Updated 7/30/2021 at 11:30 a.m. Updates in bold
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.
While the universal face covering order was lifted on June 28th, the PA Department of Health 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
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled an updated guide for the latest 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.
– 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.
– The Columbia County Commissioners are providing $100,000 to reimburse private businesses for purchases of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to address safety issues due to Covid-19. Eligible businesses must be private, for-profit businesses and must be physically located within Columbia County.
Private businesses may apply for reimbursement by submitting the following information to the county:
On a single sheet, list the following:
- Name of the business
- Address if the business (include street, city, zip)
- Address to where a check may be mailed
- Business EIN
- A one-paragraph narrative describing the PPE and its purpose
- Amount requested
Additionally, the business must attach copies of receipts to confirm the purchases. Purchases are to have occurred between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
The grant window will be open from August 1-August 14. All grants will be considered. If the eligible requests exceed the available grant amount, businesses will receive a pro rata share of the available $100,000 fund.
Applications and attached receipts are to be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
– 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 email@example.com.
– 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.