ANNOUNCEMENT

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Friday, May 29, 2020

Congratulations to our Chamber Members!

Posted by: Communications Manager on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Representative Daniel Pae, District 62 visited several Chamber members and presented them with a Citation of Appreciation for their work in supporting the community and our Keep Calm Shop Local!

WellFast Urgent Care, Annette Wiseman

WellFast Urgent Care, Dr. Manuel Delarosa

CSM Local, Shykira Smith 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Healthy Bites: Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper-Pecan Romesco Sauce

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper-Pecan Romesco Sauce

Many variations of the Catalonian roasted tomato sauce, romesco sauce, add roasted red peppers for a little sweetness. Here, we scorch the peppers and tomato on the grill alongside the chicken to keep things simple.

Healthy Bites: Strawberry & Bean Sprout Salad with Spiced Potatoes

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Strawberry & Bean Sprout Salad with Spiced Potatoes

This combo may seem wild, but trust us--it works. Indian-American chef and cookbook author Raghavan Iyer developed it to have everything he thinks a perfect recipe should: a balance of heat, sweetness, a little pucker and a hit of salt combined with a tango of textures.

Healthy Bites: Lemon Shrimp & Orzo Salad

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Lemon Shrimp & Orzo Salad

Consider making a double batch of this easy pasta salad--it's delicious the next day. The orzo will absorb the dressing as it sits, so add a little more olive oil and lemon juice if you'd like.

Healthy Bites: Shrimp-&-Grits-Stuffed Peppers

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Shrimp-&-Grits-Stuffed Peppers

Shrimp and grits are stuffed inside bell peppers and baked in this healthy stuffed peppers recipe. Add the optional hot sauce if you want to give the filling some kick. Look for bell peppers--use any color--with even bottoms, so that they stand upright on their own when they're cooked.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Payment Protection Plan Forgiveness Information Update and Calculator

Posted by: Communications Manager on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

In determining the forgiveness amount, the SBA will forgive the LESSER of three things:

  1. Total of:
  2. Payroll costs incurred or paid during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period PLUS
  3. Amount of mortgage interest payments paid during Covered Period on real or personal property on an obligation incurred prior to 2/15/20 PLUS
  4. Amount of business rent or lease payments for real or personal property paidduring covered period pursuant to agreements in place prior to 2/15/20 PLUS
  5. Amount of business utility payments paid during the covered period for business utilities for which service began before 2/15/20 MINUS
  6. Any salary/hourly wage reduction amount required {this calculation is spelled out in the application} MULTIPLIED BY
  7. FTE Reduction quotient {this calculation is spelled out in the application}
  8. PPP loan amount
  9. Payroll costs divided by 0.75

 

Additional Points to Consider

  1. Covered period begins on the date the loan proceeds disbursed to the borrower.
  2. In some portions of the loan forgiveness calculation, the application requires the borrower to use the covered period. In other portions of the loan forgiveness calculation, certain borrowers can choose the Covered Period or the Alternative Payroll Covered Period. {Those borrowers with a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule can elect to calculate eligible payroll costs using the 8 week period that begins on the first day of their first pay period following the PPP loan disbursement date.} Those borrowers who choose the Alternative Payroll Covered Period for payroll calculation MUST apply the Alternative Payroll Covered Period whenever there is a reference to that or Covered Period – i.e., must apply it consistently throughout loan forgiveness calculation.

 

PPP Expense Tracker Forgiveness Calculator develop by a friend of Cornerstone who is a CPA (attached)

Spreadsheet  

PPP Application 

Please Help the Chamber - Urgent Action Request

Posted by: Communications Manager on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Dear Chamber Friends –

 

It appears that the Senate may take action as early as today to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, adding 501(c)(6) non-profits to the program is NOT a part of the bill they will be considering. Please reach out to your senators today and urge them to include all non-profit organizations in any bill making changes to the PPP.

Thank you for your quick action of this important issue!

 

Monique and John, U.S. Chamber of Commerce 

 Oklahoma Senate & House Members Contact:

 

JAMES INHOFE (R)

U.S. SENATOR

Phone: 918-748-5111

Email: inhofe.senate.gov

 

 

JAMES LANKFORD (R)

U.S. SENATOR

Phone: 918-581-7651

Email: lankford.senate.gov

 

Tom Cole (R)

U.S. CONGRESSMAN

Phone: (580) 357-2131

Scott.Chance@mail.house.gov

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Chamber 101: Maximize Your Membership

Posted by: Communications Manager on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Join us for our reboot of the monthly - Chamber 101!

Presented by VP of Communications & Membership, Brandi Sims

This event is perfect for new members and potential members interested in learning how to best take advantage of chamber membership.

During the call you would get more information about: networking opportunities, peer groups, committees referral groups, member to member discounts, chamber directories, advertising options and social sharing!

A great way to meet the Chamber staff, learn about all of the advantages and ways to get involved in your Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce!

This event takes place every first Tuesday of the month.

 

Sign Up Here!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

OTIA: Industry Marketing Begins to Show Signs of Return

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

COVID-19 MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: MAY 5

 

Industry Marketing Begins to Show Signs of Return
As a number of states began allowing businesses to reopen over the weekend, leisure travel sentiment is beginning to show signs of increase and travel brands are preparing to respond. In the most recent U.S. Travel Association Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS), travelers demonstrated a 7-point increase in likelihood to take a leisure vacation in the next six months. 

 

Travel is the New Normal
The U.S. travel industry submitted to the White House and governors a document containing detailed guidance for travel-related businesses to help keep their customers and employees safe as the country emerges from the pandemic. It describes vigorous measures the industry will follow to reduce the risk of spread. The goal: to allow travel to safely resume as states and municipalities relax physical distancing guidance. Click here to read the full guidance.

 

FREE eLearningU Opportunity for OTIA Professionals: May 7th

The Oklahoma Travel Industry Association has teamed up with eLearningU to bring you tourism online marketing webinars during this uncertain time. We would like to encourage you to explore the archive of tourism marketing webinars from the team at eLearningU.

 

You have access to 350+ hours of recorded tourism marketing courses, as well as access to live tourism marketing webinars every Thursday. The time you'll be able to spend absorbing cutting-edge marketing knowledge will be well-spent when travelers are able to start exploring again. Our next live webinar starts this Thursday, May 7th, so register here!

 

US Treasury Department Releases New Guidance on PPP

We have heard from many operators on the challenges to comply with PPP rehiring mandates in an era of enhanced unemployment benefits. In a series of filings with the government, the hospitality industry has continuously urged the U.S. Treasury Department to fully utilize its "de minimis" exemption authority under the CARES Act to prevent employers from being penalized. SBA and Treasury intend to issue a final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act's loan forgiveness reduction calculation. (To qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire and the employee's rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower.) Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.

 

We are also seeking guidance on a number of other issues, including Calculating FTEs, using aggregate wages vs average wages, forgiveness of eligible expenses from a PPP loan, etc. Click here to read the most up-to-date list of FAQs for PPP loans. We will update you as soon as we learn more.

 

OTRD Campaign

The Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department Travel Promotions team has been working on a new campaign to encourage Oklahomans to travel, dine, shop, stay and play local as the state eases into the reopening phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more about the full campaign through a Zoom meeting at 3:30 p.m. (CDT) on Wednesday, May 6. Click here to join.

 

Adara Webinar
On Wednesday, May 6th at 10am (CDT) Adara will be hosting a webinar regarding hackers stealing customer data and identity. This webinar will include information on how to defuse third party cookies as well. Click here to register.

 

Webinar Series

On Wednesday, May 6 at 11 am (CDT), Sojern will be hosting a webinar regarding resources, insights and assistance as the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact travel focusing on travel insights and provide tips and best practices on how to prepare for recovery. Click here to register.Sponsored by Sojern

 

Monday, May 4, 2020

ORA Restaurant Industry Recover

Posted by: Communications Manager on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

Back to Work: Legal Issues Operators Should Consider As They Reopen

As you begin the process of re-opening your restaurant, there are still many questions about the impact of COVID-19. In this 1-hour webinar on May 5th at 2:00pm (CDT), the team from Barrow & Grimm, one of our partners in the ORA Legal Resourc e Center, will address issues regarding employer liability, HR issues and general legal matters you need to think about. Click here to register.

 

IRS: Employee Retention Credit (ERC)

Recently, the IRS issued guidance on the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) in the form of 94 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Of particular note for our members are FAQ 15 which stipulates that an employer cannot get a PPP loan and use the ERC and FAQ 83 which states that employers cannot claim the ERC and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). We also want flag FAQ 65which says that employers with more than 100 employees cannot utilize the ERC for health benefits unless the employers also pay monetary wages. FAQ 65 is clearly problematic for many operators who have continued to cover their furloughed employees health benefits. We have heard that a number of Congressional offices do not agree with the IRS interpretation and we expect these concerns to be raised with the Administration.

  • #15: May an Eligible Employer receive both the Employee Retention Credit and a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that is authorized under the CARES Act? No. An Eligible Employer may not receive the Employee Retention Credit if the Eligible Employer receives a PPP loan that is authorized under the CARES Act. An Eligible Employer that receives a PPP loan should not claim Employee Retention Credits.
  • #65. May an Eligible Employer that averaged more than 100 full-time employees in 2019 treat its health plan expenses as qualified wages if it continues the employees' health care coverage, but does not pay the employees' wages for the time for which the employees are not providing services? No. If an Eligible Employer that averaged more than 100 full-time employees does not pay its employees any wages for time that the employees are not providing services, the employer may not treat any portion of its health plan expenses as qualified wages for purposes of the Employee Retention Credit because no portion of the health plan expenses would be allocable to wages paid to its employees.
  • Example: Employer A averaged more than 100 full-time employees in 2019. Employer A is subject to a governmental order that partially suspends the operation of its trade or business. In response to the governmental order, Employer A reduces all employees' hours by 50 percent and pays wages to its employees only for the time that the employees are providing services, but Employer A continues to provide the employees with full health care coverage. Because Employer A is not paying wages to its employees for time that the employees are not providing services, it may not treat any portion of the health plan expenses as qualified wages.
  • #83. May employers receive the credits under section 51 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Work Opportunity Tax Credit or WOTC) and the Employee Retention Credit for the same employee for the same period? No. An Eligible Employer may not claim the Employee Retention Credit and the WOTC for the same employee for the same period of time.

 

New COVID-19 Food Establishment Reopening Guidance for Oklahoma Restaurants

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released its updated COVID-19 Food Establishment Reopening Guidance. Regulations in Spanish are available here. These reopening guidelines were previously listed on the state's website, however have been revised. The ORA was instrumental in providing input to state officials in order to help restaurants reopen within Governor Kevin Stitt's multi-phase reopening plan. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

 

Some cities have created their own guidances or mandates. Here are several other reopening guidances and executive orders based on city health departments and city mayors. We will include more as they are released: 

 

*Note: This is the most up-to-date information available at the time this email was sent. Some information may have changed since then, so we encourage you to check other sources as well. 

 

Liability Protection: Broad Liability Shield in Next COVID-19 Bill

As businesses begin to reopen, broad liability shield for businesses and hospitals will be a top Republican priority for the next round of stimulus legislation. There will likely be "endless lawsuits" which will only slow recovery efforts. Click here to learn more.

 

ServSafe Food Handler Program: Extended to May 31
The ServSafe Food Handler training is free
through May 31, 2020. It’s a basic, line-level employee training program that is 100% online. It is temporarily being accepted while the ServSafe Managers Certification course and exam are unavailable. People who complete a learning suite are prepared to take the proctored exam to complete certification. We encourage you to pass this opportunity on to your employees!

 

Need Help Finding PPE, Menu Solutions?

In light of the new guidelines for standards of cleanliness, hygiene, and social distancing, hospitality operators are in search of much-needed PPE products such as face coverings, gloves, sanitizers.

In order to serve our members in recovery and restart efforts, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association has developed a "live" google document of businesses who offer products and services specific to COVID-19 recovery efforts, as well as a list of providers for menu and promotional solutions. Relative businesses may at any time add themselves to this list, which can be accessed through this link

 

If your business supplies one of these essential products or another relevant product for hospitality operators during this time, please use this live online google doc to enter your business information, and other details as soon as possible. You must fill in all applicable information.

 

ORA Job Postings & Resumes
To further assist members, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association's Job Bank, as well as social media platforms, will feature available job postings that have been submitted to our online ORA Job Bank. Any member or nonmember can post a job to the ORA Job Bank by clicking here. If you know someone who is currently looking for a job, please send your resume to Chandy Rice. We're here to help!