Press Releases

Government & Policy Update: Coronavirus Brief

Thursday, 19 March, 2020

March 18, 2020 | Office of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Greater Memphis Chamber


    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Provision – Summary

      • A key provision of the Families First Legislation just passed by the Senate is the steps made to expand emergency paid sick leave to over 87 million employees. 

        • A summary of this sick leave provision can be accessed here.

    • Early Look at “Phase Three”

      • Leader McConnell further pledged that the Senate would not leave this week without voting on a “phase three” round of legislation in response to the coronavirus.

      • An early copy of the Treasury Department proposal (obtained by POLITICO) includes the following highlights for “phase three”:

        • $50 billion for airline industry

        • $150 billion distressed sectors of the economy

        • Two rounds of direct payments to citizens of $250 billion on April 6 and May 18

        • Creation of a small business interruption loan program             

    • The Greater Memphis Chamber has been in talks with the U. S. Chamber which continues to advocate at the federal level for provisions and resources in support of businesses across the country with a specific focus on small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Founded in 1838, the Greater Memphis Chamber exists as a founding member of the U. S. Chamber which was organized in 1912.  

    • The following three items represent key pieces of the advocacy the U. S. Chamber has been advancing:

      • Cancellation of the payment of all payroll taxes typically paid by employers for the months of March, April, and May.

      • Expansion and streamlining of loan programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees who have experienced revenue loss due to the pandemic.

      • Creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees experiencing significant revenue loss due to the pandemic.

    • A more comprehensive summary of the U. S. Chamber’s advocacy can be accessed here.



    • In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made last week to recess but not adjourn the Tennessee General Assembly.  This move was made with the understanding that recessing until some future date would require that the body fulfilled its constitutional duty in passing a budget prior to the end of the fiscal year.  Today, Governor Bill Lee made this possible by delivering on his pledge to present a revised budget proposal to the Tennessee General Assembly for review. 

      • The Governor’s revised budget proposal 

    • Highlights of Governor’s Amended Budget includes (but not limited to) the following:

      • Increased Support for Local Government – $200 million in grants for local government (infrastructure and pandemic relief)

      • $150 Coronavirus Fund for public health issues

      • Expanded Unemployment Eligibility

      • Additional overviews of changes to budget

Visit the Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resources page to learn more information that can help minimize the impact of COVID-19-related disruptions.