ANNOUNCEMENT

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

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"Ě 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! 

Chamber Internship Opportunities

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

 

Internship Opportunities

The Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer internship opportunities for college and technical vocational students during the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters. Throughout the year, the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce hosts a variety of educational and professional development events as well as networking opportunities amongst the membership and business leaders. LFSCC provides an incredible opportunity to gain hand on experience working in community and government relations, communications, marketing and politics. An internship with the LFSCC will offer responsibilities that include administrative tasks, strategic writing, website maintenance, communications, and event coordination. Selected interns will have ample opportunities to demonstrate skills and abilities amongst the various networking opportunities allotted by the Chamber.

Who Qualifies
College students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program or technical program. Qualifying students must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong computer research skills; working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook; be a self starter; and have strong organizational and time management skills. Interns set their own hours, we request a minimum commitment of 10-15 hours weekly. College credit can also be approved.

Current Summer Internship Openings

Administrative Assistant

Communications Assistant

How to Apply

Please e-mail, mail, or fax your resume, cover letter, and brief (1-2 page) writing sample to the address below.

 

Natalie Cope

Office Manager

Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce

302 W. Gore Blvd.

Lawton, OK 73501

E-mail: ncope@lawtonfortsillchamber.com

Fax: 580.357.3642

 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Letís Get Creative: Looking For A Fun Activity? Download our new Chamber coloring sheet!

Posted by: Communications Manager on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Healthy Bites: Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS 

  1. To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
  2. To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
  4. Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes.
  5. Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.

For more recipes like these, please visit allrecipes.com

Healthy Bites: Black Bean and Salsa Soup

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

INGREDIENTS 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In an electric food processor or blender, combine beans, broth, salsa, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth.
  2. Heat the bean mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated.
  3. Ladle soup into 4 individual bowls, and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sour cream and 1/2 tablespoon green onion.

For more recipes like these, please visit allrecipes.com 

Healthy Bites: Pesto Chicken Florentine

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into strips
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 (4.5 ounces) package dry Alfredo sauce mix
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 (8 ounces) package dry penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese

DIRECTIONS 

Step 1 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute; then add chicken and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side. When chicken is close to being cooked through (no longer pink inside), add spinach and saute all together for 3 to 4 minutes.
Step 2 Meanwhile, prepare Alfredo sauce according to package directions. When finished, stir in 2 tablespoons pesto; set aside.
Step 3 In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
Step 4 Add chicken/spinach mixture to pasta, then stir in pesto/Alfredo sauce. Mix well, top with cheese and serve.

 

Healthy Bites: Balsamic Bruschetta

Posted by: Communications Manager on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced

  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil

  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.

 

For more recipes like these, please visit allrecipes.com