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Shelter-in-place explained, Chamber hosts City of Fort Worth for Leaders Online

Posted on: 03/25/2020

FORT WORTH, TX – Today the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce hosted the City of Fort Worth in its Leaders Online discussing Mayor Price’s Shelter-in-place Order, issued Tuesday, March 24.

The event, a Zoom Webinar livestreamed to Facebook, featured Andria Ellis, Code Compliance Supervisor and Robert Sturns, Economic Development Director for the City of Fort Worth.

Ellis broke down the City’s mandate of essential vs. nonessential businesses. The full list can be found here.

In the wake of shelter-in-place, Ellis affirmed that yes, you can go to the grocery store, but try to go alone and try to be as quick as possible.

“One of the changes that was made with the stay-at-home order is child care services,” said Ellis, “They are essential – but we are asking that the child care providers only care for children of people that are considered essential employees.”

Ellis noted that they’re receiving a lot of phone calls and questions about construction. The city is considering almost all construction essential. They are, however, asking that people don’t start major renovation projects right now.

“We’re getting a lot of phone calls about law offices, tax offices, accountants,” said “They’re kind of in that gray area of essential versus non-essential, so if that work can be done from a home via online or email or phone calls, then certainly still conduct your business. If it can’t be done from home, especially like a tax office or CPA, the government has extended the tax deadline so therefore, we’re not considering that an essential function right now.”

In regards to travel, Tarrant County currently has no travel restrictions; essential employees do not need any permits or documentation, nor does anyone need any documentation to drive. This includes business travel across county lines.

Sturns assured that the City recognizes what a challenging time this is for business owners. He encouraged business owners to apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, in addition to other loan programs as they wait for these funds to become available, including the 405, 7A, and Express Loan programs. The City is also working with PeopleFund on the structure of a Micro-loan Program; more information will be available in the next few days.

“Fort Worth as a community has really stepped up,” said Sturns, “I am amazed at the number of partners and individuals who have reached out to us to provide thoughts, ideas, resources and different programs that they have. We’re trying to facilitate and support all of these folks that are looking to support Fort Worth small business owners.”

Sturns also touched on a business survey conducted by the city. The survey has received 1,200 responses, with one consensus being access to capital. 80% of respondents were small business owners with under 25 employees, who echoed issues of mortgage, employees, and capital.

The City’s Economic Business Advisory Committee will meet this week to discuss the survey results and work through a comprehensive policy or recommendation for our business owners. Expect to hear more from that over the next few weeks.

Watch the full video HERE.

For more information about essential versus non-essential businesses:
Hotline: (817) 392-8478
Email: covid19@fortworthtexas.gov

For more information about City of Fort Worth resources:
Visit https://fortworthtexas.gov/COVID-19/

Leaders Online, an alternative to in-person programming, was created to assist Fort Worth Chamber members with obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders Online features industry experts via virtual livestreams to answer questions and guide local employers in situations they’re likely not familiar with, associated with COVID-19.

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About the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with 1,700 member businesses, is one of the largest chambers in the North Texas region. Through its core functions of business attraction and retention, talent development, small business and entrepreneur support, and government advocacy, the Chamber’s vision is to drive the Fort Worth region to be the most thriving, inviting community for all. Contact the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at (817) 338-2491 or visit http://www.fortworthchamber.com/

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