COVID-19 Business Resources

With the coronavirus pandemic raging across the globe, the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) at Iowa State University is providing educational guides and direct support for our clients affected by COVID-19. Our goal is to provide business resources and whatever information is necessary to help Iowa companies plan, prepare, protect, and recover their operations.

If your business is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIRAS can provide no-cost assistance to help you understand your next steps. CIRAS has an emergency response team in place to help guide you through the recovery process. Send an email to ciras.info@iastate.edu and we'll be in touch within 24 hours.

On the following pages, we have provided guides, checklists and a collection of tips and links for navigating your business through the COVID-19 outbreak. Topics include working remotely, the Paycheck Protection Program, and small business relief, among others. Please check back often, as we continually update this information. We also have created an Iowa COVID-19 Preparedness & Return to Work Checklist to provide you with the key information in one summary document.

For a map and other COVID-19 case information go to the COVID-19 in Iowa Dashboard.

Current Updates (September 17, 2020)

Iowa bars reopened Wednesday in Polk, Dallas, Linn, and Black Hawk counties after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds cited “changing public health conditions” that she said made it prudent to rescind much of a closure order issued on August 27. For now, that order still applies to Johnson and Story counties.

In other news, CIRAS has added the following recordings of our weekly COVID-19 Manufacturers roundtables to the COVID-19 Webinar Library:

As a reminder, you can find food industry specific information on our COVID-19:  Food Industry page, including the archive of the previous food industry roundtables.  We also have added:

Other updates related to supply chain issues include:

  • Demand for ocean freight from China to the USA is outstripping supply resulting in a significant increase in container rates.  This demand is related to shipments being pulled forward due to the upcoming Chinese Golden Week (Oct 1–7), a switch to higher inventory levels (for both defensive and e-commerce reasons), and a recovering economy.
  • From a building materials and infrastructure material perspective, distributors are reporting that the supply of lumber is recovering from the surge in demand over the summer; however, electrical components and power transmission equipment is in short supply due to a series of natural disasters across the U.S. (Midwest derecho; hurricanes in the South and South-East).
  • There are reported delays from suppliers in the current COVID-19 international hotspots including Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and India.  In other areas (e.g. Asia), suppliers seem to have recovered but are still working through order backlogs.
  • The U.S. freight network continues to experience spot congestion and delays due to demand recovering faster than carriers are returning capacity to the network.

Previous Updates (August 27, 2020)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds this week allocated roughly $100 million of CARES Act relief funding for farmers, producers, and agricultural industries that have been damaged by COVID-19. The money will flow through a variety of programs administered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. More details can be found here.

Meanwhile, CIRAS beginning in September will consolidate the weekly Manufacturing and Food Industry roundtables into a single weekly event held at 7:30 a.m. every Tuesday. If you are already registered for either roundtable, you will be registered automatically for the new single weekly roundtable.  If you would like to attend the roundtables for the first time, you can register here.

We have added the following recordings of our weekly COVID-19 Manufacturers and Food Industry roundtables, to the COVID-19 Webinar Library:

We also have added the following guide/white paper under Protecting Your Business:

 Other updates related to supply chain issues:

  • Several areas of the country continue to experience COVID-19 hotspots in terms of new infections. The list includes California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida.  If you have customers or suppliers in these regions, they may be experiencing spot supply chain disruptions.
  • The dual tropical storm/hurricanes Laura and Marco that are hit the Gulf Coast this week may also create disruptions to supply chains in those regions.
  • The group FTR Transportation Intelligence has created a U.S. freight COVID-19 intelligence web page which provides freight recovery indices for rail and truck freight as well as COVID-19 impact heat maps for truckload volumes and spot rates within the United States. These are useful for determining local market impacts on the freight market.

Archived Updates

CIRAS Contacts:

Marc Schneider, 563-221-1596, maschn@iastate.edu
Mike O’Donnell, 515-509-4379, modonnll@iastate.edu