COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

Necessary Information for Reopening and Beyond.

Reopening Resources: 

BEGINNING JUNE 4, 2020, COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TIM O’HEARN AND JUDY MCKINNEY CHERRY OF SCOPED will host a virtual meeting every Thursday at 3pm to provide updated information and a forum for Q&A. 
Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81196326743pwd=SjZ3VWo5WU4zNVgvemc3RzhDdz09  Meeting ID: 81196326743  Password: 931473

 

COVID-19 Financial assistance for small businesses:

New EZ and Revised PPP Forgiveness Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Released

On June 17, 2020, the Small Business Association (SBA) in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised PPP loan forgiveness application and instructions (Form 3508 – revised June 16, 2020), which implements the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 that was signed into law on June 5, 2020. In addition, the SBA also published a new “EZ” version of the loan forgiveness application – Form 3508EZ. Links for these forms are provided below.

Do You Meet the Requirements to File Form 3508EZ?

The EZ application form requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. The EZ loan forgiveness form does not include a calculation for the FTE Reduction Quotient or the 25% pay rate reduction for employees who made up to $100,000 annualized in 2019. However, Borrowers using this form must still maintain documentation that supports these assertions.

Borrowers can use the EZ form if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • The Borrower is a self-employed individual, independent contractor, or sole proprietor who had no employees when they applied for the PPP loan and did not include any employee salaries in the computation of average monthly payroll in the PPP loan application Form 2483; OR
  • The Borrower did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25% during the Covered Period or Alternative Payroll Covered Period as compared to January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 for employees who did not earn more than $100,000 at an annualized rate during 2019, AND the Borrower did not reduce the number of employees or the average paid hours between January 1, 2020 and the end of the Covered Period. (Borrowers can ignore certain headcount reductions as defined in the instructions); OR
  • The Borrower did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25% during the Covered Period (same as bullet above), AND the Borrower was unable to operate during the Covered period at the same level of business activity as before February 15, 2020, due to the issuance of health directives (as issued by the CDC, OSHA and Health and Human Services) between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 related to COVID-19.

Covered Period Can Be 8 Weeks or 24 Weeks

Both applications (Form 3508 and Form 3508EZ) give Borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if the loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.  There is no current guidance providing an option to use a covered period that is between 8 and 24 weeks.  Therefore, if the Borrower believes they will qualify for 100% forgiveness before the end of the 24-week period, it is not yet known whether they will be able to apply at that time or if they will instead need to wait the full 24 weeks.

What are the Maximum Payroll Costs For Employees and Owners?

For both applications, the maximum amount of cash compensation (wages, salary, tips, etc.) that is eligible for forgiveness for each individual employee is $15,385 ($100,000 x 8/52) for the 8-week period and $46,154 ($100,000 x 24/52) for the 24-week period.

Owner compensation (i.e., sole proprietors, general partners and owner-employees) is limited to 2019 net profit up to $15,385 ($100,000 x 8/52) for the 8-week period and $20,833 ($100,000 x 2.5/12) for the 24-week period.  The owner compensation cap is inclusive of all payroll costs.  In its related Interim Final Rule, the SBA stated that they did not want Borrowers to qualify for additional forgiveness based on owner compensation exceeding the amount they were able to borrow against their compensation, which you may recall was 2.5 months of compensation, capped at $100,000 per annum.

The 60% Rule for Payroll Costs

At least 60% of the PPP loan proceeds shall be used for payroll costs. This rule applies to both the 8-week and 24-week covered periods. The 60% requirement for payroll costs is not an all or nothing rule. The Borrower’s eligible nonpayroll costs cannot exceed 40% of total costs eligible for forgiveness, which includes payroll and nonpayroll costs.

Haven’t Applied for a PPP Loan Yet?

Time is of the essence. The last day to file for a PPP Loan is June 30, 2020. See the revised PPP Loan Application link here.

Links to Updated and New Forms

SBA Form 3508 Application (Revised 6-16-2020) – Link here

SBA Form 3508 Instructions (Revised 6-16-2020) – Link here

SBA Form 3508EZ Application (Issued 6-16-2020) – Link here

SBA Form 3508EZ Instructions (Issued 6-16-2020) – Link here

If your business has not yet applied for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance, the SBA is accepting New Applications from all eligible small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. To learn more about eligibility and apply, click here.

The U.S. government has enacted changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) including the relaxation of PPP Loan Forgiveness rules with the goal of making it easier for many businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness on a larger portion of their loans. These changes were signed into law on Friday through the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PPPFA). This new legislation contains many important changes to the PPP.
  • Loan Forgiveness
The PPPFA extends the “covered period” from 8 weeks to 24 weeks from the date of the origination of the covered loan, or December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. A borrower under an existing PPP loan may elect to keep the original 8 week covered period. The requirement that the Borrower use at least 75% of the forgivable amount of the PPP Loan on payroll costs was lowered to 60%. The Borrower may now use up to 40% on nonpayroll costs (mortgage interest, rent and utilities) for its loan forgiveness amount. However, the way the PPPFA is written, the new threshold is now a “cliff”, meaning that at least 60% of the loan amount must be spent on payroll costs in order to be eligible for forgiveness. It is not yet clear whether a Borrower electing to use the 8 week covered period should follow the new 60/40 rules or the original 75/25 requirement.
The Safe Harbor date to restore reductions in Full-time Equivalent (FTE) employees and wages has been changed from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
The PPPFA adds an exemption to the FTE Reduction calculation, if for the period beginning February 15, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020, the Borrower can document:
  1. An inability to rehire employees who were employed as of February 15, 2020, and
  2. An inability to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020, or
  3. An inability to return to the same level of business activity as such business was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements and guidelines issued by Health and Human Services, CDC or OSHA during March 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 related to certain protocols for responding to COVID-19.
  • Deferral of Employer Payroll Taxes
Recipients of PPP loan forgiveness are no longer excluded from the deferral of the employer’s half of federal social security and Medicare taxes. Borrowers may now continue to defer payroll taxes through the end of 2020.
  • Loan Term and Deferral Period
The CARES Act (Section 1106) initially provided that a PPP loan would have a maximum maturity of 10 years from the date on which the Borrower applies for loan forgiveness. In its first Interim Final Rule (IFR) issued in early April 2020, the SBA reduced the loan maturity to two years. The PPPFA requires all new PPP loans made on or after the effective date (June 5, 2020) to have a minimum maturity of 5 years, up to a maximum of 10 years. The PPPFA also does not “prohibit lenders and borrowers from mutually agreeing” to modify the two-year term of existing PPP loans to conform with this new section. The six month deferral period before payments are due has been replaced. The deferral period now begins on the loan date and ends on the date that the SBA remits the amount of forgiveness to the lender.
If a borrower does not apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, the deferral period ends on that same date.
  • What’s Next?
The SBA will need to update the Loan Forgiveness Application released on May 15, 2020 for the changes enacted by the PPPFA. Additional guidance may also be released in the form of Frequently Asked Questions and new interim final rules to help borrowers and lenders implement all of the modifications required.
Some companies have already applied for and received forgiveness of their PPP loan amounts. With more than one million borrowers finishing their initial 8 week covered periods this week, time is of the essence to evaluate these options. If you wish to use the 8 week covered period, please contact your lenders about the appropriate steps to take to apply.
It remains unclear whether you can apply for forgiveness and prepare your FTE and salary reduction tests as of the date that you have fully used your loan proceeds towards qualified expenses. If businesses must wait to apply for forgiveness and perform these tests at the end of the 24 weeks, they will be faced with the challenge of having to maintain headcount and salary levels for full loan forgiveness, while not having the benefit of additional loan proceeds.
If you have not previously applied for a PPP loan, or you previously returned or did not accept your loan amount, you are still eligible to apply up until the loan application deadline of June 30, 2020. Of course, you still must meet the requirements of the program including the certification.

SBA Lenders accepting PPP Applications: (updated 6/9/2020)

NOTE: All changes above are retroactively applicable as if they were included in the original CARES Act, except for the change in loan term, which is prospective. As usual, please make sure to stay in contact with your accounting firm.
The New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. The NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income. The NYFLF is specifically timed to support businesses and organizations as they proceed to reopen and have upfront expenses to comply with guidelines (e.g., inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines) under the New York Forward Plan.
Pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund are now open. Priority will be given to industries and regions that have been reopened. This is not a first-come, first-served loan program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as regions and industries reopen.
Small businesses and nonprofits must employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees; Small businesses must have gross revenues of less than $3 million per year; Nonprofits must provide direct services and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million per year; and Have not received a loan from either SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020.
For more information and to apply for the new loan, click here.

The comprehensive package and additional funding brings to bear the full resources of the federal government to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. As of  April 23, a total of $659 Billion has been placed into the Paycheck Protection Program and $20 Billion has been dedicated to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fund.

Comparison Chart Thumbnail
Updated April 10, 2020

Click Here for SBA PPP Application (updated 4/4/2020) 

SBA Lenders  serving Schuyler County: (updated 5/29/2020)

Chemung Canal Trust

Community Bank, N.A. (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

Elmira Savings Bank

Intuit/ Quickbooks

PayPal

Tompkins Trust (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

Visions FCU (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

Click here to access the PPP Loan Usage Tracker

Click here to access the PPP Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to access the SBA PPP Guidance Information Sheet

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization including 501c3, 501c19, Religious Organizations,Tribal Businesses,, and Veteran Organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

Click here to view the SBA PPP application

Additional resources and updates:

Phase 3 guidance for indoor dining and personal care can be found on the New York Forward Webpage or by clicking here.

Guidance for child care and day camps is also available and can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding completing the safety plan or affirmation, please contact us at 607-535-4341.

As we are preparing to move forward, it is extremely important that the health and safety of our employees, customers, and guest be at the forefront of our attention. It is also a requirement of the State of New York that ALL open or soon to be opened businesses (essential, phase 1, and phase 2) must have a Business Safety Plan on premises and must affirm that they are following safety protocols at the following site: https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries.

Guidance for Phase 2 industries has been posted at https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries, including:

If you need assistance with completing your safety plan, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you in developing and implementing a safety plan.

NYSEG and National Grid have partnered with the Alliance for Manufacturing
and Technology (AM&T) and other NYS Regional Technology Development
Centers to offer grants designed to help Southern Tier manufacturers. The
Manufacturing Accelerator Program (MAP) provide reimbursement funds as
detailed below.

Click here for More Information

On May 15 as part of Phase 1, non-essential businesses and business activities in Schuyler County began to re-open. Essential businesses and business activities that were already open, will be able to remain open. The guidelines accessible via the New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to re-open, and essential businesses that were previously permitted to remain open.

This tool will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply. Click Here to access the tool.

For assistance with the tool or developing a safety plan for your business, contact Amanda at 607-535-6862.

The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries allowed to begin reopening in phase one. As of Friday, May 15, Construction, Manufacturing, Curb-side Retail, Agriculture, & Wholesale industries in Schuyler County will be allowed to start reopening. Below is a list of industries allowed to open during phase one, along with their guidelines and business safety templates. If you need assistance developing your business safety plan, please contact Judy at 607-535-6861 or Amanda at 607-535-6862.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

The State has published a dashboard to track the public health data regions must meet to reopen here.

Shared work programs are unemployment programs that allow businesses to reduce employee wages and hours as an alternative to layoffs. Under a shared work program, employees can receive partial unemployment benefits to offset a portion of their reduced wages.

Employers benefit by retaining skilled employees, eliminating the need to hire and train new employees, and possibly saving recruiting fees when the period of disruption ends.  Employees benefit by receiving partial compensation for lost wages while continuing employment and maintaining health insurance and other benefits.

General Requirements of the Shared Work Program:

  1. Employers must file a Shared Work Plan (the “Plan”) with the Department of Labor identifying the employees included in the Plan.
  2. Employers are required to estimate the number of layoffs that would occur in the absence of the Plan and to certify that the reduced hours for employees included in the Plan are equal to the hours that would be lost due to layoffs.  Reductions in hours and wages must be between 20% and 60% and the Plan cannot exceed 53 weeks.  Once approved, a Plan can be modified due to changing business conditions but must not exceed 53 weeks. Employees may receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks during the 53 week period.  These 26 weeks do not have to be consecutive.
  3. A shared work plan covers all employees, or a particular group of employees, which can be a business unit, a shift or a department.
  4. The reduction in hours must be equal for all employees in the specific group.  An employer can develop different plans for different groups within the business.  Employee benefits must be maintained during the effective period of the Plan, unless those benefits are eliminated or reduced for the entire workforce.  No new employees can be hired for any specific group covered by the Plan, unless they are replacing employees covered by the Plan who voluntarily resigned.

Here are the links to NYS Department of Labor:

https://labor.ny.gov/ui/dande/sharedwork1.shtm

https://labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/sharedworkclmtfaq.shtm

https://labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm

Some tips:

  • The application should be completed on-line. If submitted in hard copy the system will take 2-3 weeks to process (submit online and complete your weekly submittal  (employee & employer) on line to expedite the process.
  • The pay and hour reduction percentage must match The corporate officers can be included COVID Special: there is no payment into the business UI account until August (it is essentially cost-free for the business).

There have also been changes to Unemployment Claims process, including waiving the 7 day wait period to apply. If you are a business owner that has needed to lay off your workforce, please click here to go to the Department of Labor.

Click here for The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

Click here for RELIEF FOR WORKERS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS ACT Guide 

Click here for RELIEF FOR WORKERS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS ACT flowchart

Click here for RELIEF FOR WORKERS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS ACT Chart

Monday, May 11th;  Governor Coumo announced that the Southern Tier has met all of the requirements to begin Phased Reopening on Friday, May 15. Click here for the complete plan.

Phased Reopening for Industries:

  • Phase One
    • Construction
    • Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain
    • Select retail using curbside pickup only
  • Phase Two
    • Professional services
    • Finance and insurance
    • Retail
    • Administrative support
    • Real estate and rental leasing
  • Phase Three
    • Restaurants and food service
    • Hotels and accommodations
  • Phase Four
    • Arts, entertainment and recreation
    • Education

April 28, 2019: Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis.  

  1. CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening.
  2. Industries: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
  3. Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
  4. Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
  5. Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
  6. Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
  7. Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  8. Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
  9. Re-imagining Tele-Medicine
  10. Re-imagining Tele-Education
  11. Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.
  12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

May 4, 2020: Application is open for farms, dairies and other agricultural producers.

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee for businesses with ten or fewer employees) as part of the EIDL. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available quickly after submission of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Additional Forms that may be required (Do not complete unless directed by the SBA).

 

Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions:

https://instituteforfoodsafety.cornell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/

Employment &  Workforce Questions:

http://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/

Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources:

https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/resources/farm-resilience/

Financial & Mental Health Resources for Farmers:

https://www.nyfarmnet.org/

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