• June 12, 2020 12:14 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The last 3 months have challenged Oregon's local businesses. No one could have prepared for the COVID-19 crisis or the economic disaster that followed statewide public health orders. And today, many businesses-child care providers, restaurants, retailers, salon owners, and more-are grappling with whether it is even possible to reopen their doors following this crisis.
     
    For many businesses navigating this uncertainty, there is an even greater fear lurking around the corner: costly and opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits.
     
    As businesses start to reopen, they are implementing safety measures in alignment with State public health guidelines and recommendations. Many employers are worried that even though they are following public health guidelines, an employee or customer will contract coronavirus and sue them, claiming that they got sick because of circumstances beyond the control of the business. Our local businesses shouldn't live in fear of opportunistic attorneys and crippling litigation during these uncertain times.
     
    Businesses need to know that if they take steps to implement guidance from state and federal public health officials, they will be protected from excessive lawsuits that will drain their cash reserves. One lawsuit or demand letter can cripple a business, regardless of the steps taken to protect employee and customer health under state-issued public health guidance.
     
    Oregon lawmakers must act now to protect local businesses from litigation abuse! Plaintiffs' attorneys and lawsuit lending companies are preparing for an onslaught of coronavirus suits. Temporary and targeted liability protections are necessary to allow businesses to reopen safely and with the confidence that they aren't reopening simply to risk everything.
     
    Temporary and targeted liability protections are not a partisan issue. States with democrat and republican governors have signed legislation to prevent excessive litigation from burying employers who have acted in good faith and in accordance with state and federal guidelines in this crisis. The time for Oregon to act is now!
     
    Are you worried about coronavirus liability-despite the fact that your business has done its best to adhere to Governor Brown's public health guidelines? If so, the Governor and legislators need to hear from you today! Tell your story to help inform this important policy decision. 



     Send your message to the Governor
    and legislators today

    Download the template letter to send from your Chamber


  • May 26, 2020 2:17 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    COVID-19 Reopening Listening Sessions with Prosper Portland

    The City of Portland and Prosper Portland, in partnership with Venture Portland and the Portland Independent Restaurant Alliance, are hosting listening sessions to hear from businesses in the restaurant and personal services industries, and how the city can support as we look towards reopening. This is a part of a series of industry and culturally specific listening sessions open to the public. This session is intended for business owners in the restaurant and personal services industries. If these sessions are fully registered, a video will be made available when the session concludes.

    Register for the Restaurant Industry Listening Session on 6/1 from 9-10:30am

    Register for the Personal Services Industry Listening Session on 6/9 from 12-1:30pm

    COVID-19 Reopening Q&A for Retailers with Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

    Retailers! Do you have questions about the reopening your store during COVID-19? Trying to figure out how you should set up your store? Unsure of how to balance personal safety and financial necessity?

    Join us Thursday, 5/28 from 1-2pm when our special guests Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, The Department of Health and retail business owners answer your questions about what’s going on, when it’s happening, what the hold ups are and how to get back to business. Share your questions or concerns with County officials and catch up on how your peers are planning to get back into stores and restoring revenue streams.


    Register for the Retailer Q&A on 5/28 from 1-2pm



  • May 18, 2020 11:38 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    We are living in unprecedented times. Businesses across the country have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 health crisis in an effort to curb the impact of the virus. As employers begin to look at reopening, many are worried that an employee or customer will contract the disease and sue, claiming that they got sick because the business could have done something more to protect the person, despite following the public health guidelines for reopening. This is already happening.


    Employers need assurance that there will be safe harbors in place to protect them from opportunistic lawsuits. Businesses who follow the guidelines issued by public health authorities should be able to safely provide their goods and services without the fear of crippling liability.


    There is no playbook for reopening. Business owners are already facing many challenges in this uncertain economic environment. We need timely, targeted and temporary liability protections to shield employers from legal risk when following the appropriate public health guidelines to protect employees and customers.


    Please tell Congress that liability protections are needed to shield employers from litigation abuse.


     CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY


  • May 13, 2020 2:35 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Reopening Guidance for Phase I

    Many counties across Oregon are preparing to enter into Phase I of reopening. 

    See list of counties who have applied to enter Phase I. 

    Guidance that applies statewide, immediately:

         The Public

         Outdoor Recreation


    Guidance that applies statewide starting May 15, 2020:

         Employers

         Retail Stores


    Guidance that only applies to counties that enter Phase I:

         Restaurants & Bars

         Personal Services
            Providers

         Malls

         Gyms (guidance
             forthcoming
    )

    Forthcoming guidance that will apply statewide:

    • Childcare
    • Summer school / camps / youth activities
    • Transit

    For more detailed information and industry guidelines, check out this link:

    https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 



  • May 07, 2020 5:33 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In a press briefing earlier today, Governor Kate Brown announced additional details for the Phase I reopening of Oregon. 

    The Governor will begin accepting applications for reopening counties on May 8th. Counties must meet certain criteria to reopen, including:

    1. Declining COVID-19 prevalence 

    2. Minimum Testing Regimen 

    3. Contact Tracing System 

    4. Isolation Facilities 

    5. Finalize Statewide Sector Guidelines 

    6. Sufficient Healthcare Capacity 

    7. Sufficient PPE Supply

    Should counties meet the prerequisites, they can enter into Phase I reopening on May 15th.  After 21 days in Phase I, counties continuing to meet the prerequisites may be able to enter Phase II. 

    Details on Restarting Oregon Public Life and Business


    Watch full press conference


  • May 06, 2020 3:41 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    PPP loans, EIDL advances, SBA loan subsidies not subject to CAT!

    The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax.

    The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department's website.


    Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Allow Chambers to Apply for PPP Loans

    Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), and Greg Steube (R-FL-17) introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 6697) to ensure local chambers of commerce and other nonprofits who support small businesses-and who are not currently eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)-can receive the federal assistance they need to navigate the devastating economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    In a press release from the bill introducing Members, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Neil Bradley was quoted:

    "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act. Local chambers of commerce across the country play a vital role in assisting local businesses weathering the economic storm caused by the coronavirus. Including these organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program ensures they can continue with this important work in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work with Representatives Pappas, Fitzpatrick, and other members of Congress to include local chambers in this important program."


    See the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's coalition letter signed by over 3,700 non-profit organizations urging Congress to make this change.


  • May 06, 2020 3:36 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) announced today that the Board of Directors has voted to join the Save Small Business Coalition.

    In a meeting held on Monday, May 4th, the Board unanimously voted to join the Coalition.
     Several local Oregon chambers were founding members of this effort. The Save Small Business Coalition has aligned their efforts with over 100 chambers and business associations nationwide to create America's Recovery Fund Coalition: americasrecoveryfund.org

    OSCC encourages chambers to learn more about the Save Small Business Coalition and how they can be part of this effort. 

    For more information about the Save Small Business Coalition, please contact:

    • Lorraine ClarnoPresident/CEO of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce at lorraine@beaverton.org 
    • Janet Steele, President/CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce at jsteele@albanychamber.com


  • April 25, 2020 11:00 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Dear OSCC members and colleagues -

    The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on our economy. Small businesses have been applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans authorized under the CARES Act, as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Emergency Grants for support during this time. Due to the need for these programs, funds have been quickly exhausted.

    We need swift bipartisan action NOW to bolster these programs and help our most vulnerable small businesses survive.

    Also, Congress is in the final stages of negotiating additional funding for the CARES Act.  Inclusion of all non-profits in the Paycheck Protection Program remains an open issue. Please call your Senators to urge them to include 501(c)(6) non-profits.  

    • Senator Wyden - (202) 224-5244
    • Senator Merkley - (202) 224-3753


  • April 17, 2020 11:20 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

    Am I ELIGIBLE?

    HOW MUCH does the program pay and for how long?

    PUA pays the same weekly benefits as your regular state unemployment insurance (UI) program, but the benefits are 100% federally funded. PUA benefits are available for up to 39 weeks.

    This program expires on December 31, 2020.

    Through July 31, 2020, recipients of unemployment compensation will receive an additional $600 per week on top of the state-calculated benefit.

    According to the Department of Labor: “An individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income also may qualify for PUA benefits if he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities” is eligible.

    NOTE: Receipt of a PPP loan may impact your ability to collect unemployment insurance.

    Oregon Unemployment Insurance Program

    General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program:

    https://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Unemployment/Pages/default.aspx

    To file a UI claim online:

    https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20161026A115006B48721263.5255&lang=E

    To apply by phone:
    http://findit.emp.state.or.us/ocs/ui-center-lookup/
    To check the status or get information on your claim:
    https://ssl8.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20090409A135628B981286.346099&lang=E

    Coronavirus update: Oregon is providing updates on Unemployment Insurance changes related to COVID-19 here:
    https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx


    SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)

    HOW DO I APPLY?

    Apply for an EIDL loan at SBA.gov/disaster

    Am I ELIGIBLE?

    What are the loan TERMS, CAPS, and PARAMETERS?

    How can I access  an emergency  $10,000 GRANT?

    You are eligible to apply for an EIDL loan as an independent contractor or self-employed person. NOTE: As of April 15, 2020, the EIDL program was running out funds, so loans were only being approved up to $15,000, and emergency grants were limited to $1,000 per employee up to $10,000. Congress may replenish funding, in which case this guide will be updated.

    • The maximum EIDL is a $2 million working capital loan at a rate of 3.75% (up to a 30-year term) Payments on Coronavirus EIDL loans are deferred for one year Up to $200,000 can be approved without a personal guarantee Approval can be based on a credit score and no first-year tax returns are required Borrowers do not have to prove they could not get credit elsewhere No collateral is required for loans of $25,000 or less For loans of more than $25,000, general security interest in business assets will be used for collateral instead of real estate The borrowers must allow the SBA to review its tax records

    Eligible applicants for an EIDL may receive up to a $10,000 emergency grant within three days of submitting their application (through Dec. 31). There is no obligation to repay the grant. Applicants who are denied an EIDL loan are still eligible to receive the $10,000 emergency grant. If you secure a PPP loan, the $10,000 grant will be subtracted from the forgiveness amount NOTE: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act prohibits borrowers from taking out two loans for the same purpose.

    Prepared by the U.S, Chamber of Commerce


  • April 17, 2020 11:00 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, you may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and/or Unemployment Compensation for losses of income related to the coronavirus pandemic.

    If you are an independent contractor or are self employed and don't have any employees, here's what you need to know about each program.     

    Am I eligible?

    • You are eligible to apply for a PPP loan as an independent contractor or self-employed individual who has been or will be harmed by the pandemic if all of the following are true:

    1. You were in operation on February 15, 2020,

    2. Your primary place of residence is the United States

    3. You filed or will file a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2019 showing self-employment income.

    NOTE: The SBA will issue additional guidance for those individuals with self-employment income who were not in operation in 2019 but were in operation on February 15, 2020. NOTE: As of April 16, 2020, the PPP program was running out funds. Congress may replenish funding; in which case this guide will be updated.

    What will lenders BE LOOKING FOR?

    • First, you will need to fill out the PPP application available on the Treasury’s Website (click here). You also will need all of the following:
    • 1. Your 2019 1040 Schedule C (even if you haven’t filed it with the IRS yet)
    • 2. A 2019 1099-MISC, invoice, bank statement, or book of record that shows you were self-employed in 2019
    • 3. A 2020 invoice, bank statement, or book of record establishing that you were in operation on or around February 15, 2020       

    How much can I BORROW?
    • For most independent contractors, calculating your PPP borrowing limit is a 3-step process:
    • Step 1: Find line 31 on your 2019 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C  (If you haven’t filed yet for 2019, go ahead and fill it out).  If the amount on Line 31 is over $100,000, write $100,000.
    • Step 2: Divide the amount from Step 1 by 12.
    • Step 3: Multiply the amount from Step 2 by 2.5. For most borrowers, this will be your maximum PPP loan amount NOTE: If you received an EIDL loan between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020 you can refinance that as part of your PPP loan (minus any amount received as an EIDL grant).
    How can I use my PPP LOAN?
    • You can use your PPP loan to do any of the following:
    • 1. Replace your compensation (based on your 2019 income)
    • 2. Pay interest payments on a mortgage or loan (such as an auto loan) you use to perform your business*
    • 3. Make business rent payments*
    • 4. Make business utility payments*
    • 5. Make interest payments on any other debt incurred before February 15, 2020 (but such amounts are not eligible for loan forgiveness) * You must have claimed a deduction on your 2019 taxes for expenses described in 2, 3, and 4 above.
    How much CAN BE FORGIVEN?
    • Borrowers are eligible to have some, or all of their loan forgiven.
    • How much? An amount equal to how much you spent in the eight weeks following receipt of the loan for:
    • Owner compensation replacement, but not to exceed eight weeks of your 2019 compensation up to $100,000  (8/52 of the 2019 net profit up to $100,000)
    • Plus Interest on mortgages on real or personal property incurred before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Plus Rent on lease agreements in effect before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Plus Utility payments under service agreements dated before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Equals Potential Forgiveness Amount
    • NOTE: Not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-compensation
    What lenders will NOT LOOK FOR
    • • • That the borrower sought and was unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
    • • • A personal guarantee is not required for the loan.
    • • • No collateral is required for the loan

    Loan Terms

    • Payments deferred for six months
    • 1.00% fixed interest rate
    • Loan is due in two years

    IMPORTANT Because many independent contractors do not have deductible expenses for interest, rent, or utilities, their loan forgiveness will be limited to eight weeks’ worth of their 2019 net profit (replacement compensation).

    However, they can borrow 2.5 months’ worth of their 2019 net profit. That is, if an independent contractor borrows the full amount, they may have a loan balance that needs to be repaid.

    Prepared by the U.S, Chamber of Commerce

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