COVID-19: News & Updates


    


UPDATED:  April 8, 2020 - 1:00 PM
Items marked "NEW" or "UPDATED" have been added/edited since the last update.


In these challenging times, ACEC Texas wants to provide information and be a resource to our member firms to help navigate issues that may arise.

Information is and has been coming fast and furious, and we will try to pass it along to you in a manner that is informative, timely, and unobtrusive.  We have developed a ACEC Texas COVID-19 webpage that will be updated regularly with new, important, and relevant information as it becomes available.  We are in communication with ACEC National, State Agencies, and other entities, and will continue to provide information from these entities and others. 


ACEC National has provided ongoing federal news and updates their ACEC Coronavirus Resource Center homepage.  To access their homepage, please click below:


The Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors has established a COVID-19 webpage regularly updated with regulatory information.  To access their website, please click on the following:

 


ACEC Texas continues to communicate regularly with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) regarding agency operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have developed a webpage dedicated to news and updates from TxDOT, which can be viewed by clicking below:

 

 Happening Now

  • Small Business Relief - SBA Accepting Applications Now:  Former ACEC Texas Chair and current ACEC National Vice-Chair, Gary Raba, D.Eng., P.E., has developed a MEMO regarding the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program with important information regarding aid and relief for your business as we continue to respond to COVID-19.  The U.S. Small Business Administration has begun accepting applications as of Friday, April 3, 2020.  Please take the time to review the following information:  CARES Act MEMO - Gary Raba. 

  • TBPELS Continuing Education Requirement: The Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (TBPELS) understands that COVID-19 is very serious and has been taking the necessary precautions by cancelling or postponing many continuing education courses, conferences, and other events.

    PE license renewals are due on March 31 as are the associated education requirements.  However, TBPELS has asked to please communicate with them if you are audited for this renewal period and you have not completed your hours due to a verifiable course cancellation or if the course is unavailable due to COVID-19.  NOTE:  TBPELS allows for 5 hours of self-study per renewal cycle and online courses may also be counted for continuing education purposes. 

    For more information, please visit the TBPELS COVID-19 webpage:  TBPELS COVID-19 Webpage.


 REGIONAL NEWS

 ACEC National News & Updates

  • ACEC National President & CEO Linda Bauer Darr issued a memorandum to the nation's governors regarding maintaining essential services as we respond to COVID-19.  To view the MEMO, please click on the following link:  Darr MEMO to Nation's Governors.

  • UPDATED: Latest ACEC National COVID-19 Resource Document: COVID-19 Resource Doc.

  • ACEC National President and CEO Linda Darr published an editorial highlighting the importance for federal and state governments to continue to maintain our nation's critical infrastructure as we work through and respond to COVID-19.

    To read the complete editorial, please click on the following link:  ACEC Editorial.

  • ACEC National will be posting to their blog, The Last Word, which they will use to distribute up-to-date information from their departments, and news stories of interest to our industry. ACEC will also host regular "Engineering Influence" Podcast as well.  To sign up for The Last Word and to view the blog, or to listen and view episodes of the Podcast, please click on the following links:

                
     

 Business News

  • Travel to and from Louisiana:  Governor Abbott has issued an Executive Order that went into effect on Monday, March 30th at Noon requiring anyone traveling from the State of Louisiana to Texas via roadway to be required to self-quarantine for 14-days.  However, the order does not apply to those who are working in certain industries, including critical infrastructure, as indicated by the CISA Guidance. Those that must travel to and from Louisiana for work purposes are asked to do the following:
    1. Please complete the Travel Exemption Form, which can be accessed on the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) website: TDEM Exemption Form. 
    2. You may continue to work normally while your TDEM Form is being processed.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure to have your COMPANY ID and an official COMPANY LETTER indicating that you are deemed an "essential worker."

  • Governor Abbott's office has set up a COVID-19 webpage with helpful tools and resources dedicated to businesses and economic development.  To view the website, please click on the following link:  Texas Economic Development: COVID-19.  You can also sign up for email updates for Texas businesses by clicking on the following link:  Sign-Up for Email Updates from Governor's Office. 

  • Executive Order Issued Designating Statewide Essential Services:  Governor Greg Abbott issued a new Executive Order (GA-14) on Tuesday which included identifying essential critical infrastructure sectors.  The new orders will take effect at 12:01 AM on April 2nd and end on April 30th.  For purposes of the Executive Order, the listing of “essential services” are posted on the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s (TDEM) webpage, which can be viewed here:  TDEM GA-14 “Essential Services” Listing.  The list of essential services models the listing published by the CISA, which ACEC Texas has posted to this website and can be found below under "CISA Guidance of Essential Workforce."  To view the Governor's Executive Order, please click on the following link:  Gov. Abbott Executive Order.

    Also announced by Governor Abbott at Tuesday’s press conference was that schools in Texas will remain closed through May 4th, unless otherwise extended.  The Governor also renewed and amended his previous order enforcing social distancing protocols to model federal guidelines, including the closure of gyms, restaurants and bars (drive-thru and pick-up allowed).  President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this past weekend that the federal social distancing guidelines would be extended through April 30th.

  • Engineering as "Essential Business":  ACEC Texas President Peyton McKnight has issued a letter on behalf of ACEC Texas to Governor Greg Abbott  asking for engineering to be designated as "essential services" if the Governor issues a statewide order closing all non-essential businesses.  Additionally, ACEC National joined other organizations in signing onto a letter asking President Donald Trump to characterize the construction industry as an "essential industry" and be exempt from any current or future mandatory shelter in place orders or quarantines.  A copy of this letter was included in the ACEC Texas letter to Gov. Abbott.  To view the letter in its entirety, please click on the following link:  ACEC Texas Letter to Gov. Abbott. 

    The Texas Business Roundtable (TBR) issued a letter on March 24th to Governor Abbott to request uniform guidance on critical infrastructure and essential service businesses for every jurisdiction in the state to follow.  The letter references the CISA MEMO, which provided an initial listing of essential critical infrastructure workforce (details on the MEMO below). 


    To view the complete letter, please click on the following link:  TBR Letter to Gov. Abbott.


    The Texas Business Roundtable, which ACEC Texas is a member of, is comprised of 28 Texas business, professional and trade associations working together to preserve a strong economic climate in Texas.


    ACEC Texas joined other trade associations in a letter to Governor Abbott on March 24, 2020 requesting the Governor to issue an executive statement to create consistency and clearly declare what services and operations are considered "essential" as we continue to work through COVID-19.  To view the letter, please click on the following link:  Trade Association Letter to Gov. Abbott.

  • Emergency Leave and Tax Credits:  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released late this past Friday an informal guidance document on emergency leave and associated tax credits.  To view the document, please click on the following link provided on behalf of ACEC National:  Guidance Document from IRS, DOL and Treasury.
  • ACEC Business Insurance Trust: Greyling Insurance has released a report to help ACEC Texas Members navigate insurance issues related to COVID-19.  The complete report can be found by clicking on the following link:  Greyling Insurance Report.  Additionally, EPIC Brokers is providing weekly updates you can read here: EPIC Brokers Weekly Report. 

 State of Texas & Federal News


NEW: 
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has made available an online resource center that shows COVID-19 projection models for the United States and individual States.  To view the website, please click here:  COVID-19 Resources - IHME.
 
The U.S. Department of Labor has released new guidance on paid leave requirements:  DOL Guidance on Paid Leave.

The IRS has released a frequently asked questions document regarding the delay in 2019 tax payments and tax filing deadline, which has been moved to July 15:  IRS FAQ Document.


Income Taxes Deadline: 
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced this morning that the income tax filing deadline has been pushed back from April 15th to July 15th.

State Information and Resource Hotline:The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Texans in need of COVID-19 information and referrals to community resources to call the 2-1-1 Texas hotline, which is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.For more information, please visit the Department’s hotline webpage by clicking on the following:2-1-1 Hotline Information.

Driver Licenses
: Governor Abbott has directed the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to temporarily waive expiration dates for Driver Licenses, Commercial Driver Licenses, and other identification forms:  Driver License Information


Local Elections
:  The Governor issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow political subdivisions to postpone 2020 local elections until November 3, 2020 if they choose.

State Runoff Elections
Gov. Abbott announced  that primary runoff elections would be postponed from May 26th to July 14th.


Statewide Restrictions on Bars and Restaurants: 
Gov. Abbott has declared
no dining-in at restaurants and bars statewide.  Drive-thru and pickup orders will still be allowed.  Gov. Abbott also declared that restaurants with a permit may now deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases; alcohol distributors & manufacturers may buy back excess inventory.  This order was extended through April 30th. 

 

 

 

RESOURCES & HELPFUL LINKS:

 

 


ACEC National:
COVID-19 Updates
  

Office of Governor Greg Abbott:
News & Updates

 
Coronavirus Disease 2019
Public Information
 
     
 
COVID-19 Info: Symptoms
Prepare Your Family
  

ACEC Texas: Facebook

  


ACEC Texas: Twitter

 






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