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Houston COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 arrived in the Houston region in March and has since caused serious disruption to the Houston economy. This page is designed to provide resources and information concerning the virus to businesses and individuals in our region. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available. 

Gov. Abbott's Report to Open Texas

In late April, Governor Abbott released the Report to Open Texas, which laid out a plan for reopening closed businesses across the state in a phased approach. The plan allowed many customer-oriented businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, to reopen in May with restrictions on capacity in place. Subsequent executive orders have established reopening guidelines for other sectors. Access the full report via the link below and find updated guidance for specific industries.

Work Safe Resources for Houston Area Employers

As the Houston region moves to reopen our economy, it is important that we do so safely, sustainability and successfully. Get best practices, tools and guidance from the Partnership's Houston Work Safe Program and take the pledge to be a Work Safe Company. 

These guidelines and resources are intended to support businesses across the greater Houston region as they reopen and remain focused on the steps needed to resume work safely, sustainably and successfully.

The Partnership has developed this resource to provide a step-by-step process for how to respond to work-related cases. The document also addresses key legal considerations when taking these steps and the advantages and disadvantages for utilizing digital data management tools.

The Partnership has created a repository of tools and guidance for regional employers by sector. 

To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

Provides guidance and other resources for preventing exposures to, and infection with, the novel coronavirus in the workplace. 

Federal Resources

Financial and other resources tied to federal aid packages. 

The EIDL program was created to assist businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters

The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion.

The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has provided this guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, as provided for under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), as amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (Flexibility Act). 

Enable small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA is offering all designated states and territories a variety of additional resources to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as as a result of COVID-19.

The Community Advantage Recovery Loan Program (CARL) is a pilot program to increase SBA-guaranteed loans to small businesses in underserved areas. It is intended to help these small businesses revamp their operations for the COVID-19 environment and/or to build financial resiliency against future disruptions though technical and financial assistance. The Main Street Lending Program is available to for-profit and non-profit businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

State & Local Resources

Relief programs and other resources from the State of Texas and local government. 

The Office of the Texas Governor provides COVID-19 updates, resources, and information for Texas businesses.

The City of Houston's $15 million small business recovery program for those impacted by COVID-19. Businesses and chambers of commerce within Houston city limits may be eligible for up to $50,000 in relief. Funds may be utilized for payroll, rent, mortgage, protective equipment for employees, marketing, accounts payable and other specific recovery efforts. 

Harris County is accepting applications for its $30 million grant program targeting lower income businesses with 30 or fewer employees. The program offers grants up to $25,000 to qualifying businesses, prioritizing those which have not received prior financial assistance related to COVID-19. The deadline to apply is July 24 at 3:30pm CT.

With 14 locations, the University of Houston Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network open and available to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Texas Association of Business is working to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact.

The Houston Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders provides a list of all approved SBA lenders in the Greater Houston area.

The Texas COVID Relief Fund will provide critical funding and resources to organizations across the state working on the ground to support the economic recovery of local communities. Funds raised will be distributed through grants focused on the areas of community and economic development, healthcare, and education.

Additional Resources for Employers

Resources for small businesses compiled by the U.S. Chamber including toolkits, financial relief options. 

With an in-depth understanding of the local labor pool and regional opportunities, Workforce Solutions provide the resources, intelligence, and tools businesses need to navigate the local market and build, retain, and upskill their workforce.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs.

SCORE is offering advice and assistance from its business mentors, including how to navigate financial challenges during unprecedented challenges.

Businesses that file a WARN notice can receive immediate early intervention assistance designed to transition workers to their next employment as soon as possible. Rapid Response services are tailored to each company, based on the needs of the affected employees.

The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.

The Texas Workforce Commission continues to provide up-to-date resources for employers to withstand a slowdown in business due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has created a small business resource center for COVID-19 that provides updates on initiatives to mitigate unexpected financial losses.

Reopen Houston Monitoring Dashboard

Reopening successfully will require maintaining a fine balance between public health vigilance and economic recovery. To monitor this balance, the Partnership has established this dashboard in collaboration with the Texas Medical Center. The dashboard includes a compilation of critical metrics spanning healthcare factors, economic metrics and local measures of citizen activity. A combined reading of these metrics can inform state and local elected officials and business leaders as we navigate the path to recovery.

Houston-Area School Reopening Plans

The safe reopening of Houston area schools is critical to our region’s ongoing economic recovery. Parents and their employers need to have a clear sense of when school districts will begin offering in-person instruction to effectively make their own plans. That said, the health and safety of our children, teachers and staff should be the paramount concern. The Partnership has compiled the reopening plans of area districts to help companies in the region make informed decisions.

Houston Business Barometer Week 19: 21% of Companies Say Outlook Better This Week Than Last

Twenty-one percent of companies responding to the Partnership’s latest Business Barometer Survey say their outlook is better this week than it was last week. About 10% of respondents say their outlook is worse this week compared with a week ago. 

Of those who said their outlook is improving, about half said they have seen an increase in revenue compared with last week, and just over half say they are considering increasing or moving their business online. 

Work Safe 2.0: 15 Principles to Guide Houston's Reopen Effort

The Partnership has established these 15 principles for companies that are operating now or preparing to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Census and The Coronavirus

The Houston region's ability to recover from the pandemic depends greatly on the resources available to our community. Federal funding to support healthcare, education, infrastructure and other critical services depend on an accurate count of our region. Census results also determine political representation. Unfortunately, the Houston region’s response rate to the 2020 Census is trailing behind the nation. If you haven’t already, please fill out the Census via the link below. To learn more about the impact of the Census on the Houston region click here

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