Business Resources & Guidance
As the voice of the regional business community, 1A is diligently monitoring and evaluating the COVID-19 pandemic and stands ready to assist Acadiana’s employers, workforce, and the community at large, with response and recovery. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.
FEDERAL VACCINE MANDATE
On Nov. 5, OSHA released details on President Biden’s vaccine mandate. The rule requires private companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or face weekly testing. However, on Nov. 6, the Fifth Court of Appeals issued a stay, freezing the mandate until the court takes further action.
For now, check out our quick rundown, including how to comment on the rule.
For more details, here are a few resources:
- DOL: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS
- OSHA: Webinar | Summary | FAQs
- U.S. Chamber: Fact Sheet | Webinar 11/5
- SHRM: OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Vaccine-or-Testing Policy
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
GOV. EDWARDS LIFTS LOUISIANA’S MASK MANDATE STATEWIDE, EXCEPT FOR K-12 SCHOOLS
October 26, 2021 – Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will lift Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate in all settings except for K-12 schools, after sustained improvement across the state in terms of new cases, test positivity and hospitalizations. The Governor’s updated order allows school districts to opt out of the mask mandate as long as they continue to follow the existing quarantine guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better separate exposed students and faculty members from others and avoid outbreaks on campus.
ACADIANA COVID-19 DASHBOARD (TESTING & VACCINE INFO)
Acadiana Planning Commission launched a COVID-19 Dashboard with the latest testing and vaccine information for the Acadiana region. All data is coordinated through the Region 4 Public Health office.
The Acadiana COVID Dashboard provides information relating to:
- COVID Counts for the State and by Parish for Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion Parishes.
- COVID Test Center Calendar and list for the Acadiana Parishes.
- COVID Find a Test Center map for the Acadiana Parishes.
- Vaccine information and locations by Parish list and map.
Learn more at www.planacadiana.org/COVID
STATE FIRE MARSHAL: UPDATED GUIDANCE FOR MODIFIED PHASE 3
Download the latest guidance from the State Marshall at opensafely.la.gov.
DO I NEED A COVID-19 TEST?
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or you have been exposed to COVID-19, visit DoINeedACovid19Test.com to find a no-cost testing site near you. Pre-registering is encouraged but not required.
COVID-19 QUARANTINE GUIDANCE SHORTENED
Dec. 7 – The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) today adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recently updated guidance that allows people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days, or as few as 7 days with a negative test.
Still, the shorter quarantine periods do come with a risk that a person may be infectious when he or she leaves quarantine, and should be carefully evaluated when weighing options. Because even a small post-quarantine transmission risk could result in substantial secondary clusters in settings where there is a high risk for transmission, LDH is currently recommending the full 14-day quarantine period for use among residents and staff of congregate living settings such as nursing homes and correctional facilities.
CDC continues to recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, but now provides two new options to shorten quarantine based on local circumstances and resources. The Louisiana Department of Health has reviewed the updated CDC guidance and underlying data and accepts the following options to shorten quarantine for close contacts of an individual infected with COVID-19:
- Quarantine can end after 10 days, on day 11, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. For the 10-day quarantine, the risk that an individual who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected is about 1%, with an upper limit of 10%.
- If communities have enough testing resources, quarantine can end after 7 days, on day 8, if the individual takes a COVID test (molecular/PCR or antigen), receives a negative result, and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The individual leaving quarantine should be tested within 48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation (e.g., in anticipation of testing delays). The individual needs to stay in quarantine until they receive their negative test result. Quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than day 8. For the 7-day quarantine, the risk that an individual who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected is about 5%, with an upper limit of 12%.
Should an individual choose to shorten their quarantine the following guidance is critical:
- Daily symptom monitoring should continue through quarantine day 14.
- Individuals should adhere strictly through quarantine day 14 to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions including social distancing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, hand washing, and especially wearing masks/face coverings when outside the home. Should any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status. Adhering to non-pharmaceutical interventions like masking and distancing are important always and for everyone but, due to the increased transmission risk, they are of vital importance to those wishing to shorten their quarantine.
- Visitation to hospitals or to high-risk congregate facilities such as nursing homes or correctional facilities should not occur until after quarantine day 14.
- Individuals may continue to quarantine for 14 days without testing per existing recommendations. The existing 14-day quarantine protocol is the “gold standard”; it guarantees maximum reduction of post-quarantine transmission risk and is the strategy with the greatest collective experience at present.
- In addition, LDH recommends that any close contacts who develop symptoms within the 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection should get tested as soon as possible.
Quarantine is used to separate someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and may develop illness away from other people. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they have the virus.
The recommendation for a 14-day quarantine was based on estimates of the upper bounds of the COVID-19 incubation period. Quarantine’s importance grew after it was evident that persons are able to transmit COVID before symptoms develop, and that a substantial portion of infected people never develop symptomatic illness but can still transmit the virus. In this context, quarantine is a critical measure to control transmission.
Quarantine is intended to reduce the risk that infected persons might unknowingly transmit infection to others.
Read the CDC guidance here.
CDC EXPANDS CLOSE CONTACT RULE
Oct. 29 – The CDC recently updated its guidance on defining “close contact” with a COVID-19 positive person. Previously, close contact was defined as being near an infected individual for 15 consecutive minutes and within six feet. With this update, brief interactions with an infected person for 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period should be considered in close contact, triggering self-quarantine for 14 days. Read this SHRM article on this change and what it means for employers and contact tracing and in the workplace.
WORKPLACE READINESS BEST PRACTICES
One Acadiana’s Workplace Readiness Playbook
As our region starts to stabilize from the pandemic and restrictions begin to lift, it’s critical that businesses have a plan in place to bring employees back into the physical workplace. One Acadiana’s “Workplace Readiness Playbook” outlines some of the best thinking and practices on strategies to protect your employees, your workspace, and your community. Download the Playbook here.
Workplace Readiness Resources from Local Companies On May 12, 1A and partners hosted a webinar on “Getting Back to Work Safely” (watch webinar recording here). The webinar featured a panel of leaders from local companies, including Chad Abell (ACSW Architects), Tessa Brown (CCI Piping Systems), Neil Davis (Acadian Companies), and Brent Hebert (Dupré Logistics). They shared the following workplace readiness resources with participants:
- Dupré Logistics reference documents (including remote work policy, video messages, and workplace safety plan)
- Bain and Co. COVID-19 action plan for businesses
- Sample COVID-19 return-to-work plan
- “Going Back to Work” blog post on healthy buildings
- Acadiana Society for Human Resource Management (ASHRM) resources
ONE ACADIANA’S GUIDE TO “SAFE AT WORK”
1A released a user-friendly guide to the Louisiana business community’s “Safe at Work” framework – a starting point for businesses and elected officials to consider in developing reopening plans. View the framework here: OneAcadiana.org/SafeAtWork
CORONAVIRUS SUPPLIES FOR BUSINESSES
Click on the link below to download a list of 1A vendors providing PPE, sanitation supplies, thermographic cameras, contact tracing services, and more.
EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC), in partnership with the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD), is administering an Emergency Rental Assistance Program in 57 parishes.
The main objectives of the program are as follows:
- Keep people housed during the pandemic by preventing evictions for failure to pay rent
- Serve maximum number of households as quickly as possible while prioritizing those in greatest need
- Ensure equitable geographic distribution of assistance
- Compensate landlords for unpaid rent during eviction moratorium
Learn more and check your eligibility here.
LOUISIANA LOAN PORTFOLIO GUARANTY PROGRAM (LPGP)
The Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program (LPGP) will offer loans up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by COVID-19. A total loan pool of $50 million is available to eligible small businesses across Louisiana. Application will be accepted by banks until April 30, 2020.
Find loan details and a list of participating banks here.
The LPGP is a partnership of Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana Bankers Association, and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
View 1A’s guide to the EIDL here.
To apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), please visit: covid19relief.sba.gov.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends email).
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program
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.
Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Businesses should consult with local lenders as to whether it is participating in the program.
The U.S. Chamber has released a Small Business Guide and Checklist to help guide business through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Click here to review U.S. Treasury’s guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program for borrowers and lenders.
Notice: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.
SBA also offers additional COVID-19 relief.
Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) Guidance for Employers
Information for Employers in Louisiana: If you are temporarily closing or reducing your hours of operations due to COVID-19, please contact the LWC to discuss how we can provide assistance and answer your questions about unemployment insurance and other programs and resources available.
- Contact us at EmployerServices@lwc.la.gov with your unemployment insurance questions. Be sure to provide your company’s name, a point of contact, telephone number and email address, as well as specifics on the assistance you are requesting. The Employer Call Center, 225-326-6999, is also available. http://www.laworks.net/PublicRelations/COVID_19_Information.asp
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Resources & Guidelines for Business
This page contains links to resources on business resilience and disaster recovery including resources for businesses to maintain operations during the coronavirus outbreak, how the U.S. Chamber and the business community are responding, and the economic impact of the crisis. https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/coronavirus
Applications opened on April 20, 2020 for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Save Small Business Fund, which will provide $5,000 grants to small business owners in the U.S. and its territories.
Ready.gov Business Continuity Plan
When business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential. Development of a business continuity plan includes four steps:
- Conduct a business impact analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions and processes and the resources that support them.
- Identify, document, and implement to recover critical business functions and processes.
- Organize a business continuity team and compile a business continuity plan to manage a business disruption.
- Conduct training for the business continuity team and testing and exercises to evaluate recovery strategies and the plan.https://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-plan
FEMA’s Emergency Preparedness Resources for Businesses
FEMA provides Emergency Preparedness Resources for Businesses across multiple areas.
LABI’s Recommendations & Resources
With the Coronavirus causing concern both nationally and within the state, LABI is sharing resources with its members in order to aid Louisiana’s business community in their response.
Recommendations for Louisiana Businesses: As you look to pass accurate information to your workers and make important decisions regarding business operations, a good place to start is with the CDC’s recommended business strategies, which include:
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Separate sick employees.
- Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning.
- Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps.
Louisiana Economic Development’s Resources for Impacted Businesses
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) is currently monitoring the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
LED is focusing on business continuity aimed at safeguarding economic, as well as physical, health. This information is in addition to that found on the Governor’s website; it will focus on useful resources and information for businesses and individuals. https://www.opportunitylouisiana.com/covid-19-assistance
Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center
By registering (approximately 10 to 15 minutes), you agree to allow business information you provide to be accessed and utilized by LA BEOC participants (including government agencies, academic partners and industry trade organizations) in the State’s disaster response and recovery efforts.
Postlethwaite & Netterville (P&N) Coronavirus Resource Center
P&N is providing businesses with a dashboard of helpful resources including the most current information on federal legislation and IRS updates.
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Coronavirus Resources
SHRM is providing best practices and resources for businesses including: how to prepare their workforce for the possibility of business closures, working from home, quarantines, and other outcomes of a disease outbreak. https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/Pages/communicable-diseases.aspx
EEOC Guidelines to the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws
What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws
WORKFORCE ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
LWC Guidance for Workers & Unemployment Eligibility Change
The Louisiana Workforce Commission has made changes to unemployment to help workers across the state whose jobs were impacted by the coronavirus. The changes mean more people may be eligible for unemployment insurance.
Those who may qualify include:
- Workers whose hours were reduced because of lack of work due to coronavirus
- Employees who are not being compensated despite their workplace temporarily closing
- Employees instructed not to go to work, and who are not being paid while at home
Those employees may file a claim online at www.louisianaworks.net/hire or by calling the claim center at 866-783-5567. You must answer “yes” to the question “are you filing for unemployment insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 (coronavirus)?”
Special COVID-19 Blanket Employment Certificates for Minors to work in Louisiana
In response to the current COVID-19 event, pursuant to La. R.S. 23:184.1 the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) will begin issuing sixty (60) day blanket Employment Certificates for employers desiring to employ minors in the State of Louisiana. Employment Certificates issued due to this event shall expire sixty (60) days from the date of issuance. Upon expiration, employers will be required to obtain Employment Certificates as required pursuant to La. R.S. 23:181 et. seq.
Employers desiring to obtain an Employment Certificate pursuant to this memorandum must submit a completed and signed “Application to Employ Minors under 18” along with proof of age to email@example.com. The application can be downloaded from the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s website or by copying and pasting the following web address into your web browser: http://www.laworks.net/Downloads/WFD/MinorApplicationToEmployForm.pdf.
Incomplete applications will not be processed. Employers should allow three (3) days for processing. When the application has been approved, the employer will be notified via email from the LWC Office of Workforce Development. The names of those minors who are approved to work pursuant to the Employment Certificate will also be attached to the email. As indicated, blanket Employment Certificates are effective for a maximum of sixty (60) days. Blanket Employment Certificates are not transferable. Certificates are required to be kept at the minor’s work location.
Any questions or concerns regarding this memorandum should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Job Openings to Meet COVID-19 Needs
See which businesses are in need of additional workers to meet current demand: https://lafayette.org/helpwanted
ACADIANA OPPORTUNITY WEBSITE
1A and regional partners are helping connect job seekers with training programs and job opportunities. Explore acadianaopportunity.com to learn more about education and training options and search for available jobs.
SAFETY BEST PRACTICES FOR WORKPLACE & EMPLOYERS
COVID-19 INFORMATION & GENERAL SAFETY BEST PRACTICES
1A REGION PARISH CONTACTS
Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-788-0177
Evangeline Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-363-1878
Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-364-1836
Iberia Industrial Development Foundation
- O: 337-367-0834
Jeff Davis Economic Development & Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-821-5534
Asian Chamber of Commerce of Acadiana
- O: 337-296-4168
Broussard Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-837-6001
Greater SWLA Black Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-266-9999
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana
- O: 504-885-4262
Lafayette Economic Development Authority
- O: 337-593-1400
Youngsville Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-451-5862
St. Landry Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-942-2683
St. Landry Economic Development
- O: 337-948-1391
Arnaudville Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-754-5316
Breaux Bridge Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-332-5406
St. Martinville Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-394-7578
St. Martin Economic Development Authority
- O: 337-394-2200
St. Mary Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-828-5608
St. Mary Parish Economic Development
- O: 337-828-4100, Ext. 342
Vermilion Chamber of Commerce
- O: 337-893-2491
Vermilion Economic Development Alliance
- O: 337-740-0433
1A and business resource partners hosted a webinar series featuring timely and relevant information designed to help businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis. To browse previously recorded webinars, click on the link below.
HEALTH AND SAFETY FIRST CHECKLIST
Download 1A’s latest checklist for resources to help maintain a safe work environment.
COVID-19 ECONOMIC INDICATORS
In order to best understand the economic impacts of COVID-19 and keep businesses informed, 1A put together the COVID-19 Economic Indicators Report.
Updated January 12.
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Learn how business and community leaders are helping bridge the technology gap between students and teachers during the pandemic.
LED COVID-19 HELP DESK
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) has launched a COVID-19 Help Desk.
Companies can call (833) 457-0531 weekdays,
8 a.m.- 8 p.m., or email LEDbiz@la.gov.