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Reopening to Chamber Staff, PPP Forgiveness and Restaurant Guidance

Reopening to Chamber Staff 
Three months ago, did you ever think you would be working through the details for how to check your employees’ temperature? That’s where this pandemic has taken us as businesses across the Colorado begin to reopen. Some of the earliest suggestions for temperature checks raised concerns. How would we staff a new intake function? What could we do to prevent workers from losing valuable time as they waited to be screened? How could we avoid unintended crowding at our entrances?

We created a plan that addresses all those issues, holds us accountable to health care privacy rules, and empowers our employees to make the workplace safer for everyone. At the Chamber, we are focused on three things: safety, cleanliness and security. Here’s what we’re doing.

Safety. We’ve learned over the last two months that most of our team can work productively and effectively from home, so many of our staff members are still remote. And, we’re still not open to Chamber members, but we look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible, based on the guidance of public health experts.

To prepare for the return of more of our team and eventually members, we’re taking actions at our building:

  • Creating a dedicated directional flow for entering and exiting the building’s lobby and going up and down staircases.
  • Staggering staff arrival times and alternating in-office work schedules.
  • Spreading out workstations by using meeting spaces.
  • Providing rolling dividing walls that offer more isolation.
  • Requiring all employees to wear facemasks, which we have provided.

To comply with Gov. Jared Polis’ Safer at Home Executive Order for businesses with 50 or more employees, we are requiring temperature and symptom checks. Employees can complete this online form before even coming into the office or take their temperature at two established stations. Employees then wear wristbands to show they’ve completed their checks. If an employee’s temperature is between 99.2 degrees and 100.4 degrees, we’re asking them to monitor their temperature twice a day for a week. If their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, they must go home. View our temperature check policy, which was reviewed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Cleanliness. In addition to asking staff to wash their hands more often, we’re removing common touchpoints wherever possible. This means propping open internal doors and finding ways to eliminate the need for keypads.

Our cleaning team are our heroes behind the scenes, too. Even while our offices were completely closed, they cleaned the carpets thoroughly and are now doing regular deep cleans with hospital-grade disinfectant on high-touch surfaces and flat surfaces. To help them, we’ve asked staff to keep their desks as clutter-free as possible. We also procured more hand sanitizer and placed hand-sanitizer stands in common areas, like elevator lobbies. To go even further, we upgraded the HVAC filters to the highest grade and are increasing the fresh air mix to help more fresh air circulate throughout the building.

Security. We continue to have security at the building to monitor who is there and that they’re wearing masks. Fewer people are Downtown and there’s been a surge in petty theft. We want to make sure employees feel safe when they’re in the office.

Additional Resources 
From workspace design to health screenings, there are a number of resources available to help businesses reopen safely.

SBA Releases PPP Loan Forgiveness Application 
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application, along with detailed instructions for the application.

The form and instructions include several measures aimed at reducing compliance burdens and simplifying the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll-covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles.
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform required calculations to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness;

Download the form and instructions.

Chamber to Hold Webinar on Preparing for PPP Loan Forgiveness 
On Friday at 10 a.m., we will hold a webinar on PPP loan forgiveness. Our speakers will share how to manage and document how you spend your loan to ensure you are adhering to guidelines and setting your organization up for success. Learn more and register.

Denver to Provide $6.5 Million to Nonprofits and Small Businesses 
The City and County of Denver plans to use $6.5 million of the $20 million of its initial federal CARES Act funding to provide grants to nonprofits and businesses. The rest of the funding will support housing relief, food assistance and public health and safety needs. Read the city’s press release.

State Releases Draft Guidelines for Restaurants 
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released draft proposed guidelines for restaurants and is seeking comments through Friday. The guidelines include:

  • Providing a minimum of 8 feet of spacing between tables.
  • Requiring employees to wear facemasks and gloves.
  • Limiting parties to six people or less.
  • Requesting that customers wear facemasks when not eating or drinking.
  • Asking customers to stay outside and away from dining areas when waiting to be seated.

The state will decide May 25 whether restaurants can begin reopening.

Review the restaurant guidelines and provide feedback online.

Denver to Create Temporary Program Allowing More Outdoor Seating for Restaurants 
The City and County of Denver is accepting proposals from restaurants and bars that want to expand their seating to outdoor areas adjacent to their businesses. Learn about the temporary program and submit a proposal online.