We want you to know that the health and well-being of our members, employees, and the community at large are of utmost importance to us, and we continue to closely monitor Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments.
As a partner to your business, we understand that limiting any impact a health event like this could have on our service to our members is important. We are keenly focused on sustaining our business operations while we continue to support yours.
10:20am Monday, March 23—Show your support for bills to provide relief for freelance and gig-based workers
Please show your support for Senator Ron Wyden’s Save America’s Main Street Act & Senator Jeff Merkley’s Main Street Emergency Grant Program for cash flow to protect small businesses & freelance/gig workers.
12:38pm Friday, March 20—Free Xfinity wifi hotspots for everyone!
Until further notice, all Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone on the “xfinitywifi” SSID. Public hotspots can be found in small/medium businesses and outdoors in commercial areas.
12:33pm Friday, March 20—Can freelancers/self-employed get unemployment benefits?
According to this page from the State of Oregon:
Are any benefits available if I’m out of work due to the coronavirus and I’m self-employed? Self-employed individuals generally do not pay Unemployment Insurance taxes and are not eligible for benefits. You can still file an application for a benefits claim.
11:25am Friday, March 20—Free ebook: A Kids Book About COVID-19
Written by a social epidemiologist who works in a university setting studying how infectious diseases spread in human populations. Download the free ebook here.
5:44pm Thursday, March 19—Tell your reps to support relief for entertainment workers
We are pleased to share that freelancers in the entertainment business are being considered at the highest levels of government. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is leading an effort to make sure relief is extended to freelancers, contractors, and other independent workers (read the letter here).
Thank you to all who participated in the IATSE letter-writing campaign we shared yesterday to help make this happen. Now we’d love to see our Oregon representatives sign on to that letter. Rep. Bonamici has already pledged to add her name. You can reach out to your local representative to describe the impact the health crisis is having on you as an entertainment worker, and urge them to support the effort. Find your representatives.
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
Email | (202) 225-0855
Thank Rep. Bonamici for her support!
Rep. Greg Walden
Email | 202-225-6730
Rep. Peter DeFazio
Email | 202-225-6416
Rep. Kurt Schrader
Email | 202-225-5711
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Email | (202) 225-4811
3:37pm Thursday, March 19—Small Business Association loan availability
The SBA has declared the following contagious counties eligible for disaster-relief loans: Gilliam, Hood River, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wasco.
3:33pm Thursday, March 19—Treasury grants 90-day extension on payments for personal and business taxes
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: “All you have to do is file your taxes. You’ll automatically not get charged interest and penalties.” This applies to business and personal taxes. The deadline to file is still April 15. (Source: Bloomberg)
3:21pm Thursday, March 19—Will Business Interruption Insurance Cover Coronavirus-Related Disruptions?
Much will depend on the wording of your policy, its exclusions/inclusions, and interpretation. Review your insurance policies now—and meticulously document pandemic-related business impacts. Learn more.
3:08pm Thursday, March 19—Business loans from the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs
If you’re not eligible for traditional bank loans, OAME offers loans of $500-$50,000 with a 5% interest rate. There are two types: a term-based loan or an Accounts Receivable loan. The A/R loan covers up to 80% of an invoice amount if you are waiting for payment from a client. Learn more.
2:47pm Thursday, March 19—Free meeting/event/studio space available in SE Portland
From the venue: “Our meeting and event space has more vacancies than usual right now and we’d love to support anyone who needs a location for product photography or a place to work or meet in small groups during these crazy times. A/V, mix of seating, high speed wifi, restrooms, and built-in kitchen all included with this bright and open loft.” Union/Pine is located at 525 SE Pine Street. See photos and contact info.
1:27pm Thursday, March 19—Portland, Beaverton offering small grants to businesses
Portland: Prosper Portland is making $150,000 available to help businesses affected by COVID-19. The city’s economic development agency is partnering with the Jade District to distribute small grants. Call (503) 823-4000 or email email@example.com for more information.
Beaverton: The City of Beaverton and the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce have launched an Emergency Business Assistance Program to assist with commercial rental or mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligibility requirements include businesses with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees in Beaverton affected by a mandatory change in service; businesses with an active Beaverton license; businesses with a lease or mortgage payment on the property; and business experiencing economic loss due to COVID-19. National chains are excluded. The program is in effect during the city’s declared state of emergency and while funds are available. Reimbursement grants of up to $2,500 per business are available for eligible businesses. Additional information and the application is available here.
1:23pm Thursday, March 19—Portland utility companies suspend automatic shutoff
Portland-area utility providers are suspending automatic service shutoffs in the event of nonpayment:
1:06pm Thursday, March 19—Free 90-day Avid license for current customers forced home
If your company or school uses Avid products and was forced to go remote or close due to coronavirus, you can apply for a free temporary license for Media Composer | Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools | Ultimate and/or Sibelius | Ultimate. You have to be a current customer and activate your temporary license by April 17.
11:28am Thursday, March 19—Find help or offer help through Connecting Dots PDX
These opportunities can range from employment opportunities, small jobs, professional connections, or funds. Add your Dot.
11:24am Thursday, March 19—free Lynda courses for Multnomah County Library card holders
Take advantage of this cardholder perk anytime! Log in here with your library card number and pin.
6:07pm Tuesday, March 17—Oregon Governor Kate Brown extends school closures to April 28
Governor Brown said, “This will have real impacts on Oregon’s students, parents, and educators. But we must act now to flatten the curve and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, otherwise we face a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease.”
5:58pm Tuesday, March 17—World Health Organization: Coronavirus Myths & Facts
You aren’t protected by cold weather, hot baths, garlic, or antibiotics. Get the facts now.
5:47pm Tuesday, March 17—Gearhead Grip & Electric still open
“For the time being, Gearhead will be open our usual hours, 8am-5pm. With a lot of freelancers and independent contractors, we want to be here to support the community. We are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our staff and clients and will continue to monitor the situation. Also, please call or email rather than coming in if you’re able so we can minimize contact. We appreciate you”
5:30pm Tuesday, March 17—free online course from Mt. Freelance
Our friends at Mt. Freelance are offering Level 1 of their Master Class series for creative freelancers for FREE! If you remember, these guys were the keynote speakers at our Master Summit back in September. Go add a little learning in between your binge-watching. Learn more.
OMPA Plan of Action
We are working to:
- Limit large and small gatherings to avoid the spread of illness. We are postponing all OMPA events currently scheduled in March and April. This includes the Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and Portland Media Mixers.
- Enable remote methods of interaction so that you can continue to learn, collaborate, and share with one another.
- Provide information and resources that are relevant to your business and its operations.
- Advocate for your business needs at the local and statewide level.
- Establish a COVID-19 Task Force to address concerns and opportunities for this community. You can join OMPA’s COVID-19 Task Force by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ways You Can Help
1) Take our survey about your business impact.
Tell us how your job or business has been affected and keep us updated via our COVID-19 Media Production Impact Survey.
2) Fill out an Economic Injury Worksheet.
Every business should complete an Economic Injury Worksheet so Oregon can be certified as an official coronavirus-related disaster area, which in turn supports access to relief.* Submit your completed worksheet to your local emergency manager.
*This is not an application for relief.
3) Send a letter to Congress via IATSE.
We know many shoots have been cancelled and productions put on hold. Tell Congress to provide entertainment workers with emergency paid leave benefits. Send your letter.
4) Support OMPA’s work.
OMPA is dedicated to creating the best business environment for Oregon media production. We can’t do this work without your support. It matters more now than ever.
- Follow live updates from OPB
- Be influenced by The Atlantic’s urging of social distancing
- Be informed by The New York Times’ constantly updated feed of coronavirus information
Oregon Industry & Community Impact
- An update from Oregon Film
- Koerner Lens Summit postponed
- BendFilm’s Indie Womxn Film Festival cancelled
- NW Film Center and Open Signal have suspended equipment rentals and are closed to the public.
Financial & Other Assistance
- 211 is a regional organization which tracks resources from hundreds of non-profits who provide assistance with healthcare, food, housing, utility payments, childcare and more.
- Behind the Scenes is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which provides qualified, eligible persons financial assistance for emergency situations due to serious illness, injury, or death.
- The IATSE Local 488 Safety Info App (iOS, Play Store) and IATSE Local 600 ICG Safety App have industry safety information as well as a hotline to report workplace health and safety concerns. These resources are available to all those working in the Entertainment Industry.
- Other COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resources are available here
- Be inspired by an Inc.com article on finding opportunity in this challenge
Thursday, March 19 at 10am PT—Adweek Webinar: Recession-Proof Your Agency: Best Practices to Weather a Financial Storm. Register Here
For nearly four decades, OMPA has supported our members and we will continue to make every effort to advocate for, connect and promote this community of creatives. We will stay in touch regarding this situation and our response.
If you have additional questions or ideas, please contact OMPA’s COVID-19 Task Force at email@example.com. We are here to help.
A Conversation with Amanda Needham