Coronavirus

 

TBFAA Update on Coronavirus

 
TBFAA members provide vital services that are even more important as we all deal with the Coronavirus. As you all know member companies are committed to providing service 24/7 365 days a year. Members may not be able to shut down services.

TBFAA is keeping in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety through our Advisory Board Representative, Debi Ulmer and our DPS Liaison, Calvin Stewart. We are also reaching out to the State Fire Marshal's Office through our VP of Fire, Van Mayorga for any emergency directives. So far nothing new has been discussed or disseminated to us from the DPS or the SFMO. If something changes we'll send it out ASAP.

Scroll Down to see 
  • Suggestions on Dealing from the TBFAA Webinar
  • Guidance for businesses and employers from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 
  • Stay at Home Orders 
  • Temporary changes to Fire Industry Licensing requirements
  • Local Fire Marshal Info
  • Texas Comptroller’s office- Help is Available
  • Consensus of Expert Recommendations 
  • Available Resources

Suggestions on Dealing from the TBFAA Webinar

Questions we ask before scheduling...

From Adam's iPhone to Everyone:
1. Do you feel uncomfortable with our technicians coming on-site at your  location?
2. In the past 14 days, have you traveled from California, Washington State,  Massachusetts, or New York?
3. In the past 14 days, have you traveled from Mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea?
4. In the past 14 days, have you been on a cruise or a crew ship?
5. Have you been in close contact with anyone, including members of your  immediate family, who have traveled to/from one of these domestic  locations, countries, or have been on a cruise or a crew ship?
6. In the past 14 days have you or anyone you know, had a fever, a cough,  shortness of breath, or any flu-like symptoms?

Our Protocol

From Colton to Everyone:

  • Protocol here is for hand sanitizer/water and soap on all vehicles with Lysol spray or wipes.
  • Also we wear gloves and face mask. We screen each call to verify that the home or business is verifying that we can come in.
  • Amarillo is at full operation since there is only shutdown on Restaurants, limited to drive up only.
  • Other business' are shut down at their own discretion.
  • All office personnel are screened for temperature and required to wash hand when reporting for work.

Guidance for businesses and employers from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 

SBA COVID-19 Web Site

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here to apply. Deadline to apply is December 21, 2020
Download the Fact sheet for Texas

Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: SBA.gov/Disaster.
The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 

SBA Express Bridge Loans

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

This Program originally expired on March 30, 2020. bit has been extended to March 13, 2021 See SBA Notice

Effective March 25, 2020, (announcement by publication of a notice in the Federal Register will follow), SBA expanded program eligibility to include small businesses nationwide adversely impacted under the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Emergency Declaration issued by President Trump on March 13, 2020 (“COVID-19 Emergency Declaration”). Because the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration covers all states, territories, and the District of Columbia, eligible small businesses under the EBL Pilot Program include small businesses located in any state, territory and the District of Columbia that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The notice also stated that all references to disasters in the EBL Pilot Program requirements will include the COVID-19 emergency. In the same notice, SBA extended the term of the EBL Pilot Program through March 13, 2021.

Terms

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender via SBA’s Lender Match Tool or by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

Stay at Home Orders 

Employee Letters 


if you are operating in an area that has imposed a stay at home order consider providing your employees with a letter. You may also want to give them a copy of the CISA Guidelines.

The Monitoring Association (TMA) Sample Letters: Any company using these samples must edit them for their own use and must perform their own internal review/due diligence after their edits and customization.

The following localities have issued orders:

Harris County and City of Houston:

  • https://www.readyharris.org/Stay-Home
  • All businesses operating within Harris County, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 2, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the County. For clarity, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and the general public.
  • For purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” include:
    • Essential Critical Infrastructure.Work necessary to the operations and maintenance of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with social distancing requirements of six feet to the extent possible. See NESA article DHS – CISA Specifies Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

Dallas County (the City of Dallas is subject to this order and has not as of yet issued an individual one):

  • https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/judge-jenkins/covid-19/03242020-AmendedOrder-FINAL.pdf
  • All businesses operating within Dallas County, except Essential Businesses as defined in below in Section 2, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the County. For clarity, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e. working from home). To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six feet social distancing for both employees and the general public.
  • For purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:
    • Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses. …building cleaning, maintenance and security. … service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and Essential Businesses. To the extent possible, services shall be provided in compliance with Social Distancing Guidelines
    • Essential Critical Infrastructure. Individuals may provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, operate, maintain and repair, “Essential Critical Infrastructure.” Essential Critical Infrastructure is defined by the 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) See NESA article DHS – CISA Specifies Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers …Essential Businesses providing essential infrastructure should implement screening precautions to protect employees and all activity shall be performed in compliance with social distancing guidelines attached. 

City of Austin:

  • SECTION 2. Non-Essential Business and Operations Must Cease. All businesses or operations with a facility in the City of Austin, except Essential Businesses and Essential Government Functions as defined in Section 6 below, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the City except Minimum Basic Operations as defined in Section 6 below. For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).
  • All Essential Businesses Essential Government Service, and Critical Infrastructure. are strongly encouraged to remain open, especially those that provide the basic necessities for food, water, and shelter. To the greatest extent feasible, Essential Businesses shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements
  • This Order shall not be construed to hinder the ability of the industries identified in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency's ("CISA") Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Memorandum dated March 19,2020 (See NESA article DHS – CISA Specifies Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers) to continue their operation appropriately modified to account for CDC workforce and consumer protection guidance, and the list of industries identified on that memorandum is incorporated in this Order by reference.
  •  So the exceptions that cover us in the DHS Memo are included in the Austin Order by reference 

Travis County: 

  •  https://www.traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/200314-gathering-order.pdf
  •  SECTION 2. Non-Essential Business operations must cease. All businesses or operations with facilities in Travis County, except Essential Businesses as defined below, are required to cease all activities within the County except Minimum Basic Operations as defined below and operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home). All Essential Businesses, Essential Government Functions and services, and Critical Infrastructure are strongly encouraged to remain open and operate within the requirements of Exhibit B {Austin Travis County Health Authority Requirements and Recommendations} to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Essential Businesses. For the purposes of this Order, "Essential Businesses" means:
    • Critical Trades. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, pool cleaners, and other service providers only to the extent that services are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities, Essential Businesses, Essential Government Services, and Critical Infrastructure…See NESA article DHS – CISA Specifies Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

 City of San Antonio and Bexar County:  

 Tarrant County: 

 City of Fort Worth: 

 Collin County: 

  •  https://www.collincountytx.gov/public_information/news/Documents/20200324%20Chris%20Hill%20Executive%20Order%20FINAL.pdf 
  • All businesses and employers are hereby ordered to take actions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to increase social distancing in the normal course of business activities, and to provide for a safe and healthy work environment.
  •  All businesses, jobs, and workers are essential to the financial health and well-being of our local economy and therefore are essential to the financial health and well-being of Collin County citizens. Persons who are employed need to stay employed. Persons who lack employment need to gain employment. Businesses that are able to remain open need to remain open 

Galveston County: 

Temporary changes to Fire Industry Licensing requirements

Governor Greg Abbott has approved waiving certain licensing requirements for the fire industry at the request of the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). These measures will ensure services remain available during the state’s response to COVID-19.
 
These changes affect three types of licenses: fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and fire sprinklers. The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office is unable to process new fireworks licenses at this time.
 
New licenses
Most testing and fingerprinting facilities are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but TDI will accept the certification options below in place of the required exam. These certifications can only be used to take the place of the test. You will still need to submit a paper license application.

  • Extinguishers: National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors certifications
  • Alarms: Electronic Security Association and National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies certifications
  • Sprinklers: National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies certifications
 
Once business returns to normal, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will set a deadline to take the rules and statute exam at a testing facility. Failure to take this exam within the deadline will result in an invalid license. 
 
Applications are available online. Mail the application and proof of the certification you are using in place of the test to:
 
Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office
P.O. Box 149221
Austin, TX 78714-9221
License renewals
 
You can renew licenses online. If your license is set to expire in March or April, TDI will:
 
  • Extend the renewal deadline by two months.
  • Waive late fees
  • Extend the deadline to take the exam.

Local Fire Marshal Info

From Stephen Harper - STAA / Dispatch Center to Everyone:  02:18 PM
 
  • City of San Antonio – Development Services
    • Working remotely
    • Limited office hours
    • Available by telephone and by electronic mail
    • Face to face meetings will be conducted by appointment only
    • Bob Gobert
      • In-Office:
        • Tuesday:             12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
        • Wednesday:       8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        • Thursday:            12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
      • Remote Work Site:
        • Monday:             8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
        • Tuesday:             8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        • Wednesday:       12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
        • Thursday:            8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        • Friday:                 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
    • Guillermo Cipriano
      • In-Office:
        • Monday:             8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        • Wednesday:       8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
        • Friday:                 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
      • Remote Work Site:
        • Monday:             12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
        • Tuesday:             8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
        • Wednesday:       12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
        • Thursday:            8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
        • Friday:                 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM
  • Bexar County
    • Fire prevention inspections have been placed on hold
  • City of Leon Valley
    • Moved to online submittal process
    • MyPermitNow
    • Link available via City’s Planning and Zone Dept website
    • Plan reviews and inspections conducted as normal

Texas Comptroller’s office- Help is Available

These are challenging times for businesses all over the nation. The Texas Comptroller’s office knows that during periods of economic hardship, paying or remitting taxes and fees on time can feel like an extra burden when there’s so much uncertainty. We’re thankful to those businesses that were able to remit state and local sales taxes they collected from customers in February on the March 20, 2020, due date.

We understand that virtually all of our taxpayers are doing their best to remain in compliance and be responsible in submitting the taxes they collected from their customers. With that in mind, our agency is here to offer assistance to those businesses that are struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February.

For businesses that find themselves in this situation, our agency is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest.

We ask that you contact our Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due.

In addition, we have a variety of online tools for businesses seeking assistance. See our COVID-19 emergency response webpage for access to online tools, tutorials and other resources for tax services, and to establish 24/7 online account access with Webfile.

We’re standing by to help Texas businesses during these difficult times.

Consensus of Expert Recommendations 

In general, the experts are currently recommending
  • Practice good hygiene
    • Stop handshaking – use other noncontact methods of greeting
    • Clean hands at the door and schedule regular hand washing reminders by email
    • Create habits and reminders to avoid touching their faces and cover coughs and sneezes
    • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, and handrails regularly
    • Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
  • Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home
  • Emphasizing staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Preparing for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
    • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
    • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
    • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Be careful with meetings and travel
    • Use videoconferencing for meetings when possible
    • When not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces
    • Consider adjusting or postponing large meetings or gatherings
    • Assess the risks of business travel
 
The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans. Also check the Regional office for more info - https://www.sba.gov/offices/regional/vi

Available Resources

 

We have identified several sources of factual information to help you stay informed and deal with the Coronavirus.
  • Texas Department of Health -https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ - Includes info on 
    • Incudes Texas Case Counts
    • What to Do If You Are Sick
    • COVID-19 Testing
    • Prevention of COVID-19
    • How COVID-19 Spreads