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As events and classes are being canceled around McKinney, the business community is doing its part to stay informed and help keep their neighbors healthy.

The McKinney Chamber of Commerce assured members last week its leaders are following recommendations by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The chamber canceled several upcoming events out of caution. 

“Having said that, we also want to underscore the impact that a wide-spread panic can have on local businesses,” the chamber stated in a message to members. “We will make every effort to continue with our regularly scheduled programs to support our business and community leaders through these uncertain times.”

Historic Downtown McKinney is encouraging residents to continue supporting local businesses through online shopping, gift card purchases, using food delivery services and checking with shops to see if they are participating in in-home delivery options or curbside pickup.

In an update released Thursday night, Congressman Van Taylor said small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep themselves, their employees and their customers healthy. 

As more shoppers are avoiding social interaction, small businesses that depend on foot traffic are likely seeing the affects. According to Taylor, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been instructed to exercise its authority to provide loans to businesses affected by the coronavirus in order to help them overcome any disruptions it causes. More information about SBA programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, can be found at sba.gov. 

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist Americans affected by the coronavirus. 

According to the DOL, under the guidance, federal law permits flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, states may pay benefits where: An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; an individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and an individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. 

In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19, according to the DOL.

An individual receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave is still receiving pay. Thus, generally speaking, the individual is not “unemployed,” so the individual is ineligible for unemployment insurance. The department’s Employment and Training Administration will continue to assist any states seeking assistance in implementing these flexibilities, a DOL release states.

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