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Wednesday PM Daily | March 18, 2020
SBA’s Iowa office seeks submissions to gain state eligibility for Economic Injury Loans
By Business Record Staff

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Iowa office is asking small businesses in the state that are facing economic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic to submit information to their County Emergency Management offices in order to declare counties eligible for disaster loans.

"We’re waiting on Iowa to be designated as eligible for small businesses in the state to apply for assistance in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans," said Dawnelle Conley, deputy district director of the Iowa District Office in Des Moines. "Because these are Economic Injury loans, the rules require each state to demonstrate economic losses to SBA before we can declare the counties within a state as eligible to apply for the loans. Contact information for Iowa’s County Emergency Management offices can be found here.

"The Governor’s Office has been working with SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance to get the appropriate statistics for the application. Unfortunately, we don’t have a timetable as to when a decision will be made, but hopefully it will be soon," she said.

Small businesses can also visit the SBA’s disaster assistance website and click on the Apply for Assistance button and then click on Eligible Disaster Areas and search "Iowa" to see what’s available. The most recent declaration will be at the top and that’s where information on the COVID 19 EIDL Loans can be found as soon as Iowa is declared eligible.

The SBA also has a website — Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — that encompasses all the information the agency has available for small businesses related to COVID-19.

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Public Health and Government
West Des Moines closing City Hall, other buildings to the public
West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer today authorized City Manager Tom Hadden to take all steps necessary to provide for the public health, safety and welfare of the city’s employees and residents. Hadden announced that City Hall will be closed to the public beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday. The closure is tentatively scheduled to end in mid- to late April. Although some city staff will work from home, Hadden said an appropriate number of employees will be working in the building during shifts to answer phones and conduct business online with residents. In addition to closing public access to City Hall, the Public Services building at 560 S. 16th St., the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge and the Valley Junction Activity Center will be closed to the public. Although the front lobby of the police station will remain open to the public during regular business hours, residents are encouraged to use online services when appropriate. Residents can access the city’s website by clicking here.

FUELIowa, a nonprofit organization representing the fuel industry statewide, announced that its member convenience stores throughout Iowa will continue to provide essential services. FUELIowa President and CEO Ronald Langston said that Iowa convenience stores' rural fuel distribution network remains strong during this time of emergency. To comply with the governor's emergency directive, FUELIowa member retailers plan to close their dining areas, but will remain open for fuel, walk-in services and carry-out food services. "Our members are taking precautions to maintain the safety of family members, friends, neighbors and visitors," Langston said in a statement. "Whether that means placing special emphasis on sanitizing door handles, credit card pads and counters, or regularly checking restrooms to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness are maintained, our members are serious about protecting the health and safety of Iowans." FuelIowa members include fuel distributors, fuel cooperatives, convenience and grocery stores, refiners, biofuel producers and many other businesses that support these companies.

Hy-Vee Inc. announced today that it is reserving shopping between 7 and 8 a.m. daily to customers who are 60 or older, and to expectant women and people with underlying health conditions. Pharmacies in most Hy-Vee locations will also be extending hours so they can serve this group of customers from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. These locations include pharmacies inside Hy-Vee grocery stores, Mainstreet locations, Dollar Fresh stores and Hy-Vee Drugstores. "We know that our customers are facing some very challenging times right now, and we want to do all we can to help them," said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president. "We hope this new reserved shopping hour helps our customers feel a bit more secure while we work together as a community to help keep everyone healthy and safe."

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is surveying businesses to assess the impact of the pandemic in Iowa. To assist in these efforts, the IEDA is asking business associations to forward the survey link to companies, attractions or other organizations within its memberships or communities. The agency has provided a guide for completing the survey, which was developed by the University of Northern Iowa Institute for Decision Making. The IEDA will use the information collected in the survey to inform its public policy in response to the crisis, as well as potential assistance to businesses. The deadline to complete the survey is March 23 at 5 p.m.

Bank of America today announced it is committing $100 million to support local communities in need as the world faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus. The funds will help increase medical response capacity, address food insecurity, increase access to learning as a result of school closures, and provide support to the world’s most vulnerable populations, the bank said in a statement. "We must all work together as one global community – public and private sectors, as well as individuals – to address this healthcare and humanitarian crisis," said Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America. "As the needs in our local communities continue to rapidly escalate, we must take swift action to provide resources where there are gaps, and help local communities protect their most vulnerable populations." The majority of Bank of America’s funds will be distributed on the ground in local markets, focused on both immediate needs facing local communities and providing ongoing support in the months ahead, the company said.

AM Best Co. today revised its market segment outlook on the U.S. life/annuity segment to negative from stable, due to the significant volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets created by the COVID-19 virus. In AM Best’s view, the life/annuity industry maintains strong capital and liquidity resources. However, as detailed in a new Best’s Market Segment Report, several key factors have led to the revised outlook, among them a material acceleration in a global economic slowdown; and a rapid further deterioration in the U.S. economy. As interest rates and the equity markets plummet, AM Best expects operating performance to move to the negative, driven by declining sales and intensifying spread compression.

Health Care
The Iowa Clinic is now offering appointments for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing through a Mobile Testing Unit Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its West Des Moines location. At this time, testing is being done by appointment only; no walk-ins will be accepted. Patients with an appointment should remain in their cars for testing while limiting possible exposure to others. To get more information about the criteria for obtaining an appointment, visit the Iowa Clinic COVID-19 page or call 515-875-9268 to schedule your testing appointment.

Arts and Culture
Nitefall on the River events, which are scheduled to begin May 8, are not currently affected by coronavirus closures, but organizers said they will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. In the event that a show is canceled, refunds will be available. Updates will be made on the organization’s website.

Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards today declared that a state of emergency exists at all institutions under the board’s jurisdictions, which allows the regents to waive certain provisions governing limitations on the use of sick leave and vacation time by the state universities’ personnel. The declaration also authorizes the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University to provide instruction for all academic programs virtually. The board has already taken several steps at the public universities to assist in the effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus and will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional guidance when warranted. "As I issue this state of emergency, the Board recognizes that each of our institutions is unique," Richards said in a news statement. "The Board is working with each institution to make individual decisions of how to implement any changes that work best for their campus."

Because of the frequency of news updates, not all stories have appeared in our newsletters. Go to to see all the updates.
Advancing leaders in children’s health
Combining the expertise and passion of social services leaders from different organizations into a learning cohort aimed at systemwide change is a powerful formula — or, as one organizer has said, a little bit like "rocket fuel."

Through an emerging program known as HealthConnect Fellows, 18 selected individuals who work in children’s health organizations in Central Iowa are connecting in a network focused on improving their advocacy efforts and enabling them to better collaborate to advance children’s health.

The grant program is also a pilot for a more flexible approach to funding for community projects that its lead funder, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, believes could serve as a model for a capacity-building tool for other philanthropic organizations. Read more

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Remainder of Des Moines Buccaneers' U.S. Hockey League season canceled
Des Moines Register: Six days after suspending its season indefinitely because of the national coronavirus outbreak, the United States Hockey League has closed the doors on its 2019-20 campaign for good. The 16-team league, which includes five Iowa teams (Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Sioux City, Waterloo and the Des Moines Buccaneers), made the announcement today. Des Moines finishes the canceled season at 21-23-3.

Stocks drop as investor alarm persists
New York Times: Financial markets reeled again today. As the coronavirus continued its relentless spread, governments ramped up efforts to contain it and investors continued to wait for lawmakers in Washington to take action on proposals to bolster the American economy. The S&P 500 fell about 5%, stocks in Europe were sharply lower and oil prices cratered. The Dow finished down 1,338 points, or 6.3%.

Trump seeks $500 billion in payments to Americans in relief plan
New York Times: The Trump administration today asked Congress for $500 billion to cover two separate waves of direct payments to American taxpayers in the next several weeks and another $300 billion to help small businesses meet payroll, outlining a sweeping $1 trillion economic stabilization package to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. restaurants seek $455 billion of federal aid due to coronavirus hit
Reuters: A U.S. restaurant trade group today asked the White House and congressional leaders for a $455 billion aid package, saying that the industry could shed nearly half of its 15.6 million jobs and at least a quarter of its annual sales because of the coronavirus outbreak. The group, the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association, said restaurants could take a $225 billion sales hit in the next three months, a quarter of their projected total sales of $899 billion.

- Detroit automakers agree to UAW request to shutter U.S. plants (Reuters)
- Tesla factory operating despite virus lockdown order, witnesses say (Reuters)

See updated coronavirus news at
This artist couple’s whimsical video artwork illustrating the power of ‘social distancing’ has gone viral

Artnet News: As much of the U.S. locks down in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, an artist couple has created striking digital artwork, titled Safety Match, that illustrates the importance of staying at home to help stop the spread of disease. "We want people to understand the severity of this crisis," Juan Delcan told Artnet News. "This is very new and it’s happening very quickly. People have no idea how to prepare for this and they are in denial." Delcan created Safety Match with his wife, Valentina Izaguirre. The short animated video by the husband-and-wife team shows a row of matchsticks lined up like dominos. A first match is ignited, and the flame begins to spread rapidly from one match to the next, spelling certain doom for the entire group — that is, until one of the matches comes to life, stepping out of the line and out of range of the fire.
Queen Elizabeth, King Zog, and You

What do the Queen of England, the Pope, and every family business CEO have in common? They aren’t going to be around forever.
While the Queen and the Pope can rely on ancient traditions for their succession, closely-held businesses need to make their own plans. How well it’s done can determine whether the business endures like the House of Windsor or vanishes like the line of Zog of Albania.  

5.7-magnitude earthquake rocks Salt Lake City area
A 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Utah's Salt Lake City area this morning, knocking out power in some areas, officials said. The quake was centered about 10 miles west of Salt Lake City, starting at 7:09 a.m. MT, the U.S. Geological Survey said. "From what we have been able to determine, it doesn't appear this was major shaking," Utah's Division of Emergency Management posted on Twitter shortly after the earthquake. Still, power has been knocked out in some areas, and aftershocks are likely, the division said. Details about the extent of the outages weren't immediately available. Read more
Cloudy this evening. Scattered thunderstorms developing after midnight. Low 47. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Rain early with thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 66. Winds SSE at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

Get the latest KCCI weather.


The Iowa Index is an unweighted average of all 20 Iowa-based public companies. Below is a live look at those 20, plus 15 additional companies with large operations in Iowa.
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