The VFW Department of Iowa and Auxiliary have coordinated to offer some guidance for our Posts and Auxiliaries through this difficult time.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 3
PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE MEMBERS:
SECTION ONE: By order of the VFW Department of Iowa Commander, pursuant to Section 1 of the Governor's Proclamation on 05/13/2020, all VFW Members who are considered to be in the most susceptible population category for COVID-19, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state, are strongly encouraged to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose. All Members are encouraged to limit their in-person interactions with vulnerable Iowans and to exercise particular care and caution when engaging in any necessary interactions.
REOPENING OF POSTS
SECTION TWO: Pursuant to Section 2 of the Governor's Proclamation on 05/13/2020, effective at 5:00 a.m. on May 15, 2020 and until 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2020, All Posts, in every county, may reopen or remain open to the minimal extent necessary to conduct a regular business meeting of no more than ten people; and to serve food and beverages on its premises, but only to the extent that it complies with the following requirements:
(1) Protection of vulnerable Iowans: The Post should make reasonable efforts to encourage vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, to limit their attendance and in-person interactions at the Post.
(2) Capacity limited: The Post must limit the number of customers present at indoor or outdoor spaces to 50% of its normal operating capacity to ensure adequate spacing of groups.
(3) Groups limited: The Post must limit the party size seated together to no more than six people.
(4) Social distancing: The Post must ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining alone.
(5) Self-service prohibited: The Post must not have any self-service of food or beverages, including buffets or salad bars.
(6) Other social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures: The Post shall also implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each Post to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
(7) Food Service Required: If the Post serves alcoholic beverages and the service of food is merely incidental to the consumption of beverages and is limited to the service of ice, snack foods and the reheating of commercially prepared foods such as frozen pizza, pre-packaged sandwiches, or other prepackaged, ready-to-serve products, the Canteen/Club/Bar functions at the Post shall remain closed, except that to the extent permitted by applicable law as modified by the suspensions in the Governor’s Proclamation on 5/13/2020, and in accordance with any recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health, food and beverages may be sold if such food or beverages are promptly taken from the premises, such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if the food or beverage is delivered to customers off the premises.
EXTENSIONS OF CLOSURES AND ORDERS
SECTION THREE: Pursuant to Section 3 of the Governor's Proclamation on 05/13/2020, until 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2020, all Canteens/Clubs/Bars, which do not operate a prepared food service, shall continue to be closed to the general public except that to the extent permitted by applicable law as modified by the suspensions in the Governor’s Proclamation on 5/13/2020, and in accordance with any recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health, food and beverages may be sold if such food or beverages are promptly taken from the premises, such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if the food or beverage is delivered to customers off the premises. For the purposes of this section, a Canteen/Club/Bar is an establishment where a customer may purchase alcoholic beverages and in which the serving of food in incidental to the consumption of those beverages and is limited to the service of ice, snack foods and the reheating of commercially prepared foods such as frozen pizza, pre-packaged sandwiches, or other prepackaged, ready-to-serve products.
By Order of: Russell “Doc” Saffell, Department Commander (Iowa)
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Signed 14 May 2020
In an effort to limit unnecessary exposure and potential community spread, the VFW Department of Iowa Headquarters Office will be closed to visitors. Department Officers and Staff will be monitoring the building and coming into the office to maintaining critical functions that must be conducted from the office, but the Department Adjutant/Quartermaster (Jerry Black) will be primarily working remotely until the exposure risk subsides. Jerry can be reached during regular business hours (0800-1630 M-F) at (515) 612-8554.
The Des Moines Service Office at the Federal Building is closed to visitors by order of the Government Services Agency (GSA). The Des Moines Service Officer (Ben Dales) is still working from the office and can be reached at (515) 323-7545 or by email at Benjamin.Dales@va.gov. The Iowa City Service Officer (Rich Davis) can still be reached at (319) 339-7063 or by email at Richard.Davis6@va.gov.
By order of the VFW Department of Iowa Commander, pursuant to Section 5 of the Governor's Proclamation on 04/02/2020,
1. All Posts are hereby closed to the public through 2359 hours on 30 April 2020, unless notified by the Department that this order has been lifted.
a) Food and (non-alcoholic) beverages may be sold if such food or beverages are promptly taken from the premises, such as on a carry-out or drive-through basis, or if the food or beverage is delivered to customers off the premises.
i) If you are aware of Veterans in need meals, please consider delivering meals to them. You can drop the meals off on their porch to limit exposure. This will also limit the amount of food that may spoil during the temporary shut-down.
2. Posts are advised to review their contracts with vendors and employees to identify any areas that may be affected by this temporary shut-down, and make arrangements to limit the impact (such as alternate delivery schedules or arrangements).
a) The Post Commander can determine whether or not to pay Post Club employees during this temporary shut-down, while ensuring any contractual agreements are met.
3. Posts are advised to suspend all meetings and events during this same time period, or hold meetings via teleconference or webinar.
a) No in-person meetings are to have more than 10 persons present at any time.
4. Ensure that security systems (if equipped) are operational and armed during all un-occupied times.
a) With the Buildings being un-occupied during this time-period please ensure that someone is assigned to conduct periodic security patrols.
b) Review your key control policies to ensure that you know who has keys to the building.
c) Ensure that someone is assigned to collect the mail and get it to the Post Commander or Quartermaster.
In a time where many are feeling very isolated we need to ensure that no one feels alone!
Reach out to those who you have not spoken with in awhile and make sure they are okay.
In times like these everyone is your Battle Buddy. Let them know you care!
With the inability to hold recruiting events, now is a good time to work on your retention efforts. Contact all of your members that do not regularly attend your meetings or events, and also reach out to everyone on your 5 year un-paid list and see how they are doing. Let them know what the Post is going through and what your plans are for getting the Post back up and running, and how the Post will be helping the community recover after COVID-19. Ask them for their ideas about ways the Post could improve the experience for the membership, and how the Post could best help the community with recovery efforts.
Also spread the word that now is the time to reach out to everyone you know who is qualified to join the VFW or Auxiliary, regardless of where they live and help facilitate getting them signed up to join. You can have them fill and sign and electronic application (electronic signatures are acceptable) and email it to you to vote on at your nest meeting. If they are uncomfortable with putting credit/debit card information on the application, advise them that your Quartermaster/Auxiliary Treasurer (give QM’s/Aux. Treasurer’s name to applicant) will call for payment information after the application is approved. Do not forget to fill out the recruiter section on the application prior to submitting it to your Post QM/ Aux. Treasurer.
Fillable PDF Application for VFW can be downloaded here: VFW Application for Membership/Transfer
Fillable PDF Application for VFW Auxiliary can be downloaded here: VFW Auxiliary Application for Membership/Transfer
With Posts/Canteens/Clubs being closed there has never been a better time to conduct some of those projects that you have maybe neglected at the Post. Whether it is just a good deep cleaning, some painting or a complete remodel, now is the time to get it done. Just remember to limit the number of workers to 10 and ensure that you practice good hygiene and social distancing while working in the Post. After a long time in isolation, a fresh new look to the Post/Canteen/Club will be a welcoming site for members and prospective members alike.
The VFW and Auxiliary Department Officers will be holding weekly Virtual Town Hall meetings on Thursday nights at 1900 Hours (7:00 PM) Central Time, to answer any questions that any Post or Auxiliary Leadership may have regarding COVID-19 issues.
Every week on Thu, until May 14, 2020, 7 occurrence(s)
Question 1: We may experience a shut-down or layoff in response to the coronavirus. What do we
need to consider?
Answer: If your business is considering a major layoff or shut-down, Iowa Workforce Development’s Dislocated Worker Program staff can help guide you through what will be a difficult process for your company and a difficult time for your employees. Our Rapid Response Team can help ensure compliance with federal regulations that apply to mass layoffs, and can provide a variety of services for your employees.
Question 2: We may need to reduce work hours; what options do we have?
Answer: Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the COVID-19 impact on the economy may apply for the Voluntary Shared Work Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with unemployment insurance benefits.
Visit https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/voluntary-shared-work-frequently-asked-questions to learn more about its’ benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.
Question 3: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19 related business shutdown, will the employer’s unemployment taxes increase?
Answer: All unemployment claims filed and paid as a result of COVID-19 will have the charges waived for employers. This means that an employer's Tax rate will not be affected.
Question 4: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19-related business shutdown, can the benefits be charged to the trust fund account?
Answer: Yes. All charges will be waived.
Question 5: Can an employer require a worker to stay home for the COVID-19’s incubation period?
Answer: Yes. The employer can require an employee to stay at home for the 14 day isolation period if they have traveled abroad or had contact with someone who visited an affected region. The employer should attempt to provide paid leave. If that is not available, your employee will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Question 6: I am an employer that needs to temporarily suspend operations or reduce hours for my employees to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Would I be responsible for benefit charges for my employees who file unemployment?
Answer: No. Iowa Workforce Development will take the appropriate actions to waive the charges for those employers who are forced to do layoffs or reduce work hours for employees due to COVID-19.
Question 7: If I have 25 employees and need to do a temporary shutdown, do we need to file a WARN notice?
Answer: No. An employer only needs to file a WARN notice if they intend to shut down permanently. In a temporary layoff, a WARN notice would not apply.
Should you have additional questions, please contact Iowa Workforce Development at 1-888-848-7442.
The Iowa Unemployment Insurance Employer Handbook can be found here: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/employer-handbook.
Where can I find additional information for businesses and employers on COVID-19?
U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control Resources for Businesses and Employers:
Canteen/Club Employees visit: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/updates-and-resources-about-covid-19 for more information about how to apply for unemployment.
There are several options for online fund-raising. The following article breaks down several of the top crowdsource funding sites that you can use to raise funds for your Posts and Auxiliaries to help them through the effects of COVID-19 Community Spread Mitigation Efforts: https://www.godaddy.com/garage/top-20-crowdfunding-platforms/
You can use online crowdfunding for fundraising through the end of this year’s State Convention to alleviate some of the impact, but in accordance with National Rules you are not allowed to use online crowdfunding as a continuous revenue stream. It is only approved for specific events of needs on a case by case basis.
Many states have issued State of Emergency procedures that ban any gatherings of greater than 10 people, and the closing of bars and restaurants. These restrictions do apply to VFW Posts and these prohibitions must be followed where applicable. For those Posts that may be adversely affected financially by such closures, such Posts should see if they have any insurance policy, such as Business Interruption Insurance, in effect. Posts should consult with their respective insurance provider for questions. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration may provide some relief. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1- 800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts are encouraged to help each other out. There are several Posts throughout the State who are in a much better position than others financially. Some of our Posts are in dire need of financial assistance to help them through this difficult time. Many have relied for so long on their canteen/club income or a bingo or poker night to keep the doors open. There are no restrictions for Posts donating to other Posts. Please coordinate with your District Commanders and District Quartermasters to help identify which Posts are in need and which Posts can facilitate some level of support.
Posts and Auxiliaries are strongly encouraged to work together and pool resources if feasible; however you must remember that each is a separate entity with their own governing body, and neither entity serves at the will and pleasure of the other. All financial appropriations must be approved by the respective body (Post or Auxiliary). This can be done by a simple email vote or by phone via teleconference. Neither body should ever serve as a revenue stream (bank) for the other, unless the giving body so desires and approves such measures in advance of any transaction.
The VFW and Auxiliary Departments of Iowa have limited funds available for financial assistance for Posts who have been affected by the COVID-19 Community Spread Mitigation Efforts. Applications for assistance can be downloaded here. You will need to download the file to your desktop to fill it out. Electronic Signatures will be accepted if the application is returned via email. Applications will be reviewed and approved on a case by case basis and will require Council of Administration approval for any disbursements of funds.
The attached documents (Downloadable Here) provide an overview of some of the relief granted to small businesses from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, from which Departments and Posts may benefit. There is more guidance expected to come out soon to provide more clarity on some of the details of these programs. It’s imperative that you forward this information to all your Posts and have your Posts do the same to their members. We know that we have members who own businesses that can also take advantage of these opportunities.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
This may be the section of the relief that could benefit the VFW and Auxiliaries the most. This is a program that can provide a 100% federally guaranteed loan to businesses with less than 500 employees. The loan amount is based on average payroll costs and the loan proceeds can be used for payroll costs, utilities, rent, mortgage insurance, and other debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020. Eligibility rules for nonprofits taking advantage of this program are limited to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations. Those organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(4) or another category of the Internal Revenue Code are not eligible. However, it would also cover our members that operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor, and eligible self-employed individuals. The great benefit of this program is the forgiveness feature. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, and ultimately become a grant to the applying organization. The attached guidance provides more detail on how the loan program works. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is expected to release more details soon on this program.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
This program provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small business and most non-profits harmed by COVID-19. An organization must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstances. The maximum available under this program to an employer is $2 million. Any additional amount received above the advance amount under this program is treated as a loan, and will need to be repaid to the SBA at a low interest rate with maturity terms determined by the SBA.
For organizations subject to closure or experiencing economic hardship, this provision provides for payroll tax credits. These tax credits are not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program noted above.
March 21, 2020
As previously discussed in earlier memoranda concerning meetings and Conventions, my goal was to emphasize the flexibility that we must embrace in order to ensure the business of the organization is carried out to the extent feasible. This guidance was sent in anticipation of restrictions of state and local governments on the number of people allowed to assemble at one location. For many such locations, those restrictions make achieving a traditional quorum at meetings and Conventions difficult, if not impossible. To the extent that our bylaws do not sufficiently address how we should proceed, I believe it is crucial to offer this guidance.
The guidance outlined in the Executive Order, keeping the current officers in place until such time that elections can be held without jeopardizing the health and well-being of members, may remain the best option.
But as you consider next steps, in keeping with the requirements of the bylaws, and to ensure adherence with all applicable laws, please understand that the flexibility previously emphasized means that you can, with some creativity and ingenuity, maintain the necessary quorum and adhere to applicable laws by utilizing available technology to achieve the goal of conducting the business of the organization.
Through technology, a quorum can be established. Delegates and other Members may attend such meetings by way of video-conference or tele-conference, provided any voting be counted from only those who are attending the meeting, in person or otherwise, while it is being conducted.
Through this guidance, it is my hope that you will use your best efforts to conduct the necessary meetings and Conventions. As you do so, it will be helpful to limit the business to the most critical items, such as election of officers and voting on resolutions.
In terms of voting, it will be necessary to develop a system that allows for the proper recording of all votes. For instance, if a vote is submitted by way of email, the subject line must correspond to the subject of the discussion. The time-stamp on the email must also be recorded to ensure that the vote is taken at the time the matter is being voted on.
There is an abundance of technology available that can assist in this regard. Available services include, but are in no way limited to, the following:
We recognize that there is no single approach that can be utilized at every level of the organization. We just ask that you use your best efforts to meet the challenges of today’s environment. Our collective mission is far too important to not move forward.
William “Doc” Schmitz
Date: March 18, 2020
To: All Auxiliaries, Districts, County Councils, Departments and Members
From: Ann Panteleakos, National Secretary-Treasurer
As you know Coronavirus has hit all 50 states. The severity varies from state to state. We sent out an email to Department Presidents and Secretaries to share with Auxiliaries about conducting Auxiliary business. Now we are following that up with some guidelines that can be used by all for a longer period of time.
This is an unprecedented time in our country and in our world. We need to remember to be flexible, kind and above all, safe and healthy.
The VFW Auxiliary National Headquarters office will be closed Monday, March 23 – Friday, April 3. We plan to reopen Monday, April 6. We will be doing most of our work remotely.
If you need any assistance please email email@example.com and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.As more information is made available to us we will keep you informed. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Resources: