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COVID-19 Update for July 2: Here’s what Rhode Island 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, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know.

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Insights  <  COVID-19 Update for July 2: Here’s what Rhode Island 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, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community 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, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know. Please note, for the full story on some content, a subscription to that source may be required.

THE LATEST – PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

Paycheck Protection Program: Application period ends; lawmakers considering extension

The period in which businesses could apply for the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program expired at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30… but lawmakers in D.C. are looking at options to extend it.

The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday night on a bill that would extend the PPP’s application deadline to August 8, which would give businesses across the country more time to apply for the roughly $130 billion in the program that remains unclaimed.

The bill was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate – but that doesn’t mean it’ll stick. The House of Representatives and President Trump will need to add their support to the extension before it’s made official. Stay tuned.

Paycheck Protection Program: Loan Forgiveness Documents

As a reminder: Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a slew of new guidelines, documents and instructions related to the Paycheck Protection Program’s loan forgiveness process.

Here’s where to start.

blumshapiro partner David Fontes also broke down the new guidance on our website. Find it by clicking here.

Paycheck Protection Program: Additional Resources

blumshapiro has been at the forefront of interpreting PPP guidance and providing trusted resources for our clients since the program launched in April.

Our team is working with clients to assist them with navigating through compliance requirements of the loan forgiveness program, to ensure forgiveness is received, help expedite the loan forgiveness process and provide a reliable and trusted source of information. You can learn more about our loan forgiveness services by clicking here.

THE LATEST – NEWS FROM RHODE ISLAND

Let’s start with the latest numbers…

As of Wednesday evening, 16,853 Rhode Islanders had tested positive for COVID-19. Sixty-nine patients were currently in the hospital, and 956 individuals had unfortunately passed away due to the virus. The state had processed 244,215 COVID-19 tests, and still leads the nation in testing capacity per capita.

These numbers tell an extremely positive story here in the Ocean State. Rhode Island (along with Connecticut) is one of only two states in the country that is reporting declining COVID-19 cases. More than half the country (36 states in total) are seeing their numbers rising, while the dozen remaining states are holding relatively steady.

Phase III of our economic reopening plan is under way.

Armed with its good-news data, Rhode Island officially entered Phase III of its ReopeningRI plan on Tuesday, June 30.

Responding to COVID-19 spikes happening across the country, Governor Raimondo and her team did scale back a few of the details of Phase III – but it still loosens restrictions across the state, and creates an environment that will allow more businesses to reopen and more employees to return to work.

Social gathering limits have been increased to 25 people inside (50 people if the gathering has a licensed caterer) and 50 people outside (100 with a caterer). Indoor entertainment options (think: movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades and the like) can reopen under social distancing restrictions. And retailers, restaurants, gyms and other businesses can increase their capacity to up to 66% of what it was in pre-COVID times.

Rhode Island Commerce has a full breakdown of Phase III – plus, industry-by-industry reopening guidelines – on www.ReopeningRI.com. In the meantime, here are some of the latest industry-by-industry guidelines.

A Phase III reminder: If you’re planning to reopen, you have some paperwork to fill out. Here’s where to start.

  • COVID-19 Control Plan: If you’re planning to reopen, you’ll need to develop a written plan outlining the steps you’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The state has provided an easy template for this plan, which you can find by clicking here. An important note: You don’t need to submit this plan for approval. Just fill it out, sign it and put it in a drawer; you may need to present it in the case of an inspection.
  • COVID-19 Checklist: All businesses planning to reopen also need to print, sign and display a COVID-19 Checklist. You can download and print the checklist by clicking here.

Quick Hits: Reopening Rhode Island

Rhode Island wants its low numbers to stay low, which means we’re going back to asking out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine (or produce proof of a negative test for COVID-19) once they arrive. Here are the states this rule applies to.

It’s been months – but Rhode Islanders are still feeling pretty good about the reopening plan.

One side effect of the pandemic: Kids might need to switch schools in order to return to the classroom. Another: Immunization rates are alarmingly low.

Rhode Island is still looking to ramp up its asymptomatic testing. If you work at a close-contact business, or if you’ve attended a large protest or demonstration in the last few weeks, you’re eligible for a free test. Make an appointment by clicking here.

The Providence Chamber of Commerce had a busy week on Zoom. Here’s their virtual chat with the leaders of Lifespan and Care New England – and here’s another with the head of Twin River.

Plus… Parents, rejoice: Summer camps are back.

Going to Block Island? Wear a mask. Looking for work? Bradford Soap – the folks behind a massive donation at the beginning of this crisis – is hiring.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHTs

We took another industry-by-industry tour around the Web. Here’s what we’re reading.

Hospitality: There’s a large disconnect between restaurants struggling, and delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash thriving. What can the industry do about it?  

Hotels are starting the recovery process – but experts think it’ll take at least a few years to make up for lost time.

Plus… This is a fun feature of Rhode Island’s restaurant community. And, here are a handful of great local options for outdoor dining.

Long-term care: Industry leaders expect HUD to provide supplemental CARES Act funding to long-term care providers at some point in July. CMS updated its guidance on the three-day stay waiver. And the New Yorker looks at the pandemic’s big-picture healthcare crisis.

Plus… Social distancing looks like it’ll stay in vogue even after the pandemic passes. And what’s the one proven way to protect residents.

Manufacturing: blumshapiro was proud to sponsor Providence Business News’ annual Manufacturing Awards Program. We congratulate all of the winners – and we look forward to celebrating with you in-person once this passes.

General business: Is the uncertainty stressing you out? Here are three things you can still control.

Plus…Cox Business rolled out new work-from-home solutions. And, how can offices protect medically vulnerable employees?

ONGOING – FINANCIAL RELIEF PROGRAMS FOR BUSINESSES

We’ve mentioned most of these programs in prior weekly updates – but they’re still available, so we keep including them. Feel free to keep scrolling if you’ve read our past dispatches.

Rhode Island still accepting applications for Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program (MSGP)

Introduced by Rhode Island Commerce on Thursday, April 23, the MSGP is designed to provide financial relief to small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 but left out of federal stimulus programs. The program can provide up to $5,000 to so-called microenterprises, which are defined as “bona fide business entities with between two-five employees” whose owners’ total household income must be 80% less than their hometown’s median income.

These loans are only available in participating towns and cities across Rhode Island. Learn more about the program, and find the links to apply, by clicking here.

Staying with Rhode Island Commerce, here are a few additional resources:

Micro-loans are still available for Providence businesses.

The Providence City Council, in partnership with the Providence Revolving Fund, recently launched the Providence Commercial Corridor Micro-Business Loan Program. The initiative is funded with $200,000 and will support businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees in the service, retail and manufacturing industries.

Eligible businesses can apply for loans ranging from $500 – $5,000. Learn more about the program by clicking here.

Small Business Administration resources

The Small Business Administration’s Rhode Island District Office is promoting a couple of webinars scheduled for next week. Sign up by clicking here.

Plus, remember: The SBA funds a network of partners that offer local businesses free counselling and guidance through this crisis. Here are the links to learn more:

Veterans Business Outreach Center: Click here >>

SHOUT OUT TO HELPING HANDS

We’re several months into this crisis, and Rhode Islanders are still looking out for one another.

Bre Goldsmith, the owner of Bites by Bre, is delivering date nights to your front door. Rhode Island Monthly has more.

Plus… Two good ones from Providence Business News: Rockland Trust doled out more than $300,000 in relief grants to organizations across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. And a pair of local businesswomen teamed up to send DIY mask kits to Rhode Islanders.

OUR INSIGHTS: INDUSTRY-BY-INDUSTRY

Our team at blumshapiro is working every day to provide you with the latest information pertaining to the individual industries in which you operate. You can find real-time updates within the following links:

Our firm’s complete suite of COVID-19 webinars, articles and federal and state guidelines can be found by clicking here.

 

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.

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