Businesses May Open With Limited Access and Strict Guidelines

On Friday, April 24, businesses may open for curb service, delivery or shipping only. To keep everyone as safe as possible, there are policies. Business owners may choose to stay closed or open with strict guidelines in place.

Texas Health and Human services has issued the following guidelines. A printable document can be downloaded here.

Customers may purchase items from a retail location for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep, but may not enter the premises.

In your business:

• All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.

• All employees must be screened before coming into the business for new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home.

• Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands.

• All employees must wear face coverings.

• Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another.

Retail to-go:

• All payments should be done over the phone or Internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.

• Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.

• Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.

Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep:

• All payments should be done over the phone or Internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.

• Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third-party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business.

Retail delivery by mail:

• All payments must be done over the phone or Internet.

• Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.

The choice to open is yours. These policies may not work for all businesses but it is an opportunity for “non-essential” businesses to begin conducting business. To keep all of us as safe as possible, we urge you to strictly follow these guidelines.

Remote Worker Cybersecurity Best Practices

Remote Worker Cybersecurity Best Practices

HP Development Company, L.P. wanted to reach out to let you know you, your safety and security are in our thoughts. Just like practicing good hygiene to ward off germs, which has included many organizations taking incredibly swift actions to help in the efforts to curtail the spread, this is a fantastic reminder to not overlook cybersecurity hygiene. One of the efforts to curtail the spread has included requesting individuals to work remotely, telework or work from home. This particular request to work remotely brings some very real cybersecurity hygiene issues.


Corporate Information Security Governance

Reviewing your current cybersecurity governance, which includes the information security policy and other similar policies to ensure established security guidelines for remote work and remote access to company information systems is adequately outlined for your employees. If your organization already has many remote workers, it is likely these already exist, or this may be covered in your resiliency plans or disaster recovery plans. This may also be addressed in your bring your own device policies, where employees have to opt into a set of corporate mandates and policies if they use their own device. If nothing exists or your cybersecurity governance is not adequate, this is the right time to establish a policy or at the very minimum to layout industry-recognized best practices and/or industry-recognized basic guidelines to address remote access to, and remote use of, company systems by employees, and to spell out if personal devices may be used to conduct company business, and under what constraints.


Formal Organization Security Communiqué

Managers should be very familiar with applicable security guidelines, security plans, and policies, and ensure that pertinent information is shared with their respective teams and throughout the organization, if they exist. It is critically important that all levels of the organization are aligned on implementation of cybersecurity and cybersecurity hygiene. It is essential to remind employees they are accountable and responsible for adhering to the company’s cybersecurity guidelines, policies, etc. Consequently, providing adequate cybersecurity guidance to all employees is critical, and it is recommended to send a companywide security communiqué to share the recommended cybersecurity guidance.


Security Event Preparation

Each organization should review their formal incident response plans to ensure each organization is prepared to respond to a cybersecurity event. Update the plans as necessary, and where, as a result of the global health crisis a requirement to work remotely has been introduced, include contact information for the (now) remote incident response team, which may include external advisors. Utilizing remote workers increases the security risk and increases the need to have a formal plan in place for when and if…READ MORE

Sign on and Tell Congress to Save Our Economy

As a member of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), AIBA has supported these initiatives that will benefit local business. It appears Washington is listening to the SAVE OUR ECONOMY NOW campaign organized by the American Sustainable Business Council and the American Independent Business Alliance and other business organizations in response to the health and economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports indicate Congressional leaders and the Administration may be near agreement on a fourth recovery package, widely known as CARES 2, to add another $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) for small businesses, which ran out of funds last week. The package could also include another $60 billion for emergency economic disaster loans under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, as well as $100 billion for COVID-19 testing and support for the health care system.

The package appears to respond to some of the demands we’ve made to SAVE OUR ECONOMY NOW! However, key issues appear to remain unresolved. Unclear is whether the additional health care money is sufficient to meet the need, especially for a comprehensive testing program that would enable businesses to reopen fully without fear that it would lead to a rebound of sickness.

There is also no indication that the problems that arose with the first tranche of PPP will be addressed in this new round. Purple items below are the areas where additional action is necessary.

  1. Implement a comprehensive healthcare strategy IMMEDIATELY that includes widespread testing along with other necessary medical protocols so that businesses can re-open safely and as soon as possible.
  2. Fund the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance NOW!
  3. Implement the new unemployment benefits NOW!
  4. Expand and Modify the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
    • Increase by at least $250 Billion
    • Make the origination date of a PPP loan be the first day that small businesses can legally fully open.
    • Expand to maximum payroll loan amounts to three months after businesses can legally fully open.
    • Provide support for new and smaller businesses in applying NOW! 
  1. Action is needed to meet the needs of 1099 and gig workers.
  2. Action is needed to provide support for people of color, immigrants, and low-income communities and business owners hard hit by the Pandemic
  3. Action is necessary to ensure the resilience of the small-scale and mid-sized farmers, fishers, and ranchers that feed our communities and provide the goods on which many local businesses depend.

Sign on to Save Our Economy Now!

That’s why we’re asking your support to keep the pressure on. Congressional leaders and the administration have indicated that even if CARES 2 passes this week, as expected, additional rounds of relief are likely.

Sign on to send these seven demands to all 535 members of Congress and the President and Vice President. If you’ve already signed, please forward to your networks and ask them to join our campaign.

If you’ve already signed, please call your Senators and Representative to demand they act immediately.

Save Small Business Grants for Your Business

Save Small Business Grants for Your Business

The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.

Small businesses are the foundation of our communities and our economy. Employing nearly half the American workforce, companies like yours keep our neighborhoods running and make them feel like home.

We know you’re facing multiple challenges right now, and every dollar counts.

Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as we can. We hope these supplemental funds will help you get through the next days and weeks.   

Applications open on April 20. For more information, see savesmallbusiness.com