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COVID-19 Update for May 29: 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, May 29, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know.

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Insights  <  COVID-19 Update for May 29: 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, May 29, 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, May 29, here are the latest updates leaders in Rhode Island’s business community need to know. To view last weeks updates, click here. 

THE LATEST – FEDERAL RELIEF PROGRAMS

Lenders, borrowers await further guidance on Paycheck Protection Program

The details are starting to come together when it comes to the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program, but lenders and borrowers in Rhode Island and across the country are still awaiting further guidance.

A week ago today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued the Interim Final Rule on Loan Forgiveness. blumshapiro partner William Moore, Jr. broke down the highlights of that document. You can find his article by clicking here.

Our team is keeping a close eye on the latest guidance to come from both the U.S. Treasury and the SBA, and we will post the latest updates on our website. In the meantime, here are a few resources and articles from around the Web:

The PPP is the “newsy” one, but don’t forget about other federal relief programs.

While much of the recent press has been focused on the PPP, borrowers should not forget about other programs, such as the SBA’s Debt Relief program. Barry Sussman, a director here at blumshapiro, has more on this program and other relief options out there.

Plus, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell believes four additional federal lending programs will launch as early as Monday, June 1. These programs were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The headliner of these programs is the $600 billion Main Street Lending Program, which was created to provide support to “midsized companies with 15,000 employees or less.” Our team at blumshapiro has an overview of the Main Street Lending Program, which you can find by clicking here.

What’s next for the HEROES Act?

On May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act), a proposed $3 trillion package to “address the negative health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This legislation is expected to hit a road block when it reaches the Republican-controlled Senate, but we’ll be keeping an eye on this bill, and will provide the latest as the situation develops.

THE LATEST – REOPENING RHODE ISLAND

Let’s start with the latest numbers…

As of Thursday evening, 14,494 Rhode Islanders had tested positive for COVID-19. Two-hundred and twenty-two patients were in the hospital, and 677 individuals had unfortunately passed away due to the virus.

Since this crisis began back in March, the state has processed more than 140,000 tests. The percentage of positive test results is hovering right around 10%.

Phase II of the “ReopeningRI” process is set to begin next week.

Monday, June 1 is still looking like the official start of Phase II of the state’s comprehensive plan to reopen the economy. As we mentioned in our previous update, Phase II will bring a great deal of welcome news for folks hoping for some semblance of a normal summer.

Businesses that are permitted to reopen their doors during Phase II of the process – albeit with heavy restrictions – include: restaurants (for indoor dining), hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios and some office-based buildings. You’ll be able to go enjoy a day at the beach; youth sports may make a comeback by mid-June; and churches and other places of worship will slowly start reopening to the public in the coming weeks.

For the latest updates, visit and bookmark www.ReopeningRI.com.

Here are a few virtual Town Halls that dive deeper into Phase II…

Rhode Island Commerce and the Rhode Island Department of Health have been consistently hosting virtual discussions to go through the details of Phase II of the reopening process. We’re sure you’re starting to get sick of watching videos on Facebook Live or Zoom – but these are helpful if you’re looking for more industry-specific guidance!

How does Rhode Island compare to the rest of the country?

All 50 states are at least in the early stages of their respective economic reopening processes, but – especially when you consider the loosening of restrictions coming during Phase II – Rhode Island appears to be ahead of the pack. NBC News broke down the national reopening with some helpful interactive maps. Check it out by clicking here.

Free face masks, disinfectant supplies still available through local Chambers.

The state of Rhode Island has partnered with each of Rhode Island’s Chambers of Commerce, as well as select professional trade associations, to distribute more than 500,000 face masks and much-needed disinfectant solution to small businesses across the state.

A limited amount of these supplies are still available; you can learn more on the Rhode Island Commerce website by clicking here.

Finally, here are a few reminders for business owners.

Businesses reopening during Phase I of the reopening process were asked to fill out some paperwork and print out a few forms before reopening their doors. Phase II businesses will be held to those same compliance standards.

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.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHTs

Let’s start with hospitality…

Here’s a sampling of updates and interesting articles from across the hospitality industry.

Moving on to construction…

A programming note: The Rhode Island chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors is hosting a virtual professional development cocktail hour next week. It’s a members-only event, and it’s taking place on Wednesday, June 3 at 5 p.m. Register by clicking here.

We’ve compiled additional resources for the construction industry on our website. Find them by clicking here.

Now, manufacturing…

Polaris MEP is continuing its webinar series over the next several weeks. Here are a few upcoming courses Rhode Island’s manufacturing community can mark on their calendars:

And let’s end the spotlights with long-term healthcare. 

Long-term care providers, for the past two-plus months, have been working tirelessly to take care of a large percentage of our nation’s elderly and infirmed population. blumshapiro partner Jonathan Fink laid out his thoughts on the road to recovery for long-term care providers. You can read his analysis by clicking here.

Plus, here are a few additional resources:

Finally, this story isn’t directly related to long-term healthcare, but… did you know that the practice of washing our hands hasn’t been around forever? It was “invented” in the 1800s by a young doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis. McKnight’s has the interesting story; find it by clicking here.

THE WEEK AHEAD – UPCOMING WEBINARS, TRAININGS AND MORE

Providence Business News hosting a virtual summit.

As the state begins to outline plans to reopen the economy, this summit will address some of the new challenges businesses will face to keep employees healthy and safe as they gradually return to work. It’s set for 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 4. Register by clicking here.

Rhode Island Commerce is planning on hosting more virtual Town Halls.

Leaders at Rhode Island Commerce said in a recent newsletter that they were planning more industry-specific virtual Town Halls in the coming weeks. Follow the Commerce team on Facebook for the latest programming details.

ONGOING: Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee continues hosting business forum calls

Typically held on Tuesdays and Fridays at noon each week, Lt. Gov. McKee’s business forum conference calls cover a wide range of topics related to the COVID-19 crisis. They are free to join and open to the public. You can keep an eye on the weekly schedule – and dial-in information – by following Lt. Gov. McKee on Facebook.

THE LATEST – RHODE ISLAND’S BUDGET & TAX DEADLINES

The latest on federal and state tax deadlines.

Unbelievably, we’re wrapping up another month – and, suddenly, the postponed federal tax deadline is sneaking up on us. As a reminder, the filing deadline for federal and Rhode Island state taxes is July 15.

In other tax-centric news, the Rhode Island Taxation Division recently announced it would grant one-month extensions on quarterly tax filings. Providence Business News has more on that announcement, which you can find by clicking here.

ONGOING – FINANCIAL RELIEF PROGRAMS FOR BUSINESSES

We’ve mentioned most of these programs in prior weekly updates (after all, this is our tenth COVID-19 weekly update) – but they’re still available, so we keep including them. Feel free to keep scrolling if you’ve read our past dispatches.

Lt. Gov. McKee proposes new financial support programs for small businesses

Lt. Gov Dan McKee, who also serves as Chair of Rhode Island’s Small Business Advocacy Council, is calling on the state to create a “CARES Act-funded grant program and a state-guaranteed loan strategy to help compensate small businesses that have been most financially impacted by COVID-19.”

Read his full press release by clicking here.

Rhode Island rolls out 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:

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:

LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEW NORMAL

What does life after COVID-19 look like? That’ll be the question we all have to figure out together. Here are a few interesting look-ahead takes from the past week.

SHOUT OUT TO HELPING HANDS

In times of crisis, Rhode Island’s business community is coming together. Let’s end with a few words of thanks.

Kudos to UpServe, which is providing free online ordering software for restaurants during this crisis. Read more in Providence Business News >>

The REALTOR Foundation of Rhode Island is raising money for statewide COVID-19 relief efforts, pledging to match up to $10,000 in donations to support the Rhode Island Foundation and Family Service of Rhode Island. Read more in RhodyBeat >>

The National Grid Foundation awarded $50,000 in local grants to support five nonprofit organizations serving Rhode Island. Read more in Providence Business News >>

Newport Hospital’s Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund recently doled out $20,000 in emergency funding to support four local nonprofit organizations serving Aquidneck Island. Read more in WhatsUpNewp >>

Tufts Health Plan launched an employee relief fund to help employees who have been financially impacted by this crisis. Read more in Providence Business News >>

BankNewport recently donated $100,000 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to help feed the hungry. Read more in Providence Business News >>

Volunteers from the YMCA of Pawtucket are joining the BEAT COVID-19 initiative in Pawtucket and Central. Once again, read more in Providence Business News >>

Finally, just for fun, here’s a playlist of 57 “feel-good songs,” compiled by Elle.

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.

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

 

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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