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Dear Chamber Members,

Today’s COVID-19 business information compiled by your Greater Sumter Chamber Team includes: Governor’s Update to Non-Essential Businesses ListCOVID-19 Business Survey ReminderPaycheck Protection Program UpdateSumter Rotary Club Donation, Muschamp’s Launch Feed Our Heroes

Governor McMaster Closes Additional Categories of “Non-Essential” Businesses

In a press conference on Friday, Governor McMaster announced two new executive orders.

  • The first order goes into effect Monday, April 6th at 5:00 pm and added additional business types to the “non-essential” business list, including retail stores as follows:
    • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
    • Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores
    • Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores
    • Department stores, except for hardware and home-improvement stores
    • Sporting goods stores
    • Book, craft, and music stores
    • Flea markets
    • Florists and flower stores

This order does not prohibit the operation of retail stores in the categories above for fulfilling online or telephone orders or providing alternate means of purchasing or delivering products or services—including curbside purchase, pickup, or delivery and home or off-site delivery.

  • The second orderwhich became effective Friday at 5:00 pm, closed short-term rentals to people from COVID-19 “hotspots,” as identified in a CDC travel advisory or other CDC notice, to include the Tri-State Area (consisting of the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). This order includes hotels, short term rentals, condos, resorts, bed and breakfast companies, and timeshares. The following categories are not subject to the provisions in this order:
    • Individuals operating commercial vehicles transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, and liquid petroleum), livestock, poultry, feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips);
    • Individuals employed by airlines;
    • Individuals otherwise engaged in commercial transportation activities;
    • Individuals are performing or assisting with the military, healthcare, public safety, or emergency response operations, as well as any other operations or services identified by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in its March 28th, 2020 Memorandum, or any future amendments or supplements thereto, as essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.

As has been the case previously, if after reviewing the list, you are still uncertain about whether your business needs to close, then you can complete the “Essential Business Clarification” form via the Department of Commerce’s website, email, or call 803-734-2873. The department will review the request, and the business will receive a determination within 24 hours.

Finally, the Governor’s Office clarified: “If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor’s executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a determination is made.”

Paycheck Protection Program Update

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) started Friday, April 3rd. Still, some banks are not yet prepared to take applications, due in part, because federal authorities issued program guidance (Interim Final Rule) late yesterday. Also, loan applications may take time to process because all applications must be handled directly through the Small Business Administration’s central portal.
    • Read the SC Bankers Association press release issued today for more information about SC banks’ efforts to prepare to help distribute PPP funds to small businesses.
  • To Recap: The PPP was passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In essence, it authorizes up to $349 billion for job retention and certain other expenses at businesses employing less than 500 people. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards for low-interest loans up to a maximum of $10 million. Part of the loan may be forgiven and not counted as income, as long as the money is spent on certain operating expenses the first eight weeks after the loan originated.
    • The Greater Sumter Chamber Team continues to work with the SBA’s South Carolina District Office and the SC Bankers Association and will provide up-to-date information as we receive it.
  • ICYMI: Call with US Senator Tim Scott Recap
    • Friday, there were over 600 people who tuned in to the Zoom call with US Senator Tim Scott. Senator Scott was integral in the recent passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the most significant relief package in American history, designed to help businesses and the economy during this time of crisis. We thank Senator Scott and his team for taking the time to join our members today to answer questions related to that legislation.
    • Click here to read a full recap of the call.
    • To view a recording of the call, click here.

Sumter Rotary Club And Chamber of Commerce Partnership

Thursday, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Sumter Rotary Club to provide meals to our local healthcare first responders. Since the Rotary Club is unable to hold their regularly scheduled meetings, the Rotary Board agreed to purchase $1,000 in credits to be used at local restaurants to feed out front line workers. Shoney’s will be serving the workers at Prisma Health Tuomey, Sumter Cut Rate will be serving the responders at Sumter County EMS, Simply Southern Bistro will be serving the workers at Colonial Family Practice and Palmetto Oyster House will be serving the workers at Tandem Health.

Muschamp Launches Feed Our Heroes Campaign

University of South Carolina Head Football Coach Will Muschamp, and his wife, launched the “Feed Our Heroes Campaign” to help feed front line health care workers in Richland, Lexington and Sumter County. You can read the full article here. Please share your stories with us by emailing us here.

These and other resources for businesses are available on our website.

As always, we will keep you up-to-date on any further information as it becomes available. Please feel free to reach out to us at mailto:chris.hardy@sumterchamber.comwith questions.

Have a great day,

Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM
President & CEO

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