First, please know we have been in constant communication with state and local officials regarding the evolving COVID-19 situation in Texas. We are in contact with the Governor, Lt. Governor, local governments, the Texas Education Agency, the Health and Human Services Commission, the Department of State Health Services, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and many others to receive the latest updates. By doing so, we hope to respond to your questions, needs, and concerns.
I cannot emphasize enough the need for individuals to take personal responsibility and follow the CDC guidance to safeguard the health and safety of our fellow Texans. Our priority is to ensure we stop this virus so we can resume our normal lives. I truly believe Texans are resilient and we will get through this together.
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to businesses and
homeowners. This webpage includes the following:
- Disaster assistance webpage with links to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan online and check application status.
- Guide to the disaster loan process that includes a list of the documents needed to apply.
- A map to find a local disaster field office.
- For additional assistance, the SBA may be contacted at 1-800-659-2955 or [email protected]
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 with the following:
- News releases regarding the tax deadline extension.
- Online resources to help taxpayers with filing and refunds.
U.S. Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has created a resource page with the following information:
- Guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19 including information on the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency provides tips on avoiding cyber scams related to COVID-19.
Office of the Governor – Business Resource Website The Texas Economic Development office under the Office of the Governor has a website dedicated to providing COVID-19 updates, resources, and information for Texas businesses. The page includes the following:
- FAQ’s relating to COVID-19 for Texas businesses.
- Detailed section on how small businesses and private, non-profit organizations can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
- Information on unemployment benefits for those affected by COVID-19, and a link to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) website.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has created a COVID-19 page for employers and jobseekers. Employers, employees, and job seekers can sign up for TWC COVID-19 email updates here. It has detailed sections on the following topics and resources:
- Employees and Job Seekers
- Unemployment Benefits
- Unemployment Benefit Claim Self-Service
- Precautions for Employees
- Child Care & Earl Learning COVID-19 Information
Texas Department of Insurance
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has a COVID-19 resource page. Businesses are encouraged to check with their agent or carrier regarding specific questions about their policy or coverage. TDI has information on the following:
- Guidance to Industry: Information on regulatory relief and waiver action taken by the Governor and the Insurance Commissioner.
- Texas health insurers waiving cost-sharing: Lists which health insurers and HMOS’s that are waiving consumer costs for medically-necessary testing of COVID-19, some of which are also offering telemedicine at no cost to consumers.
- Business insurance, such as business interruption insurance, event cancelation insurance, and general liability insurance.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a resource page with the following:
- Workplace tips for employees
- Guidance for employers to help prevent workplace exposure while continuing operations.
- Small business guide that includes resources and tips.
- Communications toolkit to assist businesses using social media, websites, and other resources.
National Federation of Independent Business
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has a COVID-19 resource page that includes:
- Financial resources including information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
- Tips on how small businesses can prepare for COVID-19.
- Legislative updates on COVID-19.
- Comptroller Hegar announces waivers of penalties and interest for many businesses struggling to pay February sales taxes.
- If you have a fever or symptoms, call your doctor. If you cannot afford to be tested or treated for COVID-19, call the statewide hotline to access info on how you can be treated at a public or nonprofit health facility. Statewide Hotline: 2-11 or https://www.211texas.org/.
- Residential eviction proceedings have been temporarily suspended unless there is a threat of physical harm or criminal activity.
- If you have lost your job or even if your hours have been reduced, you may qualify for unemployment insurance.
- Governor Abbott also granted the Department of Public Service (DPS) the authority to extend the expiration of a Texas driver’s license, identification card, election identification certificate and vehicle registrations for the duration of the State of Disaster declaration.
- Many broadband and telephone providers have taken a Federal Communication Commission pledge to waive late fees, not to terminate services, and open up new wi-fi hotspots for residents for the next 60 days. Several Texas cable companies including
Suddenlink, Charter and Comcast are providing free internet for K-12 students for 60 days.
- Employees affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), can apply for benefits online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS). UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week or employees can call the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
- Governor Abbott also announced that the state is waiving STAAR testing requirements for this year.
- US Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have extended the tax deadline 90 days, from April 15th. However, if you expect a refund, it is recommended you file your taxes sooner than later so the IRS can start paying processing returns.
- Governor Abbott has activated the Texas National Guard to be prepared to assist with response efforts. This will allow the National Guard to ensure that its personnel will be available to assist in various forms throughout the state, be it building additional hospital capacity or delivering needed supplies in worse impacted areas.
- Governor Abbott has requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration implement a declaration to provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for the entire state. For more information visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) website. Business owners will be directed to the SBA website where they can apply for assistance.
- Here are a few sites where you can find up to date and relevant information:
- Texas Education Agency: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-
schools/safe-and-healthy- schools/coronavirus-covid-19- support-and-guidance
- Texas Dept. Of Health & Humans Services: https://hhs.texas.gov/
- Center For Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/
- Texas Education Agency: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-
If you have a fever or symptoms, call your doctor. If you cannot afford to be tested or treated for COVID-19, call the statewide hotline to access info on how you can be treated at a public or nonprofit health facility. Statewide Hotline: 2-11 or https://www.211texas.org/.
Experts predict the number of COVID-19 cases to go up “exponentially” in the coming days as testing is increased. It is recommended that people who have private insurance use their primary care physician to order a test. If you feel that you may have COVID-19 and meet the criteria for being at risk, the CDC website outlines the process https://dshs.texas.gov/
These recommendations are designed to reduce widespread outbreak and are for the benefit of our entire community. Our goal is to keep our citizens as healthy as possible, and for those who are impacted to receive the highest quality of medical care. If we work together, we will achieve this goal.
Measures are being implemented to mitigate the effect of the outbreak in different sectors of our society.
As the info is ever changing, please do follow us on social media as well. Share with those that may also not be on our email blast list. Staying informed can help us all stay connected.
During this time as always, my office is ready to serve you in any way we can. My cellphone number is (214) 632-1391 and our office number is (512) 463-0102 or (972) 722-3131.