COVID-19 Business Resources

With the global spread of COVID-19 (the coronavirus disease) the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) at Iowa State University is providing educational guides and direct support for our clients to help them plan, prepare, protect, and recover their operations.

If your business is impacted by COVID-19, 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.

In the following sections we have provided guides and checklists and a collection of tips and links for navigating your business through the current pandemic. Please check back often as we continually update this information. We 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.

Select one of these areas to address your concerns about the impact of COVID-19:

Find information on managing COVID-19 in the food industry here.

Current Updates (June 24, 2020)

After adding two Test Iowa sites to test for COVID-19 last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds this week announced the closure of two others, leaving a total of 18 after today.  Eight large-scale, drive-thru test sites are located in Black Hawk, Buena Vista, Dallas, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Pottawattamie, and Scott counties. Ten clinic-affiliated sites are also available in Black Hawk, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Des Moines, Dickinson, Dubuque, Mitchell, Page, and Union counties.

Meanwhile, CIRAS has made several updates involving our COVID-19 website, including:

  • CIRAS is continuing our weekly COVID-19 Manufacturing Roundtables. These free webinars feature a different pandemic-related topic each week, including workforce issues during COVID-19, supply chain trends, return to work plans, temperature screening, and other topics.  Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and share their own examples of best practices with the group.  A general Manufacturers session is held each Tuesday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., and a Food Industry session is held each Thursday at the same time. To register, go to the CIRAS Iowa Business Training, Events, and Workshop Recordings of our recent roundtable sessions can be found at these links:
  • Please note the reminder on our Financial Resources page about the end of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on June 30. Almost $130 billion in funding still remains. If you have not accessed the PPP funding and are still interested, please contact a local lender NOW. It may take you a couple of days to find a lender, and they need to have time to process the application before submitting it to the SBA. You do not want to wait until June 30.

Other updates related to supply chain issues include:

  • Real estate firms continue to report increased take-up of warehouse capacity in North America because of the growth in on-line business due to COVID-19 and increased inventories across retailers and manufacturers.
  • Domestic freight volumes continue to increase from recent lows, however international freight volumes remain highly variable.
  • As a reminder, the scheduled implementation of the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) which replaces NAFTA, is July 1 and is not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previous Updates (June 10, 2020)

Beginning 6/12/2020, Iowa businesses will be able to open at full capacity instead of limiting themselves to 50 percent. However, restaurants, bars, fitness centers, theaters, hair salons, and other businesses still will have to take steps to allow for social distancing, according to a new emergency proclamation signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Meanwhile, CIRAS has made as series of updates to our COVID-19 Business Resources website:

  • We have added a specific page on managing COVID-19 in the Food Industry. It can be found here.
  • We have added a link to information on Virtual Recruitment Strategies to our Workforce Considerations
  • Please continue to watch our website for recordings of our weekly COVID-19 Update Roundtables with manufacturers.

Other updates related to supply chain issues include:

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended its national emergency exemption for hours of service to July 14, but it has excluded grocery restocking, fuel, and precursor raw materials from the extension.  Items such as livestock & feed, medical equipment & supplies, and PPE and cleaning products remain included.
  • COVID-19 cases in Mexico are spiking, and the Mexican government may slow down its re-opening plan.  Currently, the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders are limited to essential travelers only until June 22.
  • The U.S. transportation industry is reporting some stabilization in volumes and pricing as the economy starts to slowly recover from COVID-19.

Archived Updates

CIRAS Contacts:

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