Responding to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
Updated Thursday, January 28, 11:45 a.m.
The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing a safe working environment for employees and members, and to minimizing the potential economic and business impact of COVID-19 (the “Novel Coronavirus”) for our Chamber members.
To that end, we want to hear about how your organization is being affected by this situation, so that we can connect you with resources that can offer you assistance and share your concerns with legislators who might be able to help.
Vaccine Resource Center
As the national and statewide rollout of vaccines for COVID-19 continues, many employers have questions about how they can help facilitate distribution of the vaccine for their employees. While the state of Missouri has developed a detailed plan for vaccine distribution based on a variety of risk factors, there are some steps employers can take to be prepared in the event that supplies make on-site vaccinations possible.
Find local, state and federal information on the COVID-19 vaccination process on our Coronavirus Health & Vaccine page.
Federal COVID-19 Relief Update
Update: The Small Business Administration has reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal as of Monday, January 11, 2021. The portal will initially accept First Draw PPP loan applications from participating community financial institutions.
Applications for the Second Draw Program opened on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.
On Sunday, December 27, President Trump signed into law additional federal COVID-19 relief that reopened the Paycheck Protection Program with an additional $284 billion for small businesses assistance. Several program changes were also made through the enactment of this legislation, including greater streamlined forgiveness, added eligible expenses and more.
This legislation also addresses several other areas related to coronavirus response and recovery efforts. Visit our Federal Assistance page to learn more about the most recent updates to this program and other funding included in this relief package.
Missouri Issues Public Health Warning
The State of Missouri has issued a Public Health Warning regarding COVID-19, which includes an advisory for businesses. The warning states that Missouri officials continue to take a balanced approach and have not issued a statewide mask mandate, but it also warns that if Missourians do not slow the spread of the virus, we risk having our health care systems overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
All businesses are advised to implement basic infection prevention measures informed by industry best practices:
- Modify physical workspaces to maximize and maintain social distancing.
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan, including policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
- Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Symptomatic people should not physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
- Develop, implement, and communicate about workplace flexibilities and protections, including:
- Encouraging telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations;
- Working in phases and/or split shifts, if possible;
- Limiting access to common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact; and
- Ensuring that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance.
COVID-19 Toolkit for Businesses & Workplaces
The COVID-19 Toolkit for Businesses & Workplaces was created by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department as a guide to help your business or organization create or enhance your COVID-19 prevention and response policy. The Health Department will identify and contact people who test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts to discuss the proper steps they need to take. However, due to the volume of cases and the process of disease reporting, these calls can be delayed by several days. Often, friends, family and employers are aware of a potential exposure before the Health Department.
For this reason, employers can help stop the spread of COVID-19 within their workplaces and the community by understanding Health Department guidelines in the case of a workplace exposure. The entire toolkit can be found here.
Education Resource Center for Employers
As school districts around the region begin the process of reopening their doors to students for the 2020-2021 school year - in a variety of forms - both parents and employers have a wide range of questions.
The Chamber wants to help by working to gather as much information as possible in one centralized location: our Education Resource Center for Employers. This Resource Center will be updated regularly as new information is made available or updated.
Legislative Policy Updates
The Chamber is hard at work throughout the legislative session, advocating for the priorities of the business community. We also feel it's important to keep you informed of the latest legislative news that could affect your business and your industry. That's why we periodically put together our Legislative Update newsletter, designed to keep you up to date on what's going on in Jefferson City and in Washington, D.C. on subjects affecting the business community.
CARES Act Relief Fund Guidance for Small Biz
COVID-19 Federal Policy Update - Sept. 15
Are you looking for recordings of previous virtual events? Visit our Video Library!
Updated Wednesday, December 16
The City of Springfield has extended the effective date of the masking ordinance effective inside the city limits. Masking guidelines will now be in place through April 9, 2021. More detailed information about the city orders can be found on our "Reopening & Recovery" page.
Other communities in the region have either issued their own plans or announced that they are relying on orders from the state or basing their orders on those made by their local counties.