If Not Now, When? Immigration Reform At A Time Of National Crisis

By: Brad Williams, Vice President, Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber

“We have the responsibility to (secure the border), but we cannot blame everything on border security. The more we do that, the more we talk ourselves into a false solution,” said former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference.

He went on to add: “If we are 100 percent successful at sealing our border and sealing overstays of visas, then God help us, then we’ll see what a real recession is like.”

With our country in the midst of a recession like nothing we have seen before because of COVID-19, advocates for meaningful immigration reform are a raising key question that strikes at the heart of the effectiveness of our federal government at this point in time.

If not now, when?

Yet amid a time of national crisis, some in the current administration appears to be attempting to shut down one of our biggest economic tools when we need innovation, talent, and job creation more than ever.

The U.S. Chamber recently filed a lawsuit aiming to convince President Trump and his administration to pull back on restrictive immigration policies that threaten to strip our country of one of its historical competitive advantages. It is further evidence of a growing frustration among business leaders partisanship overwhelming meaningful policy, something that dates back years.

That comes on the heels of a different lawsuit filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that forced the administration to rescind a policy that would have banned international students from staying in the U.S. if their college or university held classes virtually in the fall.

Clearly the politics around immigration have not only stymied long called for reforms, such as revising the visa system to better suit employers’ needs, but have actually started to move toward more restrictive policies.

For business leaders, the region’s and country’s economic recovery from the pandemic must be inclusive to be successful.

In July, the Chamber partnered with city and county leaders, the New American Economy, and Global Detroit to release a report highlighting how immigrants are essential to the region’s COVID-19 response, and its economic recovery.

In 2018, for instance, immigrants had $12.3 billion in spending power and comprised more than 11.7% of all health care workers.

The math is clear amid consistent support and calls for action.

In February, the Detroit Regional Chamber also signed on to the Michigan Compact on Immigration which outlines five principles to guide the discussion in our state.

The Compact very clearly calls on the federal government to take this issue head-on, putting politics aside and charting a sensible path forward that empowers immigrants to strengthen the economy and our competitiveness.

The signatories represent more than 20,000 companies and more than one million employees and calls for a federal immigration system that responds to the needs of Michigan employers and workers in a time when talent attraction and retention are critical to the state’s economic growth.

Of course, back in 2013, Secretary Gutierrez wasn’t alone.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also made the economic case for reforms as the topic was central to discussing Michigan’s competitiveness in the 21st century.

“A path to residency should be made easier so that these great catalytic converters of sustained economic growth pursue their dreams in this country rather than be trained here and shipped back to their country of origin to be our economic competitors,” said Governor Bush.

Unfortunately, the political gridlock since then has resulted in another seven years of stalled reform.

If not then, perhaps now the overdue change will come, as the country deals with a global pandemic that’s challenging it in unprecedented ways.

Walsh Offers Students Choice, Flexibility For Fall 2020 Semester

TROY, Mich., May 21, 2020 — Walsh’s fall semester will be focused on flexibility. Students will have the choice to attend classes on ground, online (asynchronously or in real time) or a hybrid option combining online and on-ground attendance. Academic and student services will continue to be offered virtually, with in-person access available by appointment. Student Life meetings and events will continue with options for students to participate in person with limited available reservations and unlimited virtual access. Food service will be unavailable and community and corporate event rentals will remain on hold. On-ground classes will be moved into larger spaces to ensure proper social distancing. The percentage of on-ground classes that will be offered is being finalized.

All Walsh students receive a free Zoom Pro account when they enroll in classes and have access to the Navigate app, which allows them to schedule appointments with academic advisors, form study groups with classmates and receive reminders to help them stay on track with classes.

“Walsh is known for flexibility and this fall will be no different,” said Marsha Kelliher, President and CEO. “We are ready to welcome new, continuing and guest students. We will be following federal and state guidelines for safety and are poised to flip to 100 percent remote delivery within 24 hours if the need arises.”

Remote learning allows students to attend class and participate from anywhere in the world. There is no difference between Walsh’s internationally and nationally ranked online programs and those delivered remotely, on ground, or in any combination. Students receive the same curriculum from faculty with decades of real world experience, in a way that fits their individual needs.

For more information, visit www.walshcollege.edu/coronavirus

# # #

ABOUT WALSH
Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of Southeast Michigan’s largest graduate business schools, offering classes in several locations and online. Our nationally-ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, human resources, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

COVID-19 Update: Federal Government Debuts Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Michigan Extends Tax Deadline, and More

March 19, 2020

DBusiness

R.J. King

The Detroit Regional Chamber is launching a COVID-19 Tele-Town Hall Series to address concerns and disruptions caused by the coronavirus. The regular Tele-Town Halls will feature state federal leaders at the front lines of policy change as well as subject matter experts who can help regional business navigate the risks. Following each presentation, there will be a question and answer session with the guest speaker.

Confirmed speakers include Jeff Donofrio from the State of Michigan, Brian Calley, from the Small Business Association of Michigan, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, and U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens. Chamber leaders will moderate each session.

Friday, March 20 | 11:30 a.m.: Jeff Donofrio, the director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will discuss the expansion of unemployment benefits and strategies for businesses to support employees.

Monday, March 23 | 11:30 a.m.: Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, will focus on the local and federal support available to small businesses, specifically the U.S. Small Business

Association Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), and additional support to tap into.

All Tele-Town Halls and information on them can be accessed here.

The Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Center can be found here.

Read the original article here.

Small Businesses Association Funding Information

The Latest: SBA Disaster Recovery Loans Available Soon for COVID-19

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 6074) expanded the Small Business Act’s definition of a disaster to include Coronavirus (COVID-19).  As a result, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) under a Governor’s Certification Disaster Declaration.

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer formally requested the SBA to issue an Economic Injury Disaster declaration for the state. Once approved by the SBA, $1 billion in low-interest loans will become available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An SBA Economic Injury Disaster declaration will make disaster loans of up to $2 million available to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. We expect the declaration to be approved within the next 24 hours.

Key Economic Injury Disaster Loan Details to Know: 

  • Unlike regular SBA loans, these are direct SBA loans to businesses.  (Regular SBA loans are private bank loans (re: via Wells Fargo), but are then guaranteed by SBA.)  Direct SBA loans can be processed much faster.
  • Loans can be used for general operations…so useful to maintain operations during a downturn such as now.
  • Max loan amount:  $2 million with an interest rate of  3.75% with a max loan length of30 yrs.
  • No payment(s) required for the first year of the loan (but interest charges will start accruing)

The SBA now has authority for a nationwide disaster – something that has never before been granted for a virus or illness. States must opt-in this disaster declaration in order for their businesses to be eligible for the loan program. Information on this is in Lansing and the Chamber, Small Business Association of Michigan, and other partner organizations are advocating for this on behalf of our members.

In the interim, small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans are encouraged to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. It is also helpful for small businesses to contact the Michigan SBA Office to speak to the hardship they’re facing as SBA can then use this to expedite the data gathering process. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for additional information.

 

Small Business Taxes

Today, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced that small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment.

Effective immediately, small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days.

Specific information about Treasury providing tax assistance to small businesses due to COVID-19 can be found in SUW Penalty and Interest Waiver Notice.

Treasury: Small Business Taxpayers Provided Tax Assistance

Small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Effective immediately, small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days. Read more. 

TechTown launches emergency fund for Detroit small businesses

TechTown is launching the Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund to support the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19. In an effort to accelerate access to capital for Detroit’s most vulnerable businesses, TechTown — in partnership with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), and Invest Detroit — will administer working capital grants in amounts of up to $5,000 to qualifying small businesses.
TechTown is raising $250,000 for the fund to ensure that eligible applicants are supported as they navigate challenging times. The fund is part of a layered strategy that includes a continuum of support for businesses. It is modeled after a similar initiative recently launched in Seattle. Application instructions will be made available later this week at techtowndetroit.org. Donations to the fund can be made here.

The Detroit Regional Chamber has started compiling information for a COVID-19 business resource center, explore the latest updates and resources available, including small business resources.

For any questions, please contact Devon O’Reilly at doreilly@detroitchamber.com.

 

Small Businesses Association Funding Information

The Latest: SBA Disaster Recovery Loans Available Soon for COVID-19

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 6074) expanded the Small Business Act’s definition of a disaster to include Coronavirus (COVID-19).  As a result, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) under a Governor’s Certification Disaster Declaration.

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer formally requested the SBA to issue an Economic Injury Disaster declaration for the state. Once approved by the SBA, $1 billion in low-interest loans will become available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An SBA Economic Injury Disaster declaration will make disaster loans of up to $2 million available to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.


Governor Whitmer announces SBA loans now available for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fact Sheet – Michigan

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources


The SBA now has authority for a nationwide disaster – something that has never before been granted for a virus or illness. States must opt-in this disaster declaration in order for their businesses to be eligible for the loan program. Information on this is in Lansing and the Chamber, Small Business Association of Michigan, and other partner organizations are advocating for this on behalf of our members.

In the interim, small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans are encouraged to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. It is also helpful for small businesses to contact the Michigan SBA Office to speak to the hardship they’re facing as SBA can then use this to expedite the data gathering process. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for additional information.

 

Small Business Taxes

Today, the Michigan Department of Treasury announced that small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment.

Effective immediately, small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days.

Specific information about Treasury providing tax assistance to small businesses due to COVID-19 can be found in SUW Penalty and Interest Waiver Notice.

Treasury: Small Business Taxpayers Provided Tax Assistance

Small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Effective immediately, small businesses scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 30 days. Read more. 

TechTown launches emergency fund for Detroit small businesses

TechTown is launching the Detroit Small Business Stabilization Fund to support the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19. In an effort to accelerate access to capital for Detroit’s most vulnerable businesses, TechTown — in partnership with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), and Invest Detroit — will administer working capital grants in amounts of up to $5,000 to qualifying small businesses.

TechTown is raising $250,000 for the fund to ensure that eligible applicants are supported as they navigate challenging times. The fund is part of a layered strategy that includes a continuum of support for businesses. It is modeled after a similar initiative recently launched in Seattle. Application instructions will be made available later this week at techtowndetroit.org. Donations to the fund can be made here.

The Detroit Regional Chamber has started compiling information for a COVID-19 business resource center, explore the latest updates and resources available, including small business resources.

For any questions, please contact Devon O’Reilly at doreilly@detroitchamber.com.

 

Social Distancing Reality, Methods to Help You Remain Productive While Working Remotely

Why Social Distancing Matters

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by Public Health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Given the global spread and growing cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, many businesses are encouraging or enforcing work from home or remote policies. These policies will be effective in social distancing, which is being highly recommended by both health and government officials to #FlattentheCurve.

Learn more about why and how to flatten the curve from The Washington Post

Teal: Healthy | Orange: Sick | Purple: Recovered


Be Productive While Working Remote

Working remotely can be difficult for some, but there are ways to increase productivity and improve productivity levels overall.

Create Your Workspace

Find an effective place to set up the workspace that you will treat as your “desk” during working hours. Avoid places such as the couch, bed, or sitting in front of the television that could easily make you unproductive the more comfortable you are.

If you do not have a spare bedroom or office, find a spot that is not smack dab in the center of the action such as the kitchen counter or dining table.

Communication, Communication, Communication

When communicating from a distance with your employees and team, it is important to take these skills to the next level. Communication is the glue of any great organization. There are a lot of great technologies and programs, companies already have installed that can improve workplace communications. Microsoft Teams, for example, has a great team call feature that makes meeting remotely effortless.

Time Management is Key

It takes a high level of discipline to have good habits to effectively manage your time, especially while in an environment you are not used to working in. Working remotely can often be distracting, it is important to learn ways to manage your time and stay on track.

  • Delegate tasks when needed
  • Take regular breaks
  • Start early in the day
  • Avoid multitasking when possible (ignore at-home tasks and don’t try to do laundry while working)
  • Set clear deadlines


Stay Organized

Starting your day by organizing what you need to get done and keeping a checklist that you mark off throughout the day will help stay on track.

  • Make a list
  • Find your peak hours
  • Keep your calendar up to date
  • Structure your day as you would in the office


Be Semi-Formal

The mental association you make between work and going into an “office” can make you more productive. Keep this mindset when working from home and practice the same morning routine you normally would – set your alarm, make coffee, wear nice clothes, etc.

Stay focused, stay committed, and keep your company’s mission in mind as you would when working from the office.

Learn from Success Stories

Robert Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners, built a 177 employee remote work culture at his company. Read his thoughts on how your company can thrive in this enviornment.

Jessica Lipnack, expert on remote team management and digital collaboration, joins The Market That Moves America podcast. Click here to listen to this episode on how to manage your team or company switch from face-to-face to working virtually.

COVID-19: What You Need to Know

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the U.S. and cases in Michigan increase, it is important to remain calm and informed on the status and threats. Over the past week, Gov. Whitmer has declared a state of emergency, confirmed cases in Michigan have increased to 12, and state and local officials are recommending social distancing – limiting events and gatherings and closing schools. Read the latest updates for Michigan.

Preparedness, awareness, and education are key during these uncertain times to avoid panic. COVID-19 is not slowing anytime soon, but there are ways to contain the virus.

These are the top 10 things to know, sourced from The Conversation:

1. We know what it is

The first cases of AIDS were described in June 1981 and it took more than two years to identify the virus (HIV) causing the disease. With COVID-19, the first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019, and by January 7 the virus had already been identified. The genome was available on day 10.

We already know that it is a new coronavirus from group 2B, of the same family as SARS, which we have called SARSCoV2. The disease is called COVID-19. It is thought to be related to coronavirus from bats. Genetic analyses have confirmed it has a recent natural origin (between the end of November and the beginning of December) and that, although viruses live by mutating, its mutation rate may not be very high.

2. We know how to detect the virus

Since January 13, a test to detect the virus has been available.

*Note, health professionals and officials in Michigan have access to conduct 1,300 tests. They are actively working with the CDC to obtain additional testing.

3. The situation is improving in China

The strong control and isolation measures imposed by China are paying off. For several weeks now, the number of cases diagnosed every day is decreasing. A very detailed epidemiological follow-up is being carried out in other countries; outbreaks are very specific to areas, which can allow them to be controlled more easily.

4. 80% of cases are mild

The disease causes no symptoms or is mild in 81% of cases. Of course, at 14% it can cause severe pneumonia and in 5% it can become critical or even fatal. It is still unclear what the death rate may be. But it could be lower than some estimates so far.

5. People recover

Much of the reported data relates to the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but most infected people are cured. There are 13 times more cured cases than deaths, and that proportion is increasing.

Recoveries per day. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

6. Symptoms appear mild in children

Only 3% of cases occur in people under 20, and mortality under 40 is only 0.2%. Symptoms are so mild in children it can go unnoticed.

7. The virus can be wiped clean

The virus can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just one minute. Frequent handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.

8. Science is on it, globally

It is the age of international science cooperation. After just over a month, 164 articles could be accessed in PubMed on COVID19 or SARSCov2, as well as many others available in repositories of articles not yet reviewed. They are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, clinical aspects, etc.

These articles were written by some 700 authors, distributed throughout the planet. It is cooperative science, shared and open. In 2003, with the SARS epidemic, it took more than a year to reach less than half that number of articles. In addition, most scientific journals have left their publications as open access to the subject of coronaviruses.

9. There are already vaccine prototypes

Our ability to design new vaccines is spectacular. There are already more than eight projects underway seeking a vaccine against the new coronavirus. There are groups that work on vaccination projects against similar viruses.

The vaccine group of the University of Queensland, in Australia, has announced it is already working on a prototype using the technique called “molecular clamp”, a novel technology. This is just one example that could allow vaccine production in record time. Prototypes may soon be tested on humans.

10. Antiviral trials are underway

Vaccines are preventive. Right now, the treatment of people who are already sick is important. There are already more than 80 clinical trials analyzing coronavirus treatments. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, which are already approved and that we know are safe.

One of those that has already been tested in humans is remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral still under study, which has been tested against Ebola and SARS/MERS.

Another candidate is chloroquine, an antimalarial that has also been seen to have potent antiviral activity. It is known that chloroquine blocks viral infection by increasing the pH of the endosome, which is needed for the fusion of the virus with the cell, thus inhibiting its entry. It has been demonstrated that this compound blocks the new coronavirus in vitro and it is already being used in patients with coronavirus pneumonia.

Other proposed trials are based on the use of oseltamivir (which is used against the influenza virus), interferon-1b (protein with antiviral function), antisera from people who recovered or monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus. New therapies have been proposed with inhibitory substances, such as baricitinibine, selected by artificial intelligence.

The 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks. Could something similar happen now? Probably not; we have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.

Content for this blog post is from The Conversation, by Catesby Holmes, global affairs editor.

COVID-19: Employers Resources and Updates

Coronavirus Employer Resources 


The Latest – [Updated 3/16/20, 11:30 a.m.]
The outbreak of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, originating from Wuhan, China has spread to 100+ countries, with 174,000+ cases,  6,700+ deaths, and 77,000+ recoveries from the virus. Governments have closed borders and implemented quarantines, while companies have imposed travel restrictions. The impacts of Coronavirus on businesses are being observed globally. The World Health Organization has designated coronavirus a pandemic, a disease with widespread global distribution.

  • March 16: Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-9, which temporarily closes theaters, bars, and casinos, and limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders. Effective Monday, March 16 at 3:00pm, the following places of public accommodation will be closed; restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos. Order restrictions will remain in place until Monday, March 30 at 11:59 pm.
  • March 15: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 20 new presumed positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This brings the state total of COVID-19 cases to 53.
  • March 15: Executive Order 2020-8 was signed which temporarily imposes enhanced restrictions on the excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies, and consumer food items.
  • March 13: Following his declaration of a national emergency, the President said the administration would free up $50 billion in additional funding to combat the escalating crisis.
  • March 13: Executive Order 2020-5 was signed requiring all events over 250 people and all assemblages in shared spaces over 250 people to cancel beginning March 13  at 5 p.m. through April 5 at 5 p.m.
  • March 12:  Gov. Whitmer announced that in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 (due to 10 new confirmed cases), she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings, public, private, and boarding, starting Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6. Read more.
  • March 11: MDHHS provided interim recommendations for COVID-19 community mitigation strategies.
  • March 10: Gov. Whitmer declares a state of emergency for Michigan to aid in response to two confirmed cases – one in Oakland County and one in Wayne County. The state’s coronavirus task force will meet Wednesday, March 11 to decide what next steps should be taken.
  • March 3: The State of Michigan creates four task forces to combat the spread of coronavirus and assess the impact it may have on Michiganders’ day-to-day lives.
  • Feb. 28: Gov. Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to coordinate state-government resources.
  • Feb. 3: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC) to support state and local response

Today, the overall threat to the general public and in the U.S. remains low, but we recommend approaching this emerging threat to public health with an abundance of caution.

Disruptions to Business
At this time, there is no reason to overreact, but businesses should be taking precautions. The American Chamber of Commerce, based in China, has released the findings of a flash survey measuring the impact of Coronavirus on its members. Over 150 companies responded to the survey, reporting travel disruptions, reduced staff productivity, in addition to increased costs and reduced revenues. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said its economic team is tracking the virus’s impacts on the global economy, which continues to rapidly evolve.

Meanwhile, concerns are rising among businesses and employers across the U.S. regarding the well-being of employees and their productivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has interim guidance for businesses and employers to utilize in response to Coronavirus. Businesses are encouraged to share tips with their employees that will help prevent the spread of germs and infectious diseases.

Employers: View these recommendations and consider the following: 

  • Determine whether flex working is an option and review policies.
  • Create employee communication plans for the latest information.
  • Decide how to handle spikes in absenteeism – in some communities schools may be dismissed or families may need to take care of sick family members.
  • Coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can be provided.
  • Make a business continuity plan and be prepared to change your practices if need to maintain critical operations.
  • Encourage workplace hygiene.

Measures to take to Remain Healthy 

The Detroit Regional Chamber has provided a set of preventative measures and recommendations to its employees that will aid in minimizing exposure to respiratory infections, such as Coronavirus/COVID-19:

  1. Keep hands clean
    Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds often, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose, going to the restroom, and before consuming food.
  2. Remain home when sick
    Please stay home when sick with respiratory disease symptoms and communicate with your supervisor to determine whether working from home is an option.
  3. Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose or mouth.
  4. Verbally say hello
    Refrain from physical contact. Handshaking, fist-bumping, and elbow bumping have been discouraged by some health professionals.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes
    Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then promptly throw away the tissue.
  6. Be mindful of commonly touched items
    Cover your index finger with a tissue or napkin before pressing the elevator buttons, door handles, coffee service items, etc.
  7. Wipe down personal workspaces regularly
    Wipe down and clean workspaces at least once per week, using the Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and hand sanitizer distributed around the office.
  8. Disinfect meeting areas
    Disinfect the table, chairs, and armrests in conference rooms following each meeting, using the rooms’ supply of Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and hand sanitizer.
  9. Think twice before traveling and review travel advisories
    Before traveling or attending large functions and gatherings consider whether your attendance is essential. Always review travel advisories from the federal government when planning personal and business travel. Review CDC.gov/Travel for destinations with a risk of community spread of COVID-19.

 

Read more preventive measures to take while attending events and the Chamber’s statement regarding the Mackinac Policy Conference.