Please see below for COVID-19 Resources and Info relevant to Chestnut Hill businesses.  Content from CHBA member emails on this topic will be archived here.

  • Last updated 7/3/20
  • Reopening
    • Philadelphia Green Phase Regulations (Reopening Philadelphia With Care). From the City’s Commerce Department: “As Philadelphia plans to move toward the Green Phase of restarting, businesses should reopen with care by following the City’s Safety Checklist, called “Safe Mode,” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
    • Last week, the City released Reopening with Care, Philadelphia’s strategy for moving to the Green Phase of reopening post COVID-19. The Department of Public Health has provided industry-specific reopening guidance for the activities that are newly allowed in the Green Phase beginning July 3 in Philadelphia if targets are met.
    • As businesses reopen, they are encouraged to download, print, and hang THESE informational posters.
    • INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC GUIDANCE: Recommendations for different types of businesses and activities are detailed in a separate set of industry-specific guidelines available HERE.”
    • Send us your reopening hours and plans NOW!  With the announcement of Philadelphia progressing to the Yellow Phase of reopening on June 5, many businesses are solidifying their plans for new hours of operation and finalizing details on what they will be offering starting on that date. The Chestnut Hill Business Association will be assisting its members by marketing Chestnut Hill’s reopening, sharing information on individual business hours/offerings, and supporting necessary business modifications which impact the public right of way. Once you know what you are doing, please submit your information to us using this Google Form: https://forms.gle/FRfYhJiqsLUqmW2x9. This will enable us to meet your needs effectively and get the right information to customers in the coming weeks
    • Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) Update: The City has confirmed that PPA street enforcement in neighborhoods outside of Center City has resumed.
    • Hair Salon and Barbershop Status Clarification:  Barbershops and hair salons are included among the businesses who will be allowed to reopen on June 26. PA’s state regulations still require that those establishments remain closed until their county progresses to the Green Phase.
    • The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce is purchasing “Starter PPE” kits for neighborhood businesses.  The PPE kits will include cloth and disposable masks, hand sanitizer, and floor decals that state “Reopen with Care, please stand here.”  The Chestnut Hill Business District is the local point of contact for ordering and distributing these kits from the City.  Please complete this easy 3-question form as soon as possible if your business would like to order a Starter PPE Kit: https://forms.gle/4yDxbb3QjTDRTABL8

FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES

  • Government Authorizes New PPP Loan Flexibility: “The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, signed June 5, 2020, provides more flexibility to taxpayers participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program, recognizing that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has lasted longer than originally anticipated.”  This includes an extension of the original 8-week covered payroll period and an extension of time to rehire employees.  CohnReznick has posted a summary of the changes HERE.
  • AccuPay reminder: AccuPay wishes to remind businesses about its current exclusive CHBA member offer of free account set-up and one month of free payroll processing for new customers.  “Get on the right track, stay in compliance for tax laws and PPP, and keep employees happy.” Contact Tony DePaul at ADePaul@accupay.net if you are interested.
  • SBA Releases PPP Loan Forgiveness Application: The SBA has now released the forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program loans, which can be viewed and downloaded HERE.  You should check with your lender about any additional instructions and requirements specific to your loan, but it is beneficial to review the standard application regardless. For additional guidance on understanding the application, CohnReznick has published a guide HERE with details on defining the covered period, full-time equivalent employees, reductions in loan forgiveness, and other topics you may have questions about.
  • Rehiring Employees under PPP: Yesterday, we received a question from a member business about what to do if you are seeking to rehire employees in order to qualify for PPP forgiveness, but those employees decline to return to work since they are making more money on unemployment.  Be aware that the SBA has addressed this situation in Question #40 of its FAQ HERE.  Essentially, the answer is that it won’t reduce your forgiveness, but you will need to document the rehire offer and the response in writing.  Read the full answer in the FAQ for details.
  • New Grant Fund! PA COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance.  The state’s new funding program includes the $100 million Main Street Business Revitalization Program and $100 million Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program. Thank you to the office of State Senator Art Haywood for providing the following program summary and pre-application advice about this important new grant fund: “Pennsylvania businesses with fewer than 25 employees or sales of $1 million or less will be eligible for up to $50,000 per business. Grants can cover losses from the COVID-19 shutdown and expenses related to re-opening.  While no application is available yet, applications will be administered by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Reinvestment Fund is one of 17 participating CDFIs that will assist businesses with applying for these grants.  They are willing and able to assist businesses in the 4th Senate District. To receive the most recent information as it is released, you will soon be able to sign-up for e-mail alerts on the Reinvestment Fund website. Please check their website over the coming days. Additional CDFIs can be found using this toolWhile we await further information, businesses are encouraged to prepare an accounting of losses experienced due to the Governor’s business closure orders. Businesses are encouraged to retrieve documentation relating to the most recent tax return filed, and losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Once further details on this program become available, we will share them.”Updates from Sen. Haywood’s Office on PA’s COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program: “An application window will open in late June. Business should prepare the following: 2018 or 2019 tax return; business registration, license, or articles of incorporation; must have an e-mail address; valid ID; electronic versions of documents; most recent bank statement; a description of how the business was impacted by COVID-19; and a description of how the business plans to use the funds.  We are working on arranging a conference call or Zoom meeting to facilitate communication between 4th District businesses and CDFIs in our area. Stay tuned for details.”
  • Chestnut Hill COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant applications now open: As we announced yesterday in a dedicated email, the fund which the Business District created to assist Chestnut Hill businesses has now raised sufficient community donations to begin making grants.  To read about the grant program and apply, visit https://chestnuthillpa.com/donate/. You can access the application by clicking the link in the Applicant Information section at the bottom of that page, or by visiting HERE
  • NEW Funding Source: The PA 30 Day Fund is a new fund that is accepting applications for forgivable loans to small businesses. “Working with other business leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many Pennsylvania jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.” Businesses owned by PA residents who have been operating for at least one year and who have between 3 and 30 employees are eligible to apply. Visit https://pa30dayfund.com/ to learn more and submit a request.
  • Business Security Camera Program Curtailed: The city’s Commerce Department announced that as a result of budget cuts, it would cease accepting new applications to this program, which provided a 50% reimbursement against the installation costs of qualifying exterior security cameras for small businesses.  We will inform merchants if this program reopens in the future.  If you are in need of exterior security cameras, please be aware that you can still apply to the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District for its security camera rebate, which is for 12% of project costs.   Email koneill@chestnuthillpa.com for more information.
  • New Grant Program–Pay It Phorward: A local resident informed us about this “Philly-focused monthly grant for small businesses” that his company is now offering, and recommended that Chestnut Hill businesses consider applying.  “[A] grassroots, no-strings-attached, no-red-tape method of getting money into people’s hands as quickly as possible…Pay It Phorward is a monthly peer-to-peer program that aims to provide a small monetary lift to help individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.”  To complete the very simple application and be considered for a one-time award, visit https://www.payitphorward.org/.
  • UpWork Talent Grants Program: Thank you to CHBA member Adina Silberstein of Queenies Pets for sharing this resource.  Upwork is “giving $1 million in talent grants to support businesses working to counter the impact of COVID-19.  The Work Together Talent Grants Program is designed to support projects with missions directly tied to mitigating COVID-19’s devastating impact on individuals, communities, and economies everywhere.” Click HERE to learn more and apply.
  • Lendistry.com accepting New PPP applications: Thanks to a partnership with Goldman Sachs and the City of Philadelphia, Lendistry.com will be issuing $10 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans in Philadelphia and is now accepting applications.  If you still haven’t applied for this program and don’t have an existing banking relationship, this may be a good option.  Click HERE to apply.
  • The Reinvestment Fund accepting New PPP applications: Another good option if you still need to apply to PPP is The Reinvestment Fund.  They expect to begin accepting new applications, and are seeking to “reach smaller enterprises that were overlooked by conventional financial institutions in the first round of PPP.”  Click HERE for more information on applying.
  • Unemployment Tips: Senator Haywood’s office has shared the following tips for individuals applying for unemployment benefits: click HERE.
  • Apply NOW for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: The state has announced that the technical issues which accompanied the launch of the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance portal have now been fixed, allowing small business owners to apply for assistance. Visit HERE to read the instructions and begin your application.  According to the state “The application will be effective the week you were first unemployed and is not based on the day you submit your PUA application.”  However, as with all financial resources related to the pandemic, we advise that you submit your application as soon as you can.
  • Additional funding for PPP and EIDL programs now APPROVED.  We’ve been updating you on this funding as it moved through Congress this week.  The President signed the $484 billion relief bill which will replenish funding for the PPP and EIDL programs.  If your application has been submitted but not funded, this would be a good time to try to follow up with your bank if you have not received information on its status.
  • Philadelphia Plastic Bag Ban Implementation Postponed: The City of Philadelphia announced yesterday that the effective date for the Plastic Bag Ban, which was due to begin on July 2, 2020, will be postponed to January 1, 2021. The Ban, which we shared with members earlier this year, will prohibit all retail establishments in the city from providing customers with single-use plastic bags and non-recycled content paper bags. The City has instituted the postponement in order to lessen the burden on shuttered businesses, some of whom may need to change vendors or pay more for recycled/paper bags in order to come into compliance.  The announcement and new implementation/enforcement schedule can be found HERE.
  • New Tax Guidance Issued on U&O, School Tax, Wage Tax by City’s Revenue Dept: Several days ago, we reported changes that the City announced to its Real Estate Tax, BIRT, and Net Profit Tax due to the crisis. They have since added new guidance on the Use & Occupancy Tax, School Income Tax, and Wage Tax (specifically for non-residents working at home). Regarding U&O, if your business is closed by government order and is not being occupied, you will not be assessed for U&O Tax when you file. Landlords of such businesses who collect and remit these taxes for their tenants are required to refund the tenant for the applicable amount. We cannot offer tax advice, but visit https://www.phila.gov/documents/coronavirus-tax-guidance/ to read the City’s guidance on each tax.
  • Facebook and Yelp Grants/Credits: Facebook is planning its own grant program for small businesses, and while applications are not yet available, interested merchants can sign up for notification HERE. Yelp is also offering certain free advertising and credits to bars and restaurants as part of a $25 million business relief package, with info HERE.
  • The City’s Commerce Department would like to remind merchants to periodically check its official COVID-19 page for businesses HERE for a comprehensive list of available resources. 
  • PA Tax Filing Update:Thank you to Tony DePaul from CHBA member business AccuPay for informing us that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has now announced that it is moving the state filing and payment deadline to 7/15 for personal income tax returns. For those who make 1st quarter estimated payments, the IRS is allowing these to be deferred to 6/15 without interest or penalties, while PA is allowing these to be deferred to 7/15 under the same conditions.
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: “Philadelphia county is one of the locations which are now eligible to apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). If your Philadelphia business has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration may be able to help and you may be eligible to apply now. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.” Apply at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
  • Federal Legislation Temporarily Expanding Paid Sick Leave and FMLA Now In Effect: The congressional relief package mentioned in the last couple of updates–now being informally called the Phase II relief package–was passed and signed into law yesterday afternoon. While the Families First Coronavirus Response Act does a number of things, the most important impact on small businesses is that it guarantees paid sick, family, and medical leave for reasons related to coronavirus to workers at companies with 500 employees or fewer. There is a waiver for the FMLA portion that businesses with under 50 employees can apply for. The costs to the employer for these forms of paid leave will be reimbursed directly and via tax credits. Here is a good summary of the final version of the bill that was signed, who/what is covered, and the requirements for small businesses: https://www.fisherphillips.com/resources-alerts-congress-finalizes-covid-19-coronavirus-response-act. Also remember that if you closed your business and temporarily laid off your employees, they can apply for special unemployment compensation.
  • KIVA (www.phila.gov/programs/kiva/) is a private crowdfunded loan platform which is an official City partner, that offers 0% interest loans to small business owners, and they have increased their maximum loan size to $15,000 as a result of the crisis. Because of the nature of the funding method, these loans can take some time to fully fund, but they are an affordable capital source that is worth considering alongside other options, especially if you have a strong social network who may support and share your lending request.
  • New Health Insurance Premium Payment Flexibility for CHBA Plan Subscribers: This update is specific to CHBA member businesses who subscribe to the CHBA’s Group Health Insurance Plan.  Independence Blue Cross is offering fully-insured businesses on the plan two options if they are having difficulty paying their health insurance premiums. First, you will have the option of paying both past-due and regular monthly premiums by credit card until July 31, with no additional fees. “In extreme hardship cases,” IBX will allow the subscriber to defer their April OR May premium to later this calendar year, subject to the terms of a Payment Plan agreement. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Kate O’Neill on our staff at koneill@chestnuthillpa.com or 215-370-0287.
  • CHBA Group Health Plan Update: If your business subscribes to the CHBA’s Group Health Insurance Plan, be aware that well visits, primary care, and speciality visits via telemedicine are being extended through June 30, with the primary care copay waiver for these telemedicine assessments also being extended to that date.  Finally, the suspension of prior authorization for acute inpatient admissions from an ER, and the cost waiver for acute COVID-19 treatment will both also be extended to 6/30.  For questions about your group health plan, contact Kate O’Neill at koneill@chestnuthillpa.com.
  • New Grant Program Opened for Childcare/Daycare Providers: The Reinvestment Fund is accepting applications for its new Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE), which will make grants of up to $20,000 to eligible daycare centers in Philadelphia.  For more information, and to apply, visit https://www.reinvestment.com/pefsee/.
  • American Express Stand For Small: American Express has launched its second small business campaign of the pandemic–Stand For Small.  Essentially, it is a collection of promoted offers from large companies which may be useful to small businesses or save them money.  Examples include discounts on shipping with UPS and FedEx, discounts on certain supplies, and discounts on certain online services.  Explore their offerings at https://www.standforsmall.com/.
  • Food Business Resources
    • Bailot Business Directory: Clover POS Systems Local Affiliate Fiserv has created a website HERE where local restaurants can list their online ordering options at no cost.  So far, it looks to be Manayunk and Roxborough restaurants, but they have invited Chestnut Hill to join as well.
    • Relaunch Toolkit: Streetsense is offering a free “Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit HERE to help restaurants and bars plan for reopening.  Includes resources to prepare a capital plan, protect cash flow, implement changes, and modify customer engagement.
    • Restaurant Regulations
      • Cocktails to Go: An update from our partners at the Commerce Department that is good news for restaurants with liquor licenses: “Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 327, now Act 21 of 2020, allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go from bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law takes effect immediately.  The law applies to bars, restaurants and hotels that have lost 25 percent of average monthly total sales during the COVID-19 emergency. The beverages must be sold in containers with a secure lid in quantities from 4 oz. to 64 oz. before 11 p.m. An additional seal is required on the straw opening of a lid. Within 60 days, bars and restaurants must use a transaction scan device to verify a consumer’s age if the person appears to be younger than 35 years of age. The temporary rule expires after the COVID-19 disaster emergency ends and a business reaches 60 percent capacity.” Click HERE for more details.
  • Reopening Safely | Helpful Tips For Small Business Owners: Our partners at Main Street America have assembled a short list of helpful tips for small business owners preparing for reopening.  Click HERE to review and begin planning ahead.
  • Restaurant Resource
    • CoastApp’s Takeout COVID Project: This group contacted us to share this project that they’ve started to drive customers to restaurants who are offering take-out food and alcohol.  “Takeout COVID helps list out open restaurants that are selling their wine, beer, and food. Restaurants can list themselves for free and the restaurants that we’ve talked to have told us they’ve seen an increase in online orders. Our only goal is to help them get more customers.”  Learn more and get listed at https://coastapp.com/takeoutcovid/phl/.

PENNSYLVANIA UPDATES

  • Pennsylvania Launches COVID-19 Job Hiring Portal: Per State Senator Art Haywood, the PA Department of Labor & Industry has launched a new COVID-19 Job Portal, which “is updated daily so businesses in need are spotlighted and people searching for employment have the latest job information.”  Visit HERE if you need to post a position for your business.
  • New Directory Listing Pennsylvania PPE Suppliers: The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development is hosting a Business-To-Business (B2B) Interchange Directory for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suppliers, including purveyors of N95, surgical, and simple fabric masks.  Visit HERE to find a supplier or request to be added to the list.
  • *Important*–PA Issues New More Stringent Regulations for Essential Businesses: PA’s Secretary of Health issued new more stringent regulations that essential businesses who are still operating will be required to comply with. While this order does not change the types of businesses that may operate, it does implement new rules for employee safety, distancing, and protocols that must be followed if a probable or confirmed COVID-positive person enters your establishment. Among other requirements, employers must now provide all employees with approved masks and require that they be worn at all times on the premises. Businesses such as grocers who are still able to admit the general public in their buildings are now also required to enforce distancing, deter crowding, require that customers wear masks, and designate access periods for the elderly and high-risk populations. The full order can be read HERE, and is effective immediately with enforcement.
  • Be cautious of unscrupulous offers of assistance. Our statewide association has alerted member organizations that there are various schemes being perpetrated by unscrupulous consultants offering to help small business owners get access to funding under the CARES Act in exchange for significant upfront fees. Remember that there are a multitude of free technical assistance resources available to those in need of help, ranging from CHBD staff and the local COVID-19 task force to Small Business Development Centers like Temple’s, and free online webinars. If you’re concerned that someone may be trying to take advantage of you during this time of need, feel free to reach out to us for advice.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

  • Grow With Google Initiative: Thanks to CHBA Board member Yosma Luby for recommending this resource.  “The Grow with Google initiative helps people across the United States grow their skills, careers, and businesses by offering free tools, training, and events.Visit google.com/grow to learn more. Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, host virtual meetings and events, and access documents from anywhere. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small business.  Register now for Grow with Google’s Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty livestream at https://events.withgoogle.com/gwg-livestream/!
  • Returning To Work Guidance For Employers: Although Philadelphia is still under lockdown, it is wise for employers to begin preparing for steps they will need to take when reopening.  Law firm Spilman Thomas & Battle has published two useful articles on this.  Part 1 – Logistics of Returning Employees to the Workplace, can be read HERE.  Part 2 – Legal Considerations for Return-to-Work Decision-Making, can be read HERE.
  • Free Website Tool: If you don’t yet have an ecommerce presence, Locable is offering a Free “Engage Plan” that allows businesses to “sell products, services and gift cards online in minutes…with an existing website or by itself if you don’t have a website.”  Read more HERE.
  • An Argument for Business Interruption Insurance Coverage: Thank you to Jack Noonan for sharing the article found HERE on the topic of business interruption insurance that we covered in Wednesday’s member email.  This article suggests an argument that could be made to insurance companies: since a recent PA Supreme Court case explicitly ruled that COVID-19 must be considered a natural disaster for legal purposes, it would follow that it should be considered the same for insurance purposes.  If you have submitted or may submit a claim, this is a strategy that could be considered.  While we cannot provide legal advice, we can provide information about local law firms we are aware of who are taking up cases such as these upon request.
  • Temple SBDC Can Be A Resource for PPP Recipients: Temple Small Business Development Center reminded the city’s business districts today that they stand ready to assist not only merchants who are seeking funding, but also those who have been fortunate enough to be approved for PPP loans, which require careful administration and proper record-keeping in order to ensure the valuable forgiveness provision.  Visit HERE to see their services and make an appointment.
  • Technical Assistance Reminder: As a small business owner, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed during the ongoing crisis, but you don’t need to face these challenges alone.  Don’t forget that there is a full line-up of locally-based individuals with proven business expertise who are available to consult with your business one-on-one at no cost, providing valuable perspective and advice on difficult issues you may be confronting.  To find an advisor for your business, reach out to Kathie Meadows (kmeadows@chestnuthillpa.com) or myself (pdawson@chestnuthillpa.com) and we will gladly connect you.
  • Temple SBDC Virtual Office Hours: The Temple Small Business Development Center is now offering virtual office hours every weekday from 3:00-5:00PM to enable small business owners affected by COVID-19 to connect face-to-face electronically with qualified consultants. The service is free. Connect HERE.FREE
  • Website Development and Digital Assistance: This is potentially a very valuable resource if you’ve been struggling to adapt your business technologically during this time. Temple’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) has announced that they are offering FREE services to digitize your business to cope with COVID-19. “Each project using a digital triage approach will quickly perform one or all of: needs analysis, identification of relevant resources, implementation, training, and remote operation.” Services can include creation or modification of a website for your business and an overall consultation of your digital needs. Click HERE for details about how to request assistance.
  • COVID-19 financial programs, from receiving new tax credits to meeting the record-keeping requirements of new government loans.  Click HERE to read more and contact their representative.
  • Other Business Resources–Signage: If your business is anticipating needing signage in advance of reopening, and you need a vendor, the CHBA has used Michael Feehan (mfeehan@comcast.net, 215-290-6929) as a one-stop shop for both printing and signage projects for many years.
  • Hand Sanitizer Sources:
    • Thank you to CHBA member Adina Silberstein from Queenie’s Pets for reaching out with another hand sanitizer source in addition to the one we shared earlier this week.   Adina can order them from her wholesaler for CHBA members at the price of $50 per gallon with a 7-10 day lead time.  Contact her at adina@queeniespets.com if you are interested.
    • Thank you to Kate O’Neill for identifying the following source for hand sanitizer and PPE, for those who may still need to order some: www.panthereast.com/
  • Signs by local youth artists: An amateur sign-making business founded by local youths and featured in the Chestnut Hill Local (article) reached out to ask that we make CHBA member businesses aware of its products.  Visit https://www.villustrators.com/ to browse and order signs, the proceeds of which help to support Germantown-based Face To Face, a charity offering food and assistance to the needy.

WEBINARS and ARTICLES

  •  PIDC’s next Business Builder Webinar, “Reopening With Care,” will be held next Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 9:45am. ” With Philadelphia transitioning from the yellow phase to the green phase of this health crisis, are you prepared to welcome back your employees and customers? Have you reimaged your workspace to relieve concerns of environmental risks and hazards? Do you know the public health requirements and best practices needed to properly reopen your business? Don’t guess. The answers to your questions are right here.” Click HERE to learn more and register.
  • COVID-19 Liability Waivers.   We received a question about COVID-19 liability waivers, and whether they are necessary or effective in limiting a business’ liability.  Law firm Goldberg Segalla released a paper on that very topic this week, entitled “Will COVID-19 Liability Releases Hold Up?” which can be read HERE.
  • eBook | Personalizing Your Customer Journey As Retail Returns: Via eMarketer.  Includes “guidance for efficiently personalizing important messaging at the moment of open, a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of messaging priorities for retail marketers through 2020, actionable ideas and inspiration for creating a supportive experience that instills confidence to return to shopping, [and] detailed examples retailers can use to shape their strategy and improve their workflows.” You can download this short eBook HERE
  • Article | Here’s what to do when your retail website becomes your primary storefront: By Google. Click HERE to read.
  • Marketing and design firm Studio X is interested in holding a Digital Marketing webinar exclusively for Chestnut Hill businesses. Having a strong digital presence is essential for continuing commerce during this crisis, and customers’ current experiences are predicted to have a lasting effect on their behaviors in the coming months. The group is looking to build the webinar content based on merchants’ stated needs, so please take this SURVEY to indicate your interest in the webinar and share your business’ needs.
  • COVID-19 Financial Assistance Overview: CHBA Board Member Richard Snowden has passed on this webinar announcement of a comprehensive overview of financial assistance programs currently being offered for COVID-19. The law firm BlankRome is presenting Obtaining COVID-19 Financial Relief: An Overview of SBA, CARES, and Alternative Financing Strategies, was Tuesday, March 31. You can sign up HERE to receive a recording of the session that you can view at your convenience.
  • SBA Disaster Loan Webinar: Last week, we sent out information about the new SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. One of our CHBA member business owners who applied contacted us to say that she found the following webinar from the Women’s Business Enterprise Center very helpful for preparing her application: LINK. Remember, you can apply at http://disasterloan.sba.gov/.
  • Small Business Recovery Tips from Former SBA Chief Karen Mills.  Listen to tips in this 13-minute recorded interview HERE

MARKETING

  • New Google Form for CHBA Member Social Media Requests: During Cache’s furlough, En Route Marketing staff are processing CHBA member business requests for social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.  Click HERE to submit your requests.  En Route will make their best efforts to fulfill all requests as soon as possible, but it is recommended that you submit your requests at least one week in advance to ensure optimal results.

GOVERNMENT MESSAGING

  • City Increases Fines for COVID-19 Rule Violations.  Late last week, the City of Philadelphia announced that it would be increased fines for individual violations of stay-at-home orders from $100 to $500, and increasing fines for businesses who violate closure orders from $300 to $2,000.  Reportedly, the City has yet to issue any fines thus far during the pandemic, but the measure seems intended to encourage compliance.  Even so, we want to make businesses aware of the law.

COMMUNITY

  • Chestnut Hill Hospital Seeking Mask Donations: From Cathy Brzozowski at Chestnut Hill Hospital: “Chestnut Hill Hospital is accepting donated masks! If you have facial masks that are not currently being used, the Hospital will accept them. Any type of mask is acceptable including surgical, N95, construction, etc. In addition, if you have some skill and a sewing machine, surgical mask covers are also being used by clinical professionals. See this YouTube video for a pattern that would work well:https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/03/how-to-help-sew-masks-for-hospital-in-coronavirus-crisis.htmlArrangements to drop off of items can be made by calling me at the number that follows or sending an email. I (or a Hospital representative) will meet you in front of the Hospital. Remain in your vehicle and we’ll remove the items. Thank you for your support!” 215-248-8727 | CatherineM.Brzozowski@towerhealth.org
  • Perishable Food Donations: If your food business has excess perishable or prepared food that you are unable to utilize due to decreased customer demand, the local nonprofit Today Is A Good Day has advised us that their partner the Ronald McDonald House is in need and willing to accept them. If you are interested, contact Chris Callanan at chris@philarmh.org or 267-969-6212.
  • Philadelphia Court Update: If you have any pending issues in the local court system, CHBA member Christine Benedum has prepared this Status Update about how proceedings are being impacted by the crisis, which you can review: https://www.benedumlaw.com/coronavirus-and-the-courts/
  • Go Fund Me Night Kitchen Staff Relief Fund HERE
  • Connecting the Front Line workers with food HERE
  • PPE Donation Form: The City of Philadelphia now has a form HERE which you can use to make donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers. There is an option to have your donation conveniently picked up if you don’t want to venture out.

SPECIAL MESSAGING

  • Safety Tips: The City’s Commerce Department has asked commercial corridor management organizations to alert their business owners about the safety tips they’ve compiled HERE in order to keep your premises safe during closure.
  • Kilian’s Needs Packing Materials!  From Kilian’s Hardware owner Russ Goudy: “Our internet business is up but our incoming donations of packing materials are down. We are in desperate need of box filling materials such as styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, air filled cushion bags, crumpled paper, etc. We are ok on empty cardboard boxes.” Go green and donate your used packing materials to Kilian’s at their store at 8450 Germantown Avenue  M-F 8:30-5:30, Saturday 8:30-5:00, Sunday 10:00-3:00.
  • Cashier Protection Shield Resources: As businesses begin to plan for reopening in the coming weeks, some may be considering the temporary installation of plexiglass cashier protection shields, similar to those seen in many supermarkets.  While we cannot endorse any particular provider, we can share information about vendors who may be able to help with this need. First, CHBA member business Kilian’s Hardware has indicated that they can help with smaller requests, so walk-in or call them at 215-247-0945 to inquire.  For more extensive installations, Weavers Way Co-op has used Everything Plastic for 1/4″ clear plexiglass panels with rounded corners and beaded edges.  They can be reached at 215-238-9800
  • Printable Social Distancing Posters: The City’s Health Dept. released downloadable and printable social distancing reminders for use by businesses who are still operating. You can access different variations HERE and display them at your facility.
  • Enhanced Police Patrols Proving Effective:  Our Lieutenant from the 14th District let us know that the enhanced patrols they began a couple of weeks ago are still continuing on a regular basis, and that there has been no spike in property crime in the Business District, so the measures seem to be effective so far. If you have any specific concerns or notice suspicious activity, first contact the police and then let us know as well.
  • Need Help With Streaming? We can help you learn and promote: Even if it wasn’t part of your business strategy before COVID-19, many retailers who can’t have a physical presence at the moment are experimenting with streaming content. Live video streams can be a great way to engage with customers who are sitting at home on the Internet. Quality content can keep your business top of mind and even directly generate income, whether by demonstrating products that can be purchased online, or by charging people to tune in and watch a tutorial (e.g. cooking or crafting something). Our team at En Route Marketing has developed a custom how-to guide for Chestnut Hill businesses who are interested in exploring this potential business opportunity. Click HERE to view. If you are offering streaming, let us know by reaching out to Cache Hall at koneill@chestnuthillpa.comWe can help promote on social media and add scheduled or archived streaming links from businesses to our COVID-19 webpage.
  • Free Small Business Legal Assistance: “In response to office closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia VIP is offering eligible small businesses free one-hour remote legal consultations with a volunteer attorney.  Once your application is approved, VIP will search for an attorney to hear about your business’s legal needs and offer advice and counsel.  After the initial consultation, your business may be eligible to receive ongoing assistance with a discrete legal issue.” Apply HERE.
  • Business Interruption Insurance Claims: This is a topic that we haven’t yet covered in our member updates which some businesses may have already considered or may be wondering about. Nationwide, efforts by small business owners to file claims under their Business Interruption insurance policies for losses due to the pandemic have been largely unsuccessful, prompting various class action lawsuits and legislative efforts.  PA is one of several states in which lawmakers have introduced legislation which would require insurance companies to cover business interruption losses due to the pandemic for insureds who had such policies in place.  The insurance industry contends that such requirements would bankrupt insurers, and is generally opposing all of these efforts.  If you have a Business Interruption policy, you should review the language in it, and reach out to your attorney if you have questions about whether you may have the basis for a claim.