Wednesday Update
March 25th, 2020
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An Important Request from Milford Regional Medical Center Remains
We are seeking out donations from businesses concerning medical supplies, especially masks and PPE. I’m sure you are aware of the shortages. We have appreciated the response from our community so far, but the need is great, supply is short, and we need your help.
Donation of medical supplies can be made by calling 508-422-2228 or email foundation@milreg.org.
Milford Regional Medical Center truly appreciates any help you can give us.
To Our Blackstone Valley Manufacturers:
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Critical Need for PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
Are you able to help?

As many of you may already be aware, the State Senate has reached out to request assistance in procurement and production of critical need medical personal protection equipment, including masks, gloves, gowns, and eye protection. There is also a very critical shortage of ventilator equipment, urgent need to adapt the current equipment, including ventilators to work with more than one patient and to produce large numbers.
These critical needs have been identified as the Covid-19 crisis is beginning to accelerate in Massachusetts. The national strategic supplies have only been able to deliver to states about 10% of requests. Two Boston hospitals already have nearly 100 staff (each) on quarantine from exposures to individuals carrying the virus. The CDC has revised criteria to allow a wide variety of respirators along with less protective masks to be used in medical care.
Would you reach out to contacts in your circle who may have production capacity, stores that could be shared, or technical knowledge and skills that could assist.
The State Senators for our region are Senators Mike Moore and Ryan Fattman. Their emails are Michael.Moore@masenate.gov , Ryan.Fattman@masenate.gov but you may also reach out to Jeannie at jhebert@blackstonevalley.org
Weekly Webinar #2 with InThink: Running Your Business in Quarantine: A Survival Guide
Thank you to everyone who attended last week’s webinar. The big turnout was a nice reminder of how important these resources are to our community, and we’re happy to be back for week two.

InThink Webinar Series
Running Your Business in Quarantine: A Survival Guide

Join CEO, Kham Inthirath, as he discusses how your business can strategically position itself in the wake of COVID-19. The second session is this Friday, March 27th 2-3pm EST. Other experts will join the conversation in the following weeks.

Webinar Agenda
· Crisis Messaging (Internal + External)
· Loom & Zoom + How to Leverage Them for Your Business
· Rapid Response Business Plan + Why You Need One
· Q&A
For those of you who joined last week, this will be a deeper dive into some of the strategies and resources we previously shared. For those of you who are new, we’ll share examples and actionable takeaways to help your business during this uncertain time.


If you can’t wait until the webinar, book your complimentary 30-min advising session and see if a Rapid Response Business Plan is right for you. Schedule here or email us at help@inthinkagency.com.

Looking forward to seeing some friendly faces. Hang in there everyone!
-Kham and the InThink Team
A Guide to the Families First Cornonavirus Response Act
Straight from Congressman Jim McGovern

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The guidance addresses questions including:
· How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
· How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
· How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
· How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?

Below, broken down by category, are the guides published by the WHD to answer the above questions:
Looking for Working Capital Assistance?
Please visit SBA.gov/MA for up to date information on loan packages from emergency guaranteed loans up to 10 million dollars and emergency bridge loans $25,000.00 or less. Some include payment deferments are up to 12 months.
Help with immediate relief!
Accion Launches COVID-19 Relief Program
The spread of COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on small businesses and the clients we serve at Accion. While the full economic impact of the virus is unclear, we know the fallout will be extensive and long lasting—and that small businesses, and the families who rely on them, will be the hardest hit.
As an economic first responder, Accion has launched its COVID-19 Relief Program with the aim of helping over 2,000 small business owners withstand and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, preserving critical jobs and livelihoods. To fund the program, we have launched a fundraising campaign to raise low-interest rate loan capital, loan loss reserves, and core operating support.
Our COVID-19 Relief Program offers the following to clients:
  • Loan deferment or loan restructures to 1,500 eligible clients;
  • One-on-one support to small business owners to access publicly sourced disaster relief funds at the city, state and federal level in each of our core markets; and
  • Our COVID-19 Relief Loan to 500 small business owner who aren’t a fit for the public relief programs. This loan includes multi-month deferment on the first payment, low interest rates, and additional flexibility in lending criteria.
We have decades of experience in providing disaster relief support to small businesses through our September 11 Fund (2001), our Superstorm Sandy Relief Program (2012), and most recently, our 2017 Irma Relief Fund.
While COVID-19 represents a unique challenge, we know that a quick response through collaborative donor support will ensure the survival of thousands of small businesses, whose jobs and services are desperately needed by families in neighborhoods across the country.
To learn more about how to support the program, contact Victoria Richardson at (646) 833-4546 or vrichardson@accioneast.com.
To learn more about the COVID-19 Relief Program, or to refer a business to the program, call (866) 245-0783 or visit https://us.accion.org.
To donate directly to the program, visit https://us.accion.org/eastdonate.
Please support an effort that not only preserves jobs, services and small businesses, but something equally important—a unique fabric of life called ‘the neighborhood’; a community’s home.
Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Virtual Town Halls
To help with the increased demand on the unemployment system and the increased volume or your staff, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance will be hosting virtual town hall meetings. We will take all who sign up through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim. We will also be taking questions from claimants across the Commonwealth. Applicants should file for benefits at https://www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online .

Sign up information for the virtual town hall is available at www.mass.gov/unemployment/townhall.
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To further help claimants through the process of applying for benefits, we have made specific web page updates that include the latest guidance for employee qualifications and additional resources like contact forms and a COVID-19 specific unemployment claim handbook that can be viewed at https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-unemployment-and-coronavirus-covid-19.
As a reminder, the BVCC Office is closed to in person meetings this week, but please do not hesitate to contact the staff of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. We are here to ensure your questions get answered, and your business needs are met.

Remote contact info:

Jeannie Hebert President & CEO cell #: (508) 981 5782 jhebert@blackstonevalley.org
Liz O’Neil Programs and Events Coordinator loneil@blackstonevalley.org
Julia Juskavitch Marketing Coordinator jjuskavitch@blackstonevalley.org
Marcia Decker and Judy Curtis Administration bvadmin@blackstonevalley.org