it is anticipated that the next Federal relief package will provide additional funding.

 

Webinar to Help Small Businesses Recover & Prosper

Bloomsburg University’s Zeigler College of Business is offering free consulting services to help area small businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis and be successful for the long term. The Small Business Recovery Program assists businesses with planning, marketing, e-commerce, tax planning, and evaluating financing options. The Chamber is partnering with the College of Business to talk about the program and offer some tips for businesses to consider during a free webinar to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 11th. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions.  

Dr. Todd Shawver, Dean of the Zeigler College of Business, will present the webinar. Members can register online or by calling the Chamber at 570-784-2522. Zoom meeting info will be provided upon registration. Businesses can request assistance through the Program at any time by filling out the online form.

Member News- August 5, 2020

Talen Energy to Test Siren System

Talen Energy will be sounding their siren systems within a 10 mile radius of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick on Thursday, August 20th at 11 am, as part of an annual test of the system.  No public action is required.  The sirens will sound with a steady signal lasting three minutes. This is only a test.  If you have any questions, or for more information, please call the Talen Energy, Susquehanna Energy Information Center at 1-866-832-4474.

 

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum Birthday Bash

On August 15th, come join The Children’s Museum in Bloomsburg for fun, food, and entertainment for their 35th Birthday Bash! There will be free admission from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and let’s not forget the birthday cake! Without the support of the community, they would not be where they are today. So come join as we celebrate 35 years of fun and learning! Also, please consider donating to help fund further programs.

 

ArtFest 2020 Postponed Until 2021

With the good health of the people in our community as by far the most important factor, The Exchange, Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. (DBI), and the Town of Bloomsburg have decided that ArtFest should not take place in 2020.  The boards of the two non-profits and Town Council agree that the COVID-19 pandemic makes an event of ArtFest’s size unwise, even outdoors.  In addition, making ArtFest a success would mean trying to draw enough attendees that it would bump up against if not exceed the number, 250, that the Governor of Pennsylvania has determined as the limit on gatherings.

ArtFest would have taken place on Saturday, August 22nd, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. surrounding the fountain on the Square and up Market Street in downtown Bloomsburg, with more than thirty art and craft vendors, five food vendors, and live music by local performers all day.  We now look forward to the 2021 event, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 21st.

 

Internet Service for Students and Teachers

Even though students will soon be preparing to return to school, there are many uncertainties and some may need to again rely on an eLearning environment.  As a result, Service Electric Cablevision (SECV) will again offer 90 days free Internet service to students and teachers who do not already subscribe to SECV Internet.  This offer includes the 40M x 4M tier of Internet service, along with a free cable modem rental. It applies only to persons who are not currently subscribed to SECV Internet service.  Those persons who may have participated in the SECV spring Student offer and recently disconnected because the free offer period ended may once again participate in this fall offer.  Other restrictions may apply including needing to resolve an unpaid balance for services previously provided.  As before, Self-installation is required with the assistance of a technician outside the residence to ensure the safety of our employees. All new customers must provide written proof of their child’s current enrollment at a local school in SECV’s service area.  All teachers must reside in SECV’s service area and provide evidence of current employment status with a school district.  For more information or to enroll in the eLearning offer, please have students or teachers call us at 877.955.7328.

 

Service 1st Donates Personal Protective Equipment to Two Local Hospitals

(l-r): Kendra Aucker, President/CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital; Michael Howe, Facilities & Maintenance Specialist, Service 1st; Jay Reed, Chief Information Officer, Service 1st; Jennifer Daddario, Regional Vice President, Service 1st; and Bill Lavage, President/CEO, Service 1st.

Service 1st Federal Credit Union donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to two local hospitals to help replenish supplies used since the initial response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic.

A combined donation of 2,000 gowns were recently provided to Evangelical Community Hospital, located in Lewisburg and Geisinger Medical Center, located in Danville.

“Everyone is feeling the challenge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, including our local hospitals,” said Bill Lavage, President/CEO, Service 1st. “We are pleased to be able to provide the front-line health care workers at these hospitals with the necessary protection to perform their important work.”

(l-r): Dave Shope, Assistant Vice President Business Development, Service 1st; Linda Brown, Chief Administrative Officer, Service 1st; Bill Lavage, President/CEO, Service 1st; Joseph Goyne, Senior Director of Logistics, Geisinger Medical Center; Tom Sokola, Chief Administrative Officer; Geisinger Medical Center; and Angela Brouse, Regional Director of the Geisinger Health Foundation.

Credit unions are member-owned and share the fundamental belief of ‘people helping people’. Service 1st was proud to be among 17 regional credit unions and credit union partners that worked together to support healthcare facilities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Combined, their efforts provided over 30,000 medical gowns.