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COVID-19 Update for July 2: Here’s What Massachusetts Businesses Need to Know

As the news surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, our team at blumshapiro is staying focused on answering the local business community’s most pressing questions. As of Thursday, July 2, 2020, here are the latest updates leaders in Massachusetts’s business community need to know.   

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Insights  <  COVID-19 Update for July 2: Here’s What Massachusetts Businesses Need to Know

As the news surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, our team at blumshapiro is staying focused on answering the local business community’s most pressing questions. As of Thursday, July 2, 2020, here are the latest updates leaders in Massachusetts’s business community need to know.   

The Latest News

Limits on some travelers lifted; Phase 3 start date uncertain

Yesterday Governor Baker lifted the requirement for visitors from some Northeast states to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire will not need to self-quarantine, as their states are making significant progress in the fight against COVID-19.  Meanwhile, the governor has not yet confirmed the start of Phase 3 of reopening, which has already been delayed by one week and could begin as early as July 6, and which includes museums, fitness centers, movie theaters, and expanded youth sports.  An update is expected soon.

National News

Paycheck Protection Program Extension?

With the deadline to apply for a PPP loan having come and gone on June 30, the program ended having loaned $520 billion to small businesses but was still left with $130 billion in unspent funds.  But a last-minute extension voted on by the Senate Tuesday night could see the program continue offering funds for an additional five weeks, setting a new deadline of August 8.  The legislation will now move on to the House.  (For previously mentioned PPP resources, please visit the Available Resources for Massachusetts Businesses section, listed later in this update.)

“New NAFTA” takes effect Wednesday

As of July 1, the United States Mexico Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement goes into effect, modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was implemented in January 1994.  In addition to being important trade partners with the U.S., Canada and Mexico are also among the top three trading partners of the state of Massachusetts.

Country’s numbers going in “wrong direction,” says Dr. Fauci

Tuesday Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the country’s number of new COVID-19 cases are going in the “wrong direction” and expressed concern that the U.S. could reach 100,000 new cases a day if public health recommendations are not followed.

READ:  Dr. Fauci expresses concern, warning over recent outbreaks (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts News

Massachusetts is one of four states noted for their containment of COVID-19

According to data analyzed by Covid Act Now, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are each seeing a steady decrease in the number of local cases, and have enacted public health plans that meet or exceed international standards.

Governor Baker adds extra $35 million to economic recovery package

Last Friday, Governor Baker added $35 million to the economic recovery legislation he filed previous to the pandemic outbreak.  The total package now amounts to $275 million, and will focus on housing, community development, and business competitiveness in this new economic climate.

Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program to receive additional funding

Governor Baker recently announced that he is committing an additional $20 million to the newly created Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program, meant to help homeowners and renters stay current with their housing payments.

MassDevelopment announces new grant money

Last week, MassDevelopment announced $225,000 in funding for a new round of Commonwealth Places grants.  Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round:  Resurgent Places funding is being made available specifically to help community partners prepare public space and commercial districts to best serve their population during communities’ economic recovery efforts.  Eligible projects may include outdoor seating spaces, sidewalk retail venues, partitions to support social distancing, and more.  The application deadline is July 31.

Industry News

Breweries

In recent conversations with leaders of some of the state’s largest breweries, they credit the Paycheck Protection Program for helping them survive.

Education

The Boston Globe recently compiled a list of many colleges throughout New England, and what their current plans are for the fall.

Health Care

In a recent report, the Pioneer Institute is calling for tighter oversight and transparency in nursing home care as well as regular testing and prioritized access to any future vaccine.

Restaurants and Hospitality

The Massachusetts Restaurants United (MRU) coalition has joined in the fight to help restaurants survive.  They are asking the Baker Administration for reforms that will help ease tax and rent payments.

Available Resources for Massachusetts Businesses 

Previously mentioned PPP resources:

Additional and previously mentioned resources:

How You Can Help

The community-minded response of Massachusetts’ business community has been nothing short of extraordinary.  There are plenty of ways to contribute to the statewide effort to navigate this crisis.  Here are few:

Future Updates and Additional Resources

We will be providing regular updates over the next several weeks as new developments are made available.  If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We are here to help you with your tax and business advisory needs.

In the meantime, you can refer to the following state agencies and associations for the latest information:

And a Last Good Word…

We all need some good news right now – here’s some from this week:

The 4th of July in Boston just isn’t the same without the Boston Pops, so be sure to tune in as they adapt their 2020 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular into “A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes,” which will feature both new content and retrospective highlights as well as the Boston Pops’ newly released video production and viral hit of John Williams’ “Summon the Heroes,” which pays tribute to the healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential service providers who are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and honors the memories of those who have lost their lives during this crisis.

 

COVID-19 Business Resources

 

Disclaimer:  The contents of this resource are for general informational purposes only. While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, the information is provided “as is” and no representations are made that the content is error-free. We have no obligation to update any content, comments or other information for retroactive or prospective interpretations or guidance provided by regulators, financial institutions or others. The information is not intended to constitute legal advice or replace the advice of a qualified professional. There are areas of the CARES Act where additional clarification from the Treasury Department and the SBA is needed. Your judgment and interpretation of the act may be needed. Users should consult with their legal counsel and representatives of the lending institution regarding the proper completion of their application and supporting documentation.

Any written tax content, comments, or advice contained in this article is limited to the matters specifically set forth herein. Such content, comments, or advice may be based on tax statutes, regulations, and administrative and judicial interpretations thereof and we have no obligation to update any content, comments or advice for retroactive or prospective changes to such authorities. This communication is not intended to address the potential application of penalties and interest, for which the taxpayer is responsible, that may be imposed for non-compliance with tax law. 

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