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COVID-19 Small Business Resources

Columbia County Economic Team (CCET) is working to assist businesses in responding and navigating through the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting in economic disruption….and help plan for recovery.

Business survival and retention is a top priority. We all want to emerge from the other side of this with the ability o restore our businesses, livelihoods, and economy.

Reaching out countywide, Columbia County Economic Team will be communicating with you regularly.

Please bookmark us and visit often for updates.

 Updates

LOCAL

 

Columbia Economic Team 2021 Annual Report

 

STATE

NEWS RELEASE

August 10, 2021

Media Contact:
Liz Merah, 503-877-8287
Charles Boyle, 503-931-7773

Governor Kate Brown Announces New Statewide Measures to Address Rising COVID-19 Hospitalizations

All State of Oregon executive branch employees required to be fully vaccinated
Governor to hold press conference tomorrow, August 11, to announce new statewide indoor mask requirements
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today announced she will be issuing two new health and safety measures to address the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations being driven by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant: a vaccination requirement for state employees and statewide indoor mask requirements.

New modeling from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) projects that, without new health and safety interventions in place, COVID-19 hospitalizations will far exceed Oregon’s health system capacity in the next several weeks. According to modeling from OHSU, without these additional mitigation measures, Oregon could be as many as 500 staffed hospital beds short of what will be needed to treat patients hospitalized for any reason by September.

“Oregon is facing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations––consisting overwhelmingly of unvaccinated individuals––that is quickly exceeding the darkest days of our winter surge,” said Governor Brown. “When our hospitals are full, there will be no room for additional patients needing care––whether for COVID-19, a heart attack or stroke, a car collision, or a variety of other emergency situations. If our hospitals run out of staffed beds, all Oregonians will be at risk.

“There are two keys to saving lives. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. And, by wearing masks, all of us––vaccinated and unvaccinated––can help ensure that a hospital bed staffed by health professionals is available for our loved ones in their time of need. If we all do our part, we can beat COVID-19 once and for all, keep our economy open and thriving, and return our kids to the classroom with minimal disruptions in a few weeks.”

All State of Oregon executive branch employees required to be fully vaccinated

Governor Brown announced today that all State of Oregon executive branch employees will be required to be fully vaccinated on or before October 18, or six weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, whichever is later.

The requirement will apply to all executive branch employees, including employees working for all Oregon state agencies, and in consultation with Oregon’s statewide elected officials, employees of the Oregon State Treasury and the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, as well as employees of the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries and the Oregon Department of Justice. Employees will be required to show proof of vaccination by the deadline. Individuals unable to be vaccinated due to disability or sincerely held religious belief may be able to qualify for an exception, as required by state and federal law. State of Oregon employees will not have the option of weekly testing instead of showing proof of vaccination.

“Vaccines are safe and effective, and they are the surest way to prevent Oregonians from ending up in intensive care units,” said Governor Brown. “I am taking action to help ensure State of Oregon workplaces are safe for employees and customers alike, and I am strongly encouraging all public and private employers to follow suit by requiring vaccination for their employees. The only way we can stop the spread of COVID-19 for good is through vaccination.”

The vaccination requirement does not apply to employees of Oregon’s legislative and judicial branches of government, though the Governor is encouraging the leadership of both branches to consider a similar requirement.

Governor to hold press conference tomorrow, August 11, to announce new statewide indoor mask requirements

Governor Brown also announced she will be holding a press conference tomorrow, August 11, to announce new statewide indoor mask requirements. The Governor’s Office will send a media advisory with RSVP information for the media later this afternoon.

“The latest science is clear: although unvaccinated individuals are more likely to contract the disease, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can spread the Delta variant. Masks are a simple and effective way to make sure you are not unknowingly infecting your friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues. After a year and a half of this pandemic, I know Oregonians are tired of health and safety restrictions. This new mask requirement will not last forever, but it is a measure that can save lives right now. It will help to protect all of us, including people who are immunocompromised, and our children under 12 who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated. Masks are a simple and effective tool that will keep our schools, businesses, and communities open.”

Click here for more mask information.

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OHA launches COVID-19 vaccine dashboard showing the status of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination effort. The dashboard will provide daily updates on the number of people partially and fully vaccinated, along with key demographic information showing race, ethnicity, sex and age of everyone immunized.

The dashboard also shows information by county.

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Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide for indoor public spaces (for example, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, personal services providers, restaurants, bars, retail stores, and more). In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Children age 5 and up are required to wear a face covering. People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from the business if they cannot wear one.

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Governor Kate Brown Releases School Health and Safety Metrics

Updated guidance for schools is released 

1/20/21

As part of its planned guidance and metrics review process with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released an update to the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.

The updated guidance includes updated advisory metrics for in-person instruction. The metrics are based on the latest COVID-19 studies and data and help Oregon’s schools make informed decisions about returning to in-person instruction.

While health metrics have shifted from required to advisory, schools must follow all the required guidelines. All staff must be trained on the first three sections of Ready Schools, Safe Learners and schools need to designate a school leader to implement, support and enforce health and safety protocols.

A new requirement, that when students and staff return to in-person instruction out of alignment with the advised metrics, schools must offer access to on-site COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff identified on campus as well as those with known exposure to individuals with COVID-19.

The update also includes multiple new resources to support learning outside, field trips, equitable grading practices, attendance best practices, contact tracing partnerships, COVID-19 testing, and more.

video of ODE Director Colt Gill explaining the updates is available. 

Updated guidance will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.

NATIONAL

UPDATE: PPP Loans

IRS guidance on first round PPP loans

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Procedure 2021-20 PDF for certain businesses that received first-round Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but did not deduct any of the original eligible expenses on their tax return because they relied on guidance issued before the enactment of tax relief legislation in December of 2020.

Under prior guidance, businesses that received PPP loans to cover payroll costs, interest on covered mortgage obligations, covered rent obligation payments, and covered utility payments could not deduct corresponding expenses when reporting business expense deductions.

With the Dec. 27, 2020, enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, businesses now may claim these deductions even though they received PPP loans to cover original eligible expenses. These businesses can use the safe harbor provided by this guidance to deduct those expenses on the return for the immediately subsequent year.

More information is available here.

 

Coronavirus Funding Options

Grants

Northwest Oregon Works – This is an additional funding option for businesses that can make PPEs, masks, or something essential in addressing the COVID-19 health and economic pandemic, and/or if you need more workers to do that.

Oregon Small Business Stabilization Grants

Finder.com – Local, State, Federal and Private Grants for Small Business Owners

Facebook Small Business Grant Program – Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. The application process is not open yet and we will share more details as they become available.

Pamplin Media Marketing Grant – Pamplin Media has established a $1million marketing grant fund to assist local businesses with their advertising during these challenging times.

Restaurant Employee Relief Funds

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment.

Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Small Business Navigator

Small Business Solutions Video Series courtesy of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce

SBA Guidance & Resources

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Guidelines for Businesses and Employers

SBA Products & Resources

SBA Local Assistance

Join the SBA Relief Efforts

SBA Government Contracting

Small Business Development Center Resources

The PCC SBDC is available to assist you in assessing the appropriate actions for your business. Please email: sbdc@pcc.edu if you need assistance in this planning process, or if you have any questions regarding the guidelines.

SBDC COVID-19 Business Resources

SBDC Guide to Navigating a Business Crisis

SBDC PPP Factsheet

SBDC EIDL Factsheet

Information for Employers

This is an ongoing list of resources and guidelines for employers during COVID-19. We want to provide you with the most timely and relevant information to keep your employees safe, and to ensure that you are following guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

State of Oregon Employment Department-  The health and safety of workplaces is of utmost importance to the Oregon Employment Department. This information provides general guidance to employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

This web page will be updated as more information becomes available. The Oregon Employment Department is working with partner agencies nationwide and the U.S. Department of Labor to ask for additional unemployment benefits options related to COVID-19.

Columbia County Worksource Office: 503-397-4995.
Please note: The office is currently staffed to receive phone calls but the lobby is not open to the general public.

Reduced Hours via Workshare. Work Share provides an alternative for larger employers who may be facing the prospect of a lay off situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial Unemployment Insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages.

Permanent Layoffs: Rapid Response Assistance – If you are considering a long-term or permanent layoff of workers, contact the WorkSource center for rapid response assistance. Local Rapid Response teams can help you navigate through this challenging process and assist with the development and implementation of a transition strategy.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for Businesses & Employers

Below are the recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • 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
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.
  • Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from designated countries with risk of community spread of Coronavirus, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.

Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Local Partners & Resources

Count on your local partners to be there for your business during these unprecedented times and to provide additional support as needed.

Northwest Oregon Works

On-the-job-training is a business service provided through the Northwest Oregon Worksource centers.
The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) On the Job Training (OJT) program beneficial to employers in Columbia County. On the Job Training (OJT) services are provided at no cost to the company. Info, FAQ and contacts here…

Local Credit Unions & Loan Assistance

Wauna Credit Union. – Wauna Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Click here to apply for the SBA PPP Loan.

Wauna is currently providing a variety of low-cost borrowing options, which may help contribute to your ability to cope and maintain the necessities of life for you and your families during and following the coronavirus pandemic:

 

InRoads Credit Union. – InRoads Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Current credit union members are eligible to apply through InRoads.

SBA Payroll Protection Loan Program – Round Two Applications

  • The SBA PPP loan program will again begin accepting applications Monday, April 27.
  • We expect this round of funding to again be depleted quickly.  Current InRoads business members should send an email to payrollprotection@inroadscu.org to receive a link to a secure application.
  • Completed applications will be processed in the order received although we cannot guarantee funding due to high demand nationwide.

Member Assistance

During this unprecedented time, InRoads continues to be a resource for our members and our communities. To help you navigate through any financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve put new programs in place including*:

  • Emergency Assistance Loans: A zero interest loan up to $2,500 and no payments for 90 days to assist existing InRoads members to pay bills, rent, cover groceries, or other financial needs. Click here to apply. 
  • Personal Loans: We’ve lowered the rates on new personal loans to help those who may be seeking a little extra security in their wallets right now. We’re also offering no payments for 90 days. Click here to apply. 
  • Skip Payment: If you have an existing InRoads loan that qualifies, you may be able to skip payments for two months with no skip payment fee.
  • Pay loans by phone: We are currently waiving all pay by phone fees.
  • Rewards Checking requirements: We will waive the 10 debit card purchases per cycle requirement to receive rewards during this time.
  • Business Assistance Loans: Email us at business.assistance@inroadscu.org to request assistance with your current InRoads business loan(s) during this time.

We are here to work with you. Have a need that’s not listed? Reach out via email at member.service@inroadscu.org, by phone at 503.397.2376, or our LIVE app and we’ll talk more.

Local Business Advocacy and Chambers of Commerce

Local Goverment Resources

Utilities

NW Natural Business Continuity Plan. NW Natural has activated its business continuity plans. Residential and small businesses will not be disconnected if they can’t make payments due to the impacts caused by COVID-19. Customers will continue to receive bills and past-due notices. But NW Natural will not send a final shut-off notice and disconnect service.

State Resources

Here’s a list of relevant state resources to help navigate your business through this crisis. We’ll keep this page updated and add or remove relevant and timely information as needed.

We encourage you to explore your options, and don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions. We are here for you – let us know how we can help!

Governor Kate Brown COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians

Oregon Health Authority

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Business Oregon

Travel Oregon

Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Economic Development Association

Northwest Grocery Association Guidelines

 Ready to reopen? Here’s what you need to know – From SAIF

 

 

National & International Resources

Here’s a list of national resources to help navigate your business through this crisis, and to help you stay informed about COVID-19 at the national level  We’ll keep this page updated with timely and relevant information as we receive it.  

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For updates from the CDC, please see the following:

U.S. Government Resources

International Resources

Reach Us

P.O. Box 1653
St Helens, OR 97051

(503) 805-5139

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