On behalf of the Branson community, our hearts go out to everyone affected by the coronavirus and the far-reaching impact it is having on our daily lives.

As we all deal with these extraordinary circumstances, our first and most important responsibility is everyone’s safety.  The city of Branson has advised most businesses to limit gatherings of groups, planned or spontaneous, to 10 or less people at this time. 

We are actively monitoring developments surrounding the coronavirus. Once again, we want to emphasize that the safety and health of our visitors, residents and employees is of paramount importance to us.

Branson/Lakes Area Business Resources

The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber & CVB and Taney County Partnership have reorganized staff to better serve Branson over the next eight weeks. New teams have developed to provide timely information and direct people in our community to valuable resources.

Our team is standing by to provide COVID-19 and business-related assistance, provide clarity and share critical resources. To speak directly with a live representative of our organization call (417) 334-4084.

SBA Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration will be offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

SBA DISASTER LOAN ASSISTANCE APPLICATION

For program questions or assistance in completing the application online, businesses can contact the SBA Customer Service Center directly at 1-800-659-2955 or create an online appointment by following this link to the Small Business Development Center.

Unemployment Resources: Employers

The Missouri Department of Labor has assembled several links and videos to help employers make informed decisions during this difficult period.  The resources listed below do not replace the comprehensive information available on the Department of Labor website but rather represent information commonly requested by employers.

FILING A CONTRIBUTION & WAGE REPORT

SHARED WORK PROGRAM – a lay-off aversion program

FILING A MASS CLAIM – Expedite filing multiple claims for your employees.

Tax representatives contact information: 573-751-1995 or esemptax@labor.mo.gov

EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION TEAM (ETT)

Managing staffing reductions and layoffs can be a grueling experience. The decision to lay off employees is one no employer wants to make.  However, when layoffs do occur, it’s good to know you have a support team ready to meet with affected workers and offer assistance.

The Employment Transition Team (ETT) is available at no cost to businesses and affected workers.  As part of the ETT, a Regional Workforce Coordinator and local workforce system staff are available to provide guidance to employers and reemployment services for affected employees.

Contact the Missouri Job Center or call the State number at 1-800-877-8698.

Unemployment Resources: Employees

If this is your first time filing for unemployment please watch this video on unemployment basics.

FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT

REGIONAL CLAIMS CENTERS

Currently, Regional Claim Centers are closed to the public. However, representatives are still available by phone Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The phone number for the Springfield Office is (417) 895-6851 or you can contact them by email at esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov

JOB CENTER RESOURCES

All Job Centers are closed to in-person services, but will continue to be staffed through March 27, at which time service delivery methods will be re-evaluated. Signs have been posted on the doors of the closed Job Centers directing customers to call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627) or go online to jobs.mo.gov to access resources until further notice.

Missouri Job Centers are offering reemployment services to those laid off due to the COVID-19 situation. Those services include:

Resume and interview preparation as well as assistance with job searching.

The Job Centers also offers training assistance to those that qualify.

Support for unemployment insurance claimants will continue to be provided by telephone or online. Job Center staff are prioritizing services to meet the increased unemployment requests.

Workforce Updates: Talent Attractions Programs

J-1 INFORMATION

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) essentially issued a 60-day suspension on exchange programs that began March 12, 2020.

Employers that expect J-1s during summer 2020 and have questions on status should contact their designated visa sponsors. Visa sponsor contact information can be found at the J1 Visa website.

For all J-1 related updates from the State Department, visit the state department website.

H-2A, H-2B, AND CW-1 TEMPORARY VISA PROGRAMS

General questions related to the processing of applications, requests for extensions in replying to audits and other official correspondence, and changes of contact information (mailing or email addresses, phone number) should be directed to the OFLC Chicago NPC using the following contact methods:

Online: For pending applications, please access your Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system account and upload a change request or responsive document using the “Ad Hoc Document” function for the specific application.

Email: TLC.Chicago@dol.gov. Include the phrase “COVID-19” followed by the full case number in the email subject line.

Phone:312-886-8000

Please have the full case number ready for the OFLC helpdesk staff

PUERTO RICO

All recruitment operations have been suspended until further notice, including travel. PR DOL is discouraging inbound or outbound recruitment at this time.

Please remember Puerto Ricans can collect unemployment benefits and participate in any state or federal relief efforts.

Branson Business Checklist

VIRTUAL HOSPITAL VISITS – Have I informed staff what to do if a visitor or employee has symptoms? CoxHealth is offering FREE Virtual Visits. Use code: COVID. Please refer to this link for this free medical assistance.

EMPLOYEE HYGIENE GUIDELINES – Have I trained employees regarding good hygiene safeguards, making extra sure that they are following these guidelines?

PUBLIC SPACES CLEANING GUIDELINES – Have I shown our staff the proper cleaning regimen for public spaces?

DOCUMENTING ECONOMIC INJURIES – Am I keeping a journal on my business at this time?  Be sure to document/log all economic injury to your business including, but not limited to, lost business (value, date, and situation), changes in staffing needs, effects of government-recommended business practices; anything you are doing different due to COVID-19 other than business as usual.

LATEST GOVERNMENT RECOMMENDATIONS – Am I up to date on the COVID-19 situation and government-issued recommendations?