WEST HOLLYWOOD (May 11, 2020) – The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (WHCC) announced a plan which will call on legislators and government agencies at all levels to adopt a comprehensive approach to ensure the economic recovery of small business which has been crushed by the forced shutdowns related to COVID-19. This 5-Point Plan captures the core issues that must be resolved for businesses to “Get Back to Business”. These challenges were identified in extensive roundtable discussions across several industries that occurred during the Stay at Home orders this spring. Based on that feedback, the Chamber believes that failure to act will result in massive numbers of business closures and unprecedented unemployment which will impact communities across the nation.
WHCC is advancing the conversation with other chambers and other community organizations in efforts to coordinate a united voice for lawmakers to understand the severity of the COVID strategies in place. WHCC Chair, Nick Rimedio stated, “We’re calling for a return to common sense that protects the small business community from well-intentioned but economically devastating public policy.” Rimedio, who also is the general manager of the West Hollywood hotel La Peer by Kimpton, added, “It’s a truly unprecedented situation where there are multiple nuclear-level threats to entrepreneurs, creating a toxic environment which puts millions of jobs at risk. We’ve offered the 5-Point Plan in response to these issues, and hope to stir a dialogue in defining the new normal, which is especially critical as we are in a major election year.”
Included below are general details on WHCC 5-Point Plan:
1. Liability and Insurance: Extend Liability Immunity to employers
Extend Liability Immunity to employers on all COVID related employee and customer claims,
including workers compensation, so long as compliant with local regulations. Insert caps on
increases for business liability insurance costs and insert limits on liability for non-compliant
2. PPP Loan Terms and Extend Program – Policy needs adjustments
Restructure PPP loans to 5 year terms, adjust from 75% to 65% on payroll expense and extend the 8 week period for forgivable spending to the end of the year with an option to extend another six months if business revenues are impacted by more than 50% year over year.
We recommend a third round of PPP loans to ensure that businesses are not left behind and are able to receive much needed loans to operate.
3. Funding Support for any Required COVID-Related Testing
In the event of government mandates for businesses to perform testing, employers should be reimbursed on all training/staffing/equipment costs, in addition to extending Liability Immunity for any related employee and customer claims
4. Federal Government to fund COVID Business Interruption Fund
Support the America’s Recovery Fund Coalition which seeks to cover COVID business interruption losses in a manner like the 9/11 Fund.
The Fund would help to cover all past and ongoing COVID losses related to government orders including all forced closures, social distancing requirements, and social distancing/gathering caps which impacts business revenues. Commercial Rent and Mortgage payment relief would be eligible as well as any interior or exterior modifications to comply with COVID regulations.
This Fund would be supported at least partially through reallocating potential unemployment extensions at both state and Federal levels that would occur over a multi-year period.
5. Define the New Normal without Future Shutdowns through Regular Testing & a Recovery Center System
Create public testing stations with mandated daily or weekly tests. Digital cards would be employed to convey viral testing results that could be required to enter public venues. The testing stations would be operated by municipal or state governments.
Pass Legislation for COVID-19 Healthy Recovery Bill to convert existing buildings that are underutilized and/or abandoned (malls, other retail, military facilities, office, hotels) into Safe Recovery Centers where infected individuals can quarantine if they elect to not do so in their own home. All costs would be free for the public while hospitals would remain available for people requiring extensive medical care. Additional sick pay would be available to protect employees, to which employers would deduct sick pay costs from payroll taxes or other eligible taxes.
In this plan, Business returns to normal Pre-COVID practices with the addition of the Regular Testing and enhanced cleaning procedures.
In response to the boldness of the points above, Genevieve Morrill, President and CEO for the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, commented, “It became clear to us after weeks of open dialogue with our community that we have a strong responsibility to participate in the process of defining the “New Normal” alongside other chambers across the country. We represent small business across almost every industry, and together, our members employ millions of Americans. Simply put, the 5-Point Plan seeks to protect employers and employees alike. We are challenging our elected leaders to ensure that a future safe from COVID also includes a vibrant economy that fosters innovation, creativity, and growthkeeping the American Dream alive.”
MORE ABOUT WHCC
Founded in 1921, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6, non-profit organization which supports and promotes a community environment where commerce can flourish. The Chamber fosters prosperity and champions local business by providing resources and leadership to advance activity through economic development. We advocate and represent business interests to government, while enhancing the quality of community life and promoting the uniqueness of West Hollywood.