Preparation, Not Panic
This page will be updated with new and relevant resources as they become available. If you have information that you would like to share with Sumter's business community regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please email us.
Seeing the Good
In the days and weeks ahead, it is imperative that Sumter’s business community pull together and use its influence to bend the curve on COVID-19 cases. Many of our local businesses are already providing strong leadership, and through outreach, policy and compassion, have helped workers and families navigate this crisis a bit more easily. If you would like to recognize a local business for going above and beyond in its efforts to support the community during this difficult time, please provide all relevant information and email here. We will be showcasing your stories across our communications channels.
COVID-19 Resources for Educators
- Santee Cooper will conduct science experiments on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am on their Facebook page
- All Audible stories are free to stream on your desktop/laptop/phone/tablet here
- DiscoverE (Discover Engineering) has available for all grades
- Submit an Emergency Grant Request for resources to support food access for children and families affected by school closures
- Virtual tours of world museums, educational sites, and galleries for children are available
- Google now lets you explore US National Parks via 360 degree virtual tours
- Kahn Academy can be used for remote learning during school closures, see blog post for instructions
- Kahn also offers Daily Schedules Age 4-18 for students
- TEDEd has resources for students, teachers, and parents
- Breathe for Change offers many Wellness Resources for Educators
- Microburst Learning offers a free 20-minute soft skills lesson called Why Soft Skills?
- Tallo offers resources to stay connected during coronavirus here
- MEBA offers resources on Hot Jobs of the future
- SCAHEC offers future health-care professionals to explore Health Careers
- ΣΧΓΣΣΜ CREATEngCamps
- SCGSSM iTEAMXtremes: NextGeneration Camps
- SCGSSM GoSciTechCamps
- ΦΥΤΥΡΕ Υ, a program partnership between Boeing and DiscoveryEducation, includes ready-to-go STEM activities.
- Innovating the Future Virtual Field Trip - This virtual field trip (VFT) takes students to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas including a Pre-Virtual Field Trip Companion Guide.
- Online Lesson Plans - Standards-aligned STEM lessons guide students as they explore key concepts in aerospace and engineering.
- 100 Days of Learning – A collection of lesson plans, videos, interactive media, and design challenges, all of which are intended to increase student interest and aptitude for 21st- century skills media, and design challenges, all of which are intended to increase student interest and aptitude for 21st- century skills.
COVID-19 Resources for Businesses
As COVID-19 emerges as a global concern, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the situation and we want to provide you with accurate information, useful tools, and resources that allow you to operate your business effectively.
With the impacts of COVID-19 on our local business community already in effect, in addition to good hand hygiene and common-sense precautions with your employees and patrons, The Chamber encourages all local businesses to consider the following:
- For your business: Prepare for negative economic impacts.
- Capital: Create, confirm, or expand your line of credit.
- Staffing: Develop staffing plans for varying levels of customers and revenue (what does an 80% scenario plan look like?).
- Insurance: Check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and options.
- For your customers: Make your place of business as hygienic as possible and communicate what you are doing to customers so they feel comfortable visiting.
- For your employees: Check, modify, and communicate HR policies regarding remote working, sick-leave, and compensation during the health crisis. Try to ensure your policies are as flexible and non-punitive as possible. Sick employees should be encouraged to stay home.
- For your workflow: Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences. Where relevant, consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time; and create and test remote employee collaboration systems (consider apps such as Slack and Zoom).
- For your cashflow: Communicate with your landlord (or tenants) and lenders about expectations and request flexibility (better to have that conversation now).
- For yourself: Eat well, sleep, and exercise. Taking care of yourself in this time of stress will improve your resistance to infection and resilience in managing difficult business situations. And of course, wash your hands all the dang time and don’t touch your face, or anyone else, for that matter.
- For your Chamber: For us to best serve you, we need to know and share what our members are doing to manage risks. To that end, please tell us what’s working and what you need from us!
Currently, our Chamber office will remain open. Some upcoming programs have been canceled or rescheduled. Please keep an eye on our website for updates on events, Chamber news, and resources to help your business weather this trying time. See past announcements.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
Small Business & Non-Profit Loans
The Small Business Administration (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. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at:
Tax Payment Postponement
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Tuesday, March 17th that taxpayers can delay paying their income taxes on as much as $1 million in taxes owed for up to 90 days. Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in taxes owed. Read more here.
Emergency Remote Work
Harvard Business Review outlines 5 recommendations in the article, “What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?”:
- Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.
- Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.
- Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption.
- Set up a communications protocol in advance.
- Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.
Other helpful resources:
Preparing Your Organization
Businesses, no matter their size, can significantly influence our community’s readiness, awareness, resources, and engagement against the spread of the coronavirus. This begins with organizational preparedness, including risk management teams and contingency plans.
Employers should prepare and socialize an Outbreak Response Plan and:
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involves employees in development and review.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using the plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
- Share the plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available.
- Share best practices with other businesses in the community.
Corporate Policy Recommendations
The United States Department of Health and Human Services, along with the CDC, recommends that companies:
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Speak with vendors that provide contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
According to OSHA, the Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to influenza, pandemics, or other public health emergencies, and their effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Learn more here.
For more information, view the U.S. Chamber’s “Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus (Covid-19)” PDF.
Ogletree Deakins also answered top FAQs on federal labor and employment laws.
- A Guide to COVID-19 & Your Finances: What You Need To Know
- The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America
- COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) - South Carolina
- SC Governor McMaster Updates
- Disaster Assistance from the Small Business Administration
- SBA News release
- Bullet points from above news release
- Preparing for and responding to Coronavirus from Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
- Combating the Coronavirus from the US Chamber of Commerce
- COVID-19 info from South Carolina Health & Human Services
- COVID-19 info from Centers for Disease Control
- U.S. Department of Labor: Coronavirus Resources
- CDC: Handout to Keep the Workplace Safe
- OSHA: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- How to properly WASH HANDS
- SBA: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- Forbes: Top 15 Tips To Effectively Manage Remote
- Coronavirus Content Hub
- Pandemic Guidance
- A brief outline of how to prepare before and respond during a pandemic by Ready.gov, official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC recommended guidance for employers, including advice for developing a response plan and steps that all employers can implement now. Based on what is currently known about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Understanding the Coronavirus
- On-demand webinar about the impact of coronavirus on the private sector and how companies should consider their response, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Jan 27, 2020)