COVID-19 March 24 Daily Update
After we sent out yesterday’s COVID-19 update, which included an urgent plea for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our healthcare providers on the front line, we got some good news.
Arkansas State Chamber member Northwest Arkansas Community Collegedonated 12,000 masks and 9,100 gloves to fellow State Chamber members UAMS and Mercy Hospital. Perhaps other two and four-year colleges and trade schools that offer programs for healthcare professions might have similar supplies they might be willing to donate. If so, please email [email protected].
Yesterday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson held his COVID-19 daily press conference and spoke of an anticipated significant revenue shortfall in the coming months. He said he’s planning to call a Special Session of the Arkansas Legislature soon to deal with that. When the Special Session convenes, the State Chamber/AIA will be providing pertinent information to our members with our Daily Legislative Update.
Speaking of the Governor and his Administration, we want to commend him for his daily briefings and the Administration’s efforts on many levels to deal with this burgeoning crisis. Gov. Hutchinson has been a calm, forthright and reassuring influence during this time and we want to thank him for his steady leadership. The State Chamber/AIA has been in regular contact with the Governor, providing input regarding the importance of state businesses and industry in dealing with COVID-19.
The State Chamber/AIA has also been following the Governor’s daily press conferences closely, taking detailed notes and publishing summaries of each day’s press conference on our website. Hereis the summary of yesterday’s press conference. There’s also a link at the bottom of the summary if you want to watch the entire press conference on YouTube.
Also, on the state level, Arkansas is working diligently to provide resources to workers needing to apply for unemployment insurance. Contact can be made by calling a hotline number, 844-908-2178 or by clicking here. Please do not go to workforce centers to sign up for unemployment benefits.
On the federal level, we remain hopeful that the Senate will soon pass and the President will sign a nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill. Stay tuned for future details on that.
Also, on the federal level, one of the organizations that the State Chamber/AIA is affiliated with, the National Association of Manufacturers, has been extremely busy advocating on behalf of business and industry. Below is a recent update from them:
Manufacturers Fighting for, Winning Essential Business Designations
At the urging of the NAM, last week the federal government declared manufacturing an essential industry. The NAM held a teleconference call with the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency officials to discuss the latest developments across the country as states take their own positions on what industries are deemed essential to the workforce. TheIllinois Manufacturers’ Association and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, two of the NAM’s state partners, were critical to winning broad “essential” designations for manufacturers in those states. The NAM continues to help members address the troublesome restrictions in Pennsylvania (see NAM’S letter to the governor here) while working with other state partners in states like Minnesota, North Carolina, Florida and Kentucky—among other places—to help ensure manufacturers’ ability to deliver their essential work.
View federal guidance from DHS here.
Labor Department Announces 30-Day Compliance Window for COVID-19 Relief Bill
The Department of Labor announced that it will issue a non-enforcement policy for 30 days after the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed into law on March 18, goes into effect. The 30-day period will give manufacturers time to come into compliance with the law, and the DOL will focus on compliance assistance rather than enforcement for manufacturers that have acted in good faith to comply.
To learn more about the FFCRA and the new paid leave requirements for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, see the DOL’s announcementhere.
For additional information and resources, check our COVID-19 Coronavirus and Arkansas page here.