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Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce 2019 Chamber of the Year
× Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce

Media Center

March 25, 2020 4:57pm

Covid-19 Update: GLI to Host Unemployment Insurance & Small Business Q&A Webinars

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, Governor Andy Beshear announced the closing of all “non-life-sustaining” businesses in Kentucky to in-person traffic by 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Today he released an executive order identifying businesses allowed to remain open, except as needed to conduct Minimum Basic Operations. These include grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and more. However, the Governor also mentioned that most professional services (like attorneys, accountants and those in real estate) can be performed from home. He also reiterated there is no prohibition to virtual or telework operations. Stay tuned here for the latest updates.

In response, on behalf of our investors and business community, I submitted a letter to Governor Beshear requesting the establishment of a business hotline to address the questions we have been receiving from the community during these unprecedented times.

Overnight, the White House and Congress struck a deal to deliver a $2 trillion relief package aimed at providing financial support for American families, businesses being forced to shut down and overwhelmed hospitals. The legislation, which is expected to be enacted soon, is the largest financial aid package in American history. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The extension of unemployment insurance by 13 weeks, including a four-month enhancement of benefits
  • $1,200 in payments direct to individuals ($2,400 for couples) applied equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 (phasing out at $99,001) and $500 per child
  • $100 billion in aid for hospitals
  • $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds
  • $350 billion for small business loan programs
  • $500 billion fund for broad groups of distressed companies
  • The bill also includes several important changes to the federal tax code to support employers. GLI will release more information on these changes as the details become known.

UPCOMING GLI EVENTS

GLI COVID-19 Help: Kentucky’s Unemployment Insurance Program & Workforce Updates
Friday, March 27 ● 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Join GLI for an important conversation with Deputy Secretary Josh Benton from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Deputy Secretary Benton will discuss the work the Cabinet is doing to support Kentuckians, particularly related to Kentucky’s unemployment insurance program and other updates from the Administration.

REGISTER

GLI COVID-19 Help: Small Business Q&A with the SBA
Monday, March 30 ● 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

GLI recognizes the immediate impact COVID-19 has had on our local small businesses and with updates happening on a daily basis, we want to provide the timeliest information regarding small business resources and information. Join Tommie Causey, Lead Economic Development Specialist at the KY District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) along with David Oetken, Center Director for the Louisville Small Business Development Center for a discussion on the latest small business steps you should be taking and resources available.

REGISTER

UPCOMING PARTNER EVENTS

GLI COVID-19 Help: Supporting Your Small Business
Thursday, March 26 ● 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 

Join GLI, Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) and NOIR Black Chamber of Commerce (NOIRBCC) for a virtual town hall meeting on supporting your small business during COVID-19. In addition to myself, you will hear from Jennifer Rubenstein, Director of LIBA, Metro Council President David James, and John Shaw-Woo, Founding CEO of NOIRBCC.

REGISTER

WE NEED YOUR HELP

  • Is your company doing something innovative to help our community during the COVID-19 crisis? We would like to hear from you so we can spread the good word and shine a light on all of the good work our region does. Click here to tell us.
  • Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is asking for paper bag donations (large, thick paper bags with handles) to pack and carry breakfasts and lunches for their Emergency Food Distribution Sites. If you can donate, please deliver the bags to JCPS Nutrition Services, Building 2, C.B. Young, 3001 Crittenden Drive from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. today through Friday.

Other Updates:

  • Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the Frazier History Museum are collaborating on a new project called the Coronavirus Capsule. Students are being asked to express their thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic (experiences, feelings, emotions) through writing, photos, video, art, music, etc., to create a shared experience for us all. You can email your submission here, with Coronavirus Capsule in the subject line.
  • Cisco is providing a 90-day free trial of Webex for GLI members who need assistance setting up seamless remote workers. Webex is a premium remote working and collaboration solution. Download your 90-day free trial here.
  • Harding Shymanski is working to add clarity to issues brought about by COVID-19 and has developed a Coronavirus Resource Center to monitor guidance from federal and state governments, as well as industry organizations. Additionally, they have developed a COVID-19 Fast Response Team comprised of tax, payroll, HR, capital markets and accounting professionals who are there to help you address the difficult decisions you are faced with in this crisis. Contact Kyle Wininger for more information.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers has launched a COVID-19 Navigator, which is a free online, interactive tool designed to help businesses better understand their paths to COVID-19 preparedness across six areas: crisis management and response, workforce, operations and supply chain, finance and liquidity, tax and trade, and strategy and brand. Once completed, you’ll receive a report based on your company-specific responses with insights and recommendations to help you navigate this pandemic.

GLI is collecting the questions we’ve been asked about how COVID-19 impacts your business. To see those responses, click here. If you have a question that you would like answered, submit that below.

SUBMIT A QUESTION
Investor Question of the Day: If I lay people off before the Family First Act takes effect on April 2nd, do I still have to provide unpaid leave?

If by “layoff” you mean that the employees will lose their jobs, then the Act will not apply if the layoff occurs prior to April 1. Only individuals who are employed are entitled to leave under the Act. However, if an individual remains in an employed status but is currently on some form of unpaid leave or is furloughed, the employer may need to provide the paid leave if all other prerequisites are met (e.g. the employer has 500 or fewer employees; the employee has a qualifying reason, etc.) Before moving forward with a layoff, employers should also consider whether they qualify for any potential exceptions, as well as the availability of immediate payroll tax offsets. Rebecca Weis, MemberStites & Harbison

COACHING THROUGH CRISIS

Leading Through A Crisis – Guest Commentary by Rachel FriendRight Angle Results, LLC.

As a long-time consultant and business owner, I have helped regional and national companies, large and small, through contingency planning throughout my career but especially in the last seven to ten days. Due to COVID-19, many of my clients are facing significant drops in quote and order activity and are reeling from fear and the impact of business closures. These leaders, probably similar to you, are concerned about the safety and livelihood of their team members and their families, but also about cash flow and potential liabilities such as healthcare and bad debt if their customers are unable to pay receivables. There is a trickle impact that this crisis where few will remain whole.

Fear can corrupt our ability to think logically and use the data we do know. It causes us to want to overthink our decisions because we do not want to make the wrong one. How do you rise above the fear? Understanding your company’s data will help you understand your options and will be helpful in providing a path forward for you and your leadership team. The following questions may be helpful to your decision-making as you assess next steps for your organization:

  1. What are your current vs. historical trends in data such as quote and order activity, conversion rate – how is your business being impacted from the crisis?
  2. What backlog do you have to work from for the next four to eight weeks?
  3. Do you have risk in your account receivable?  For non-profits, it may be risk in your donation pipeline, grants or other funding sources.
  4. How is your cash position and how can you minimize a drain?  What is your available line of credit should you need immediate access to cash? How flexible are your lenders?  Are you projecting cash?
  5. How many employees are needed for different levels of revenue, including a full shutdown?
  6. Which employees are most valuable?  Is this an opportunity to reduce non-productive members in a headcount reduction?
  7. What are the retention strategies in a headcount reduction you can use to quickly relaunch as necessary should your business pick back up?
  8. What are your supply chain and customers’ plans?
  9. Is there a market play should you keep production and business going when others shut down?

Once you understand your current situation, brainstorm your options for moving forward.  Determine the level of risk you are willing to endure as an owner, and if you are a leader, what level of risk your owners and board are willing to endure.  Leverage your access to other experienced and knowledgeable people who have managed a crisis or that are experiencing a similar situation, such as peers in a roundtable, your board of directors or advisors, or an experienced business consultant.

Most importantly, it’s important to over-communicate to your team, and if you are a family business to your families involved in or dependent on the business.  All tend to be afraid in such uncertain times and knowledge provides comfort, even if it is letting them know that you do not have a decision yet or that you have less than favorable news.  If they do not know, then they will create it and this can cause more fear.

Leaders who meet crises successfully may be rewarded with increased respect from their teams, communities, and peers; with growth in knowledge and experience; and with a strengthening of personal character.   As leaders, we are facing an unprecedented and most likely the most unpredictable time of our leadership experience.   It is our time to rise to the occasion to make the best possible decisions for our companies, our teams, our families, and the greater Louisville community.

We will continue to work diligently to present the best, most informative information to you on a regular basis.

Stay safe & healthy,
Sarah Davasher-Wisdom