Monthly Archives: August 2020

August 18, 2020 Gerad Bryan

The Gym and Fitness Centers Guidance

The Gym and Fitness Centers Guidance has been posted on the New York Forward website, here, under Phase Four.  

A PDF summary of the guidance can be found, here.


For Immediate Release: 8/17/2020 GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES GYMS AND FITNESS CENTERS CAN REOPEN STARTING AUGUST 24

All Gyms and Fitness Centers Able to Open by September 2; Indoor Fitness Classes May Be Delayed Beyond September 2

Facilities Required to Operate at 33 Percent Capacity and Follow Rigorous Health and Safety Protocols, Including Masks at All Times

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that gyms and fitness centers can reopen in New York starting August 24. Facilities that reopen will be subject to rigorous health and safety standards and all gyms and fitness centers will be able to open by September 2.

“As New York maintains daily positive test rates below 1 percent, the State has determined that local elected officials can allow gyms and fitness centers to reopen at 33 percent capacity while following rigorous safety protocols, including wearing masks at all times,” Governor Cuomo said. “While it’s encouraging that we’ve reached the point where it’s acceptable for them to begin reopening in our communities, this is not the time to forget that the pandemic is ongoing. New Yorkers must closely adhere to the guidelines and local health departments are required to strictly enforce them to help ensure gyms and fitness centers reopen safely and protect the public health.”

Local elected officials may choose to delay the reopening of gyms and fitness centers until September 2 to, in part, provide time for required local health department inspections, and may also choose to delay the reopening of indoor fitness classes until a date beyond September 2. In New York City, the Mayor will determine whether gyms and fitness centers should postpone reopening. Outside of New York City, the county’s chief executive – county executive, administrator, manager, or chair of the local elected legislative body – will determine whether gym reopening needs to be postponed.

Localities can also determine whether gyms postpone resumption of indoor classes. In New York City, the Mayor and, throughout the rest of the state, the county’s chief executive may decide to opt-out of indoor group fitness and aquatic classes within their jurisdiction, postponing their resumption until a later date. Local health departments must inspect gyms prior to reopening, or within two weeks of reopening, to ensure strict adherence to Department of Health guidance.

Guidance for Gyms and Fitness Centers

  • Capacity: 33% occupancy limit.
  • Access: Sign-in with contact information and health screening required.
  • PPE: Appropriate face coverings required at all times.
  • Distancing: 6 feet of separation at all times.
  • Hygiene/Cleaning: Cleaning and disinfection supplies made available to customers; shared equipment cleaned after every use; staff must also be available to clean and disinfect equipment in between uses; rental equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between customer use.
  • Classes: By appointment/reservation only; maximum class capacity capped at number of people that can adhere to the 6-feet social distancing rules, but in no case more than 33% of the typical class size (i.e., leave stations, cycles, etc. vacant); classes should be scheduled to allow additional time for cleaning and disinfection in between each session.
  • Amenities: Water bottle refill stations permitted, but not shared water fountains; communal showers are closed, but individual showers/stalls can remain open so long as they are cleaned in between use.
  • Air Handling Systems: Gyms should operate at MERV-13 or greater; if they are unable to operate at that level, they must have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional document their inability to do so and adopt additional ventilation and mitigation protocols from American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Inspection: Local health departments shall inspect before or within two weeks of the gym/fitness center opening to ensure compliance.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber |press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418

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August 10, 2020 Gerad Bryan

August 10,2020 How the Most Recent FAQ’s on PPP Loan Forgiveness May Impact You


On August 4, 2020, the Small Business Administration (the “SBA”), in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury”), issued guidance in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) on PPP Loan Forgivenes s. Some longstanding questions were answered (e.g., what is transportation under utilities? See below for the answer), other questions were not, and some FAQ answers raise new questions. The FAQs are structured in four categories: (i) General Loan Forgiveness FAQs (3 in this section), (ii) Loan Forgiveness Payroll Cost FAQs (8 in this section), (iii) Loan Forgiveness Nonpayroll Costs FAQs (7 in this section), and (iv) Loan Forgiveness Reductions FAQs (5 in this section). In the following outline, we will revisit how we got here and address some of the key FAQs that resolve questions related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”).

See link here for the SBA’s FAQs on PPP Loan Forgiveness effective August 4, 2020: https://www.sba.gov/document/support-frequently-asked-questions-ppp-loan-forgiveness

How Did We Get Here?  

The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and small businesses (as defined by the SBA) started applying for Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans on April 3, 2020. By April 16, 2020, the first tranche of PPP loan funding of $349 billion ran out and Congress passed another law expanding the funding by an additional $310 billion. As of August 6, 2020, $523.4 billion in loans have been approved, which means $135.6 billion of funding is still available. The last day to apply for a PPP loan was August 8, 2020. There have been numerous guidelines and rules issued by the U.S. Treasury and SBA as follow up to the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (the “PPPFA”) in the form of Interim Final Rules (“IFRs”), FAQs, and other guidance. To date, the most common questions remain on how to handle certain aspects of the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application. The recently-issued FAQs address some of these issues as described below.

Selected Questions Answered by the FAQs

General Loan Forgiveness FAQS (Questions 1 to 3) Commentary: These three FAQs generally repeat some of the basic rules for filing the Application for PPP Loan Forgiveness – Forms 3508 and 3508-EZ. Payroll Costs FAQs (Questions 1 to 8) Question #2: Are payroll costs that were incurred before the Covered Period but paid during the Covered Period eligible for loan forgiveness? Answer: Yes. Commentary FAQ #2: The SBA finally resolves that Borrowers can include payroll costs as eligible for loan forgiveness that were incurred prior to the Covered Period and paid during the Covered Period. Keep in mind, if choosing between the Covered Period and the Alternative Payroll Covered Period that the Covered Period likely will allow you to include more costs than the Alternative Payroll Covered Period. Question #7: What contributions for retirement benefits will be considered payroll costs that are eligible for loan forgiveness? Answer: Generally, employer contributions for employee retirement benefits that are paid or incurred by the borrower during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period qualify as “payroll costs” eligible for loan forgiveness. The employer contributions for retirement benefits included in the loan forgiveness amount as payroll costs cannot include any retirement contributions deducted from employees’ pay or otherwise paid by employees. Forgiveness is not provided for employer contributions for retirement benefits accelerated from periods outside the Covered Period or Alternative Covered Period. Loan Forgiveness Payroll Costs FAQ 8 outlines the treatment of retirement benefits for owners, which are different from this general approach. Commentary FAQ #7: The key takeaway here is that forgiveness is not provided for retirement contributions that are accelerated from periods outside the Covered Period. Question #8: How is the amount of owner compensation that is eligible for loan forgiveness determined? Answer: The amount of compensation of owners who work at their business that is eligible for forgiveness depends on the business type and whether the borrower is using an eight-week or 24-week Covered Period. In addition to the specific caps described below, the amount of loan forgiveness requested for owner-employees and self-employed individuals’ payroll compensation is capped at $20,833 per individual in total across all businesses in which he or she has an ownership stake. For borrowers that received a PPP loan before June 5, 2020 and elect to use an eight-week Covered Period, this cap is $15,385. If their total compensation across businesses that receive a PPP loan exceeds the cap, owners can choose how to allocate the capped amount across different businesses. The examples below are for a borrower using a 24-week Covered Period. C Corporations: The employee cash compensation of a C-corporation owner-employee, defined as an owner who is also an employee (including where the owner is the only employee), is eligible for loan forgiveness up to the amount of 2.5/12 of his or her 2019 employee cash compensation, with cash compensation defined as it is for all other employees. Borrowers are also eligible for loan forgiveness for payments for employer state and local taxes paid by the borrowers and assessed on their compensation, for the amount paid by the borrower for employer contributions for their employee health insurance, and for employer retirement contributions to their employee retirement plans capped at the amount of 2.5/12 of the 2019 employer retirement contribution. Payments other than for cash compensation should be included on lines 6-8 of PPP Schedule A of the loan forgiveness application (SBA Form 3508 or lender equivalent), for borrowers using that form, and do not count toward the $20,833 cap per individual. Commentary – C-Corp Owner-Employee: The above section clarifies that Borrowers can include as eligible payroll costs, employer contributions made on behalf of C-corporation owner-employees for health insurance and retirement contributions. This FAQ does not however address the level of ownership required to be considered an owner employee. Some are speculating that 2% is the threshold based on the S Corporations rule below while others feel that any percentage of ownership by an employee would be considered an owner, unless the SBA issues further guidance. The SBA provided clarification that an owner-employee’s employer funded retirement contributions are capped at 2.5/12 of the 2019 employer retirement contribution. Also, keep in mind that the above specific guidance of a compensation cap of $20,833 is for 24-week filers. The cap for an 8-week filer is still $15,385. S Corporations: The employee cash compensation of an S-corporation owner-employee, defined as an owner who is also an employee, is eligible for loan forgiveness up to the amount of 2.5/12 of their 2019 employee cash compensation, with cash compensation defined as it is for all other employees. Borrowers are also eligible for loan forgiveness for payments for employer state and local taxes paid by the borrowers and assessed on their compensation, and for employer retirement contributions to their employee retirement plans capped at the amount of 2.5/12 of their 2019 employer retirement contribution. Employer contributions for health insurance are not eligible for additional forgiveness for S-corporation employees with at least a 2% stake in the business, including for employees who are family members of an at least 2% owner under the family attribution rules of 26 U.S.C. 318, because those contributions are included in cash compensation. The eligible non-cash compensation payments should be included on lines 7 and 8 of PPP Schedule A of the Loan Forgiveness Application (SBA Form 3508), for borrowers using that form, and do not count toward the $20,833 cap per individual. Commentary – S-Corp Owner Employees: The SBA makes a distinction between S-corporation owner employees who own at least a 2% stake in the business and does not permit employer contributions for health insurance for these individuals, which means these costs are eligible for S-corporation shareholders who own less than 2%.
Self-employed Schedule C or F filers: There is nothing new in the Schedule C/F portion of this FAQ other than the borrower must include their 2019 Schedule C or F when applying for loan forgiveness.
General Partners and LLC Owners: There is no additional guidance in the partnership section of this FAQ. Loan Forgiveness Nonpayroll Costs FAQs (Questions 1 to 7) Question #4: Is interest on unsecured credit eligible for loan forgiveness? Answer: No. Payments of interest on business mortgages on real or personal property (such as an auto loan) are eligible for loan forgiveness. Interest on unsecured credit is not eligible for loan forgiveness because the loan is not secured by real or personal property. Although interest on unsecured credit incurred before February 15, 2020 is a permissible use of PPP loan proceeds, this expense is not eligible for forgiveness.
Commentary FAQ #4: Although this question and answer are straight forward, the SBA does provide “auto loan” as an example of a mortgage on personal property. Question #5: Are payments made on recently renewed leases or interest payments on refinanced mortgage loans eligible for loan forgiveness if the original lease or mortgage existed prior to February 15, 2020? Answer: Yes. If a lease that existed prior to February 15, 2020 expires on or after February 15, 2020 and is renewed, the lease payments made pursuant to the renewed lease during the Covered Period are eligible for loan forgiveness. Similarly, if a mortgage loan on real or personal property that existed prior to February 15, 2020 is refinanced on or after February 15, 2020, the interest payments on the refinanced mortgage loan during the Covered Period are eligible for loan forgiveness.
Commentary FAQ #5: This response should resolve any concern Borrowers had regarding leases or mortgages that were in place prior to February 15, 2020, but had some form of change whether through renewal or refinance. Question #6: Covered utility payments, which are eligible for forgiveness, include a “payment for a service for the distribution of . . . transportation” under the CARES Act. What expenses does this category include? Answer: A service for the distribution of transportation refers to transportation utility fees assessed by state and local governments. Payment of these fees by the borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness. This FAQ includes footnote 5, which refers the reader to a url for more information on transportation utility fees – https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/value_capture/defined/transportation_utility_fees.aspx.
Commentary FAQ #6: It is not clear if anyone knew what the CARES Act was referring to when “transportation” was listed alongside electricity, gas, water, telephone, and internet access. Well, now we do. Transportation utility fees are charged to businesses primarily by certain local governments to fund roadway maintenance.  However, the SBA still has not addressed why heating oil is not included as a utility, while gas and electricity are included.
Loan Forgiveness Reductions FAQs (Questions 1 to 5) Question #5: For purposes of calculating the loan forgiveness reduction required for salary/hourly wage reductions in excess of 25% for certain employees, are all forms of compensation included or only salaries and wages? Answer: For purposes of calculating reductions in the loan forgiveness amount, the borrower should only take into account decreases in salaries or wages.
Commentary FAQ #5: This seems to clarify that the 25% test on wage reduction includes only the base rate of pay and excludes other compensation including bonuses.   Disclaimer: Please note this is based on the information that is currently available and is subject to change. Information was provided by Anchin.com 

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August 4, 2020 Gerad Bryan

SCOPED Press Release Clute Park Ground Breaking 8020

Immediate Release

Watkins Glen DRI Project Breaks Ground
Clute Park $5 million Improvements to Foster Year-Round Use

Watkins Glen, NY – The Village of Watkins Glen held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Tuesday,
celebrating the start of construction on the Clute Park redevelopment project. This project, on
the drawing board since 2010, was the leading public project for Watkins Glen during the New
York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) public forums. Village of Watkins Glen
Mayor, Luke Leszyk, said,” This project will take our already beautiful park, enjoyed by
thousands every summer, and enhance it into a park that can be enjoyed year-round by locals
and visitors alike”. The redevelopment and year-round activation of Clute Park is one of several
key initiatives along the waterfront spear-headed by Project Seneca, a privately-funded regional
initiative.

The project, valued at $5 million is funded by several grants from New York State including
those from Department of State, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, Department of State
DRI, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Laurie DeNardo, Village
Trustee and DRI Co-Chair, commented, “I’m thrilled at the long-term investment from New York
State as we embark on the improvements to Clute Park. This plan retains the parks unique
character, provides year-round family-oriented enjoyment, and evolved from our community
for our community for years to come.”

The project includes a new year-round pavilion, bathhouse, outside showers, seasonal splash
pad and seasonal ice rink. New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said,
“Parks and public spaces add to the vibrancy of our downtowns and the new Clute Park will
provide year-round, flexible and accessible public gathering spaces for residents and
visitors. Now, more than ever, we see the valuable role that parks and public spaces play in
overcoming social isolation and bringing people together in a safe and healthy manner. I
am proud that the Department of State is able to play a key role in transforming Clute
Park through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the Environmental Protection
Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.”

Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O’Hearn added, “As the gateway to the Finger Lakes, the
Village of Watkins Glen attracts over 3 million visitors per year. This latest initiative, which is
almost entirely funded through New York State, will further our reputation as a world class
destination while providing year-round recreational opportunities for our residents and visitors.
This project is the cornerstone of the transformational aspirations of Watkins Glen and Schuyler
County, and will weigh heavily in the success of these efforts. It is truly an exciting time for our
community”

“This project will continue to enhance the Village of Watkins Glen and increase its’ reputation
as vibrant community”, said Fred Bonn, Regional Director, Finger Lakes State Parks. Our
agency’s support of the new and improved recreational amenities makes for a wonderful
complement to Watkins Glen State Park and the improvements made to it over the last few
years.”

The design and engineering was completed by Stantec; and Welliver is the general contractor.
The construction is expected to be completed in June 2021.

The ceremony, following social distancing guidelines and mass gather rules, had 35 in
attendance.

For more information, please contact Judy McKinney Cherry 607-535-6862.

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