COVID19 UPDATE
MARCH 23, 2020
FEDERAL ACTION
CARE ACT

Stay tuned.....legislation currently being negotiated between House democrats and Senate. Two failed votes today but observers optimistic there will be resolution soon.
STATE ACTION
On Sunday Governor Edwards issued a new stay at home order effective today at 5:00pm. Like many states the Governor's order references the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) guidance for those services deemed essential and not subject to the order. Our industry views the CISA guidance to cover A/E/C services. This is a changing dynamic by the day. We must proceed using our best judgment until we are informed otherwise. Our clients are advising we proceed on their projects. If I learn something different from the state or federal level I will push that information out to you. I ask that you do the same so we can keep everyone informed. As of today we're covered by CISA.
Tonight, March 23, at 7 pm, Gov. Edwards, his administration, and health experts will hold a live broadcast discussion on Louisiana's response to COVID-19. The broadcast will air on television and radio stations and can be live streamed at this link: https://gov.louisiana.gov/

LPB will also be streaming the broadcast. 
DOTD GUIDANCE ON ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS
In response to an ACEC of Louisiana inquiry asking for consideration for electronic submissions to DOTD, the agency issued the following guidance:

Due to circumstances involving DOTD mitigation for COVID-19 and the recent orders of Governor John Bel Edwards, please submit all consultant proposals via email to Mark Chenevert ( mark.chenevert@la.gov ), Darhlene Major ( darhlene.major@la.gov ), Michael Gorbaty ( michael.gorbaty@la.gov ) and DOTDConsultantAds80@la.gov .
All contract documents (24-102s, Contracts, Task Orders, Supplemental Agreements, etc.) may be signed by electronic signature or by a PDF version of the original signature and emailed to the above addressees. In addition, please submit the original signed document via U.S. Mail, FedEx, or UPS.

This temporary process will remain in effect until further notification.
If you have any questions, please call Darhlene Major at (225) 379-1025 or Mark Chenevert at (225) 379-1591.
NEW ACEC FORUM
ACEC announces the creation of the “Coronavirus Impact Forum” within the ACEC Communities. They invite you to join this members-only, self-moderated forum to share how coronavirus is affecting your business and share best practices for managing through the crisis. 

To access the forum, please follow this link

Please log in or register with your company email address. If you are creating a new account, please allow up to one hour for access to the forum. If you need any support please contact Member Services ( memberservice@acec.org ) or call 202-347-7474.
RECAP OF ONGOING EFFORTS AND RESOURCES IN SUPPORT OF ACECL MEMBERS
I know front of mind for firms is how to manage through this crisis with so many mandates and uncertainties. At this point below are efforts on various fronts to keep your business going:

1) Keep A/E/C industry designated an essential service and exempt from any stay at home/shelter in place federal, state or local orders.
  • A/E/C industry is currently an essential service per federal guidelines being used by La.
  • Monitoring continues

2) Keep clients paying invoices. Checking in with clients to ensure they have staff working to manage projects, advertise upcoming projects, and process contracts and invoices and not slowing down.
  • ACECL and ACEC keep open communications with public clients and A/E/C industry partners.

3) SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Coronavirus Related Economic Damages
  • See link below for guidance on how to submit an application.

4) Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • See below for explanation about who is covered and how to pay for the cost to your firm FOR THOSE EMPLOYEES AND SITUATIONS COVERED BY THE ACT

5) Additional Emergency Economic Relief Legislation pending in Congress
  • Negotiations ongoing in Congress. Could top $2 trillion in relief to individuals, businesses, governments and major industries impacted by COVID19 as an emergency aid package. May include loan forgiveness and payment deferral.

6) Economic Recovery Relief Federal Legislation
  • Anticipated future federal legislation after the emergency phase which could include more infrastructure investment. May be more important for the long term recovery of businesses than the short term impact particularly for a business like consulting engineering.
ST. CHARLES PARISH EXTENDS DEADLINE TO SUBMIT QUALIFICATIONS FOR MORE THAN 20 ENGINEERING SERVICES

St. Charles Parish is soliciting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for engineering services as it forms a new qualified list of firms to use for parish projects.

“We have a lot of work happening in St. Charles Parish and we want any and all qualified engineering firms to apply for this RFQ so we are ensuring the best possible service for our residents,” said President Matthew Jewell.

The RFQ includes 23 different areas of expertise and requires current firms which are already pre-qualified to submit a new RFQ for the discipline(s) in which they wish to be evaluated.

Due to current restrictions and unprecedented events, they have extended the deadline on the RFQ to Thursday April 30, 2020.

Those who intending to apply should email intent to Public Works Director Miles Bingham at mbingham@stcharlesgov.net
CARING AND SHARING
As a matter of general information, in this recurring section will be suggestions offered by ACEC firms via various forums. This is not intended to supersede your company policies, legal guidance or business continuity plans. They are merely shared as food for thought to be used as you deem appropriate:

How does a business track losses or damages if not officially told to close? - suggestion on how to keep track of employee time
ACEC BLOG WITH COVID19 UPDATES
This blog site adds several articles and information every day relevant to engineering firms and COVID19.