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 (March 18, 2021)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that all adult Iowans will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning on April 5. That change is expected to be made so long as the federal government follows through on plans to soon double the vaccine shipments to Iowa, from 100,000 to 200,000 per week.

The increased supply will come partly due to Iowa’s recent addition of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to the vaccine offerings from Pfizer and Moderna. More than 595,000 first doses have been administered in the state so far.

The rules until April 5: The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) issued an amended 1-B Supplemental Vaccine Shortage Order that became effective on March 8, 2021. This order essentially opened up availability of vaccinations to people under the age of 65 who might be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to medical conditions listed here, as well as the remaining tiers under phase 1B. Vaccine providers must follow the priority as listed per tier. This does include food, agricultural and manufacturing staff ONLY IF they work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing. Please contact your local county health providers and vaccination sites for specific local information on which population group they are accepting for vaccination appointments. In limited cases, if there is any excess vaccine, they may vaccinate populations outside of these tiers.

Meanwhile, March 2, 2021 was our last weekly COVID-19 Manufacturers Weekly Roundtable.  We thank all of the attendees for the strong attendance over this last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place, at the same timeslot of 7:30 a.m. each Tuesday, we commenced our weekly Business Resiliency Webinar Series. This series is intended to be a 30- to 45-minute weekly look at what it takes to keep your business flexible and able to overcome disruptions. Each week, we’ll take lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and use them to help you examine your own company to build a resilient business and prepare for the post-COVID world. For more, contact Marc Schneider at maschn@iastate.edu or register to attend here. Recent (available in our webinar library) and upcoming topics include:

March 2        Last Roundtable – COVID/Vaccine Update
March 9        Introduction to Business Resiliency
March 16      Diversify your Lead Generation
March 23      Government Contracting to Create Growth During Disruptions
March 30      Preparing your HR policies for the next disruption.
April 6           Developing a Resilient Leadership Team
April 13         General COVID-19 Updates
April 20         Leveraging On-Line Meeting Tools
April 27         Financial Planning for Business Disruptions
May 4           Growing Your Business Via Exports
May 11         Using technology to make your factory more agile.
May 18         General COVID-19 Updates
May 25         Finding better suppliers (supplier scouting).
June 1          Managing Business Risk
June 8          Developing a flexible labor force.
June 15        Using TCO tools to Reduce Supply Risk
June 22        General COVID-19 Updates

We also continue to add materials to our COVID-19 Webinar Library, including:

Current supply chain issue updates include:

  • There continues to be a large number of container ships waiting to berth and unload at the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, along with similar delays not being seen at other West Coast and Gulf ports. While this condition may improve slightly, it is expected to continue through the summer or longer due to increased demand for consumer goods, changing sailing schedules and reduced efficiency and capacity at the ports due to the pandemic.
  • Vaccine distribution suffered some set-backs during the recent weather issues but has since now recovered.

As the world economy continues to recover from the pandemic, the demand for commodities has increased, including food products to China. Export of some of these items are hampered by limited export capacity or containers at US ports.

Previous Updates (February 15, 2021)

Today is the day Iowa schools were required by state law to begin offering full-time in-person learning despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa legislators passed the requirement at the same time state officials are struggling to distribute coronavirus vaccines. On Friday, the state announced that it will withhold the next shipment of vaccine to five counties that did not use up at least 80 percent of the vaccine they were given last week.

Iowa currently is in Phase 1B, Tier 1 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.  This includes vaccinations for anybody remaining in the phase 1B population (healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities), people over 65 years old, and certain populations that have a high risk of exposure – including first responders, school/education employees, and childcare workers.  You can refer to the Workforce Considerations section of the CIRAS COVID-19 Business Resources webpage for links to the various vaccination education and support resources.   We have also provided downloaded examples of vaccination policy templates that companies may use to formulate their own internal policies:

Mandatory Vaccine Policy Template
Voluntary Vaccine Policy Template

Other updates to our website include:

We also continue to add materials to our COVID-19 Webinar Library, including:

Join CIRAS at our weekly Manufacturers Roundtable every Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. for the latest updates and discussions of various COVID-19 topics, including the vaccination effort.  Upcoming scheduled topics include:

  • Manufacturing technology and Industry 4.0 on Feb. 16th
  • Building a Resilient Business on Feb. 23rd
  • COVID-19 Vaccination update on Mar 2nd

Current supply chain issue updates include:

  • The COVID-19 vaccination effort continues in Iowa with 410,771 total doses administered including nearly 195,000 individuals receiving their first does and 108,000 receiving their second.  Iowa’s vaccination effort continues to lag behind the national average.
  • BDO Consulting Group has released the results of a recent survey indicating that 22 percent of manufacturers surveyed said they will reshore their firms to the U.S., with many saying supply chain stability is the factor most critical to the recovery of the manufacturing industry.  See the 2021 BDO Manufacturing CFO Outlook Survey for the full results.
  • The American Shipper publication reports the container ship backlog at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continues with no end in sight.  As of February 11, there were 25 ships berthed at the docks and 32 ships anchored waiting for a berth.  The average wait time is eight days.  Capacity remains tight due to reduced availability of ships to fill sailing schedules, increased cargo volumes, and COVID-19 impacts at the docks.
  • As a reminder, Chinese New Year starts on February 12, 2021, and ends on February 22, 2021, with many manufacturers and businesses in China and other Asian countries closed during this period.

Archived Updates

CIRAS Contacts:

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