March 27, 2020
We Are All In This TOGETHER…is our mantra every day. We are working to support and advocate for our member businesses during this global pandemic. We know the economic impact is being felt by all of our members. 

Our board has reached out to our members and corporate partners to check in and see how the Chamber can assist during this time. One way is through the COVID-19 updates that we will continue to send as more resources and information become available. It’s a challenging time but We Are All In This TOGETHER. 

If you need anything please call the Chamber office at 832-510-3002 or email .
Tammi Wallace
Co-Founder & Board Chair
Texas Comptroller Announces Waivers of Penalties and Interest 
The Texas Comptroller has announced waivers of penalties and interest for many businesses struggling to pay sales February sales taxes.
Message from Texas Comptroller

These are challenging times for businesses all over the nation. The Texas Comptroller’s office knows that during periods of economic hardship, paying or remitting taxes and fees on time can feel like an extra burden when there’s so much uncertainty. We’re thankful to those businesses that were able to remit state and local sales taxes they collected from customers in February on the March 20, 2020, due date.

We understand that virtually all of our taxpayers are doing their best to remain in compliance and be responsible in submitting the taxes they collected from their customers. With that in mind, our agency is here to offer assistance to those businesses that are struggling to pay the full amount of sales taxes they collected in February.

For businesses that find themselves in this situation, our agency is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest.

We ask that you contact our Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options for remaining in compliance and avoiding interest and late fees on taxes due.

In addition, we have a variety of online tools for businesses seeking assistance. See our COVID-19 emergency response webpage for access to online tools, tutorials and other resources for tax services, and to establish 24/7 online account access with Webfile .

We’re standing by to help Texas businesses during these difficult times.
Upcoming Webinars

Check the Events Calendar frequently for more webinars. Do you have an idea for a webinar you would like to see? Email to share your thoughts. Would you like to present a webinar? Complete the Program Proposal Form .

We know that during this time our members need us now more than ever. We will continue programming through video-conference to provide opportunities for new resources, skills and leads.
Advocacy During COVID-19
The Chamber is actively advocating on behalf of our members.  As governments respond to this pandemic and start their relief efforts, we will make sure our LGBT business community is equally represented in those efforts and our unique business needs are addressed. See the letter the Chamber signed onto spearheaded by the NGLCC.  NGLCC - Small Business & Hospitality Industry Included in Relief
Harris County Under Mandatory 'Stay Home-Work Safe' Order
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, in coordination with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, has issued a mandatory “Stay Home-Work Safe” Order, effective through at least April 3. Follow the links below for more information. 

Read the Order from Judge Lina Hidalgo here .

Businesses in industries not exempted by the order may apply to the County for an waiver. Exemption requests must provide evidence that the business is essential to promoting the general welfare of the residents of Harris County. The County is currently developing an application process which will be made available at . Note that the county has set-up an email address to field questions from companies.
Essential Employees Exempted from Order

Harris County has adopted a list of essential employees identified by the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as part of its order. View the list via

Do you need a letter for Essential Employees? Click here for a sample letter can be adapted for use by exempt companies for use by their essential employees. 
Greater Houston Partnership COVID-19 Resource Page
The Greater Houston Partnership has extensive COVID-19 resources included in their Houston COVID-19 Resources page including federal, state and local information. Learn more via .
Refundable Payroll Tax Credits
Small and midsize employers can claim two new refundable payroll tax credits to reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing employee leave related to the COVID-19 outbreak. See #IRS info at:
SBA Implements Automatic Deferment on Existing SBA Disaster Loans Through End of 2020
Today, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of home and business disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment.

Read more .
The Cannon Launches CERT Program
As of last week, The Cannon launched a blog page that details COVID-19 Resources for The Cannon’s Startup and Small Business Community. Within that page, there are details describing the CERT Program . The Cannon Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is an application-based, multi-week program for startups and small businesses experiencing a crisis caused by external forces. The CERT Program operates as a temporary coalition of complementary subject matter experts, innovators, and creative problem solvers that provide rapid strategic support. 

The CERT Program focuses specifically on helping companies solve challenges resulting from unpredictable and uncontrollable macro-conditions. Entrepreneurs, small businesses, or startups that are in need of specialized assistance during this time, please email the Director of Startup Programs, Kristen Phillips, at .
Support Local
Please continue to support LGBTQ and Allied businesses. Have you seen the Chamber’s Support Local page? Buy gift cards and order online from a Chamber Member. Also, our nonprofits, many of which have had to cancel their spring fundraisers, need our support – please donate to those whose events you would have supported or consider an extra gift to nonprofits that are really struggling right now. Peruse our Chamber Directory or go online and call one of our members to say: “Hi, I’m a Greater Houston LGBT Chamber Member and just wanted to check in and see how you are doing and what I can do to support you."

How Can You Help This Weekend?
Join us in an effort to infuse revenue into our local economy by ordering takeout or delivery for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner this weekend from a Chamber member. We know that spending money in our local economy helps grow our general fund base, which will in turn support our residents, businesses and community as a whole.
Facebook Member Group
Members – have you joined the Facebook Member Group ? This is a members-only group page dedicated to connecting our members. You can share more information about your business and stay up-to-date on the latest “real-time” announcements from the Chamber.

If you’ve joined the Facebook Group, create a post and let us know how you’re doing. Share a great tip on how you are taking it “one day at a time” or something you think may be helpful to other members.
COVID Resource Page
We continue to update the COVID Resource Page with information to help our members navigate this challenging time. Check out the Resource Page here .
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce | 832-510-3002 | |