We have multiple timely updates (including an item at the very end about takeout beer!) this morning:
Let's start with Gov. Baker's order this week requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide "COVID-19 Essential Services" to close
their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of yesterday (March 24) until noon on Tuesday, April 7.
Impacted businesses are encouraged to continue operating through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear
at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order.
Here is the list of COVID-19 Essential Services
detailing which industries, businesses,
or services are considered essential and therefore may continue their brick-and-mortar operations.
The state has also prepared this page of frequently asked questions designed to respond to questions related to Baker's order. We understand that this page will be updated as new questions arise or circumstances
Note that if you operated a businesses deemed essential based on the "COVID-19 Essential Services
guidance, you do NOT need to apply for an Essential Service Designation.
However, businesses that are NOT covered under this "COVID-19 Essential Services" guidance can submit an online request
to be designated as essential for the purposes of the Emergency Order.
Updates to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The Small Business Administration has recently made adjustments to its EIDL program structure and process.
- Moving forward, EIDL loans will defer payments for the first year (twelve months) of the loan. This is a change from the initial loan structure,
which allowed payment deferral for four months.
- There is an expedited process for loans under $500k, allowing them to bypass the requirement to submit current tax returns. Other IRS forms and
guarantees will still be required. Please note that private non-profits don't qualify for this exemption.
- Businesses can apply for the program here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
Update from the Division of Insurance
The Division of Insurance issued guidance for insurance carriers yesterday, encouraging them to offer flexibility to individual-
and business policyholders. Read the full bulletin here.
Updates from the Department of Unemployment Assistance
The Department of Unemployment Assistance is hosting daily town hall meetings to guide attendees through the process to achieve a successful unemployment
claim and to answer questions. Read more here
You can also learn more about unemployment benefits in light of COVID-19 at DUA's website, here
this page will continue to be updated.
Baker files bill to address challenges faced by municipalities (and, yes, take out beer)
Finally, on Tuesday the Baker-Polito Administration filed
An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and School Districts Resulting from COVID-19,
which would provide administrative
relief to state and local government entities impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak
. Among other
things, the bill would:
- Allow municipalities to waive late-payment penalties for the 4th quarter tax bills, due May 1, and allow municipalities to change their
tax bill due date from April 1 to June 1.
- Allow municipalities to extend the deadline for property tax exemptions and deferrals. The current statutory deadline is April 1; this would allow
municipalities to extend to June 1.
- Permit establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer by take-out and delivery, provided that the wine
or beer is sold in the original sealed container, is sold in the same transaction as a purchase of food and is not over certain volume limitations.
Your chamber team is standing by to assist.
Don't hesitate to reach out.
Be safe and be well.