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COVID-19 Update for June 26: 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 Friday, June 26, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know.

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Insights  <  COVID-19 Update for June 26: 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 Friday, June 26, 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 Friday, June 26, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know. To view last weeks updates, click here. 

THE LATEST – NATIONAL NEWS

SBA issues new guidance on Paycheck Protection Program.

Another week; another update to the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program. On June 22, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued its Interim Final Rule on Revisions to Loan Forgiveness Interim Final Rule and SBA Loan Review Procedures Interim Final Rule.

We know: It’s a bit of a mouthful. Here’s the upshot.

The new guidance released by the SBA covers: 1) changes to the first loan forgiveness rule, and 2) changes to the first loan review rule. It was issued to supplement the revised PPP loan forgiveness application and instructions that became available on June 16. We covered those documents on our website when they came out; you can catch up by clicking here.

So, what’s new? We’ve pinpointed four key takeaways:

  1. A borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application any time on or before the maturity date of the loan, including before the end of the covered period.
  2. If the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, or if the SBA determines that the loan is not eligible for forgiveness, the PPP loan is no longer deferred and the borrower must begin paying principal and interest.
  3. The new guidance sets limitations on owner-employees and self-employed individuals.
  4. The new guidance creates reductions in loan forgiveness.

blumshapiro partner David Fontes provided in-depth analysis on these four takeaways and more. You can find his article on our website by clicking here.

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.

MORE: Paycheck Protection Program.

The PPP has helped tens of thousands of businesses across the country secure more than $512 billion in financial relief since its launch in April. It’s also been a “significant risk” for potential fraud.

Interesting: Senate Democrats are seeking to pass legislation that would make businesses with fewer than 100 employees eligible for a second loan through the PPP. The legislative package is known as the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act. It likely won’t garner a vote from the full Senate until late July at the earliest.

A major point of contention when it comes to the PPP: Transparency. Who is receiving all of these federal dollars? Well, we may have an answer soon, as the U.S. Treasury recently announced it would be releasing the names of any companies that received a loan of $150,000 or more from the program.

Still thinking about applying for PPP loan? Get started; the deadline to apply is June 30.

Main Street Lending Program is up and running.

The $600 billion Main Street Lending Program, designed to assist “midsized companies with 15,000 employees or fewer” navigate economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, officially went live on Monday.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston – the institution charged with administering this program – more than 200 banks across the country have signed on as approved lenders.

The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce recently hosted Eric Rosengren, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, for a virtual interview regarding the Main Street Lending Program. Catch up by clicking here.

Plus, our team at blumshapiro has an overview of the initiative, which you can find by clicking here.

Before we move on, here are some quick hits from around the Web.

As we all know, researchers around the world are working around the clock to develop a vaccine to the novel Coronavirus. But, an interesting question: If and when it’s developed, who will be the first person to receive it?

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the next few weeks are going to be critical if we want to tamp down COVID-19 spikes.

Plus: Especially in states that have reopened bars, COVID-19 is starting to surge in young adults – and that’s impacting the young folks’ older relatives. How should schools be redesigned in a post-COVID world? What about childcare?

And is the national healthcare system ready for a potential shortage of medical oxygen?

THE LATEST – NEWS FROM RHODE ISLAND

Let’s start with the latest numbers…

As of Thursday evening, 16,640 Rhode Islanders had tested positive for COVID-19. One-hundred and three patients were in the hospital, and 920 individuals had unfortunately passed away due to the virus. The state had processed more than 228,000 COVID-19 tests and still leads the nation in testing per capita.

As some states across the country are beginning to regress back to their “peaks” of this crisis, virtually every one of Rhode Island’s key indicators – from daily positive cases, hospitalizations, and patients on ventilators and in the ICU, to testing capacity – are trending in the right direction.

Phase III of our economic reopening plan is expected to start soon.

Because of our positive data, Rhode Island is ready to speed up its plan to reopen the economy. Phase III is expected to begin by the July 4 (or earlier), and it will bring with it an enhanced semblance of normalcy.

Once Phase III begins, the limit on social gatherings – currently set to 15 people – will increase to 75 people in an indoor setting and 150 people outdoors. Indoor entertainment options like movie theaters, arcades and bowling alleys will be back in business, and restaurants and retailers will have enhanced freedom to serve more customers at a time.

Rhode Island Commerce has a full breakdown of Phase III – plus, industry-by-industry reopening guidelines – on www.ReopeningRI.com.

As always, we’ll end with a reminder: If you’re planning to reopen during Phase III, 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.

Free COVID-19 testing available for some asymptomatic residents.

If you work at a close-contact business (think: restaurants, gyms, hair salons, tattoo parlors, child care facilities and the like), or if you’ve attended any large protest or demonstration in the last two weeks, you can (and are strongly encouraged to) sign up for a free COVID-19 test. Make an appointment by clicking here.

Tune in: There are several interesting webinars coming up next week.

Here’s a sampling:

Plus, Lt. Gov. McKee will continue virtually hosting his weekly Town Hall meetings on Tuesdays at noon. These town halls cover a wide range of topics related to the COVID-19 crisis. They are free to join and open to the public.

Here are a few ways you can join:

Quick Hits: News from around Rhode Island…

Rhode Island is famous for being the “smallest state with the longest name” – but that moniker may not ring true for long. Governor Raimondo is advocating to remove “Providence Plantations” from the state’s official name – and has taken the first steps to do so.

We’re a bunch of rule-followers here in the Ocean State: A new report says most residents have generally stayed home over the course of the pandemic.

Youth sports may come back. And beaches are increasing their capacity.

Finally: Do you still have some unwanted Christmas presents that you forgot to return? Good news: It might not be too late.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHTs

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

Hospitality: How can restaurants maintain their friendly atmospheres while smiles are hidden by facemasks? There’s a webinar for that.

Plus: The National Restaurant Association is “reimagining” the return of the dining experience. Americans are still hesitant about traveling, but they’re all-in on a potential “travel credit” idea that’s floating around Congress.

Finally: Robot butlers? Digital menus? What’s next for the hotel industry?

Healthcare: Here are the latest testing guidelines for nursing homes. And here’s Providence Business News on the future of long-term care.

General business: How do you network when everything is canceled? Enjoying working from home? It’s possible this trend is here to stay.

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:

SHOUT OUT TO HELPING HANDS

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

Stephanie Ewens, a photographer based in Rhode Island, has volunteered her time and talent to take beautiful portraits of local healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this crisis. Read more in Rhode Island Monthly. 

The COVID-19 Response Fund, launched by United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation, has now disbursed nearly $700,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Read more in Providence Business News.

Centreville Bank recently donated nearly $160,000 to nonprofit organizations serving Rhode Island and Connecticut. Read more in Providence Business News.

Our favorite feel-good story from this week: A few dozen local bartenders organized a charity bike ride on Monday. They rode around 20 miles down the East Bay Bike Path and raised more than $8,000 for a number of worthy causes. Read more in Rhode Island Monthly.

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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