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:

No. 205.2

E X E C U T I V E  O R D E R

QUARANTINE RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVELERS ARRIVING IN NEW YORK

WHEREAS, the State of New York has successfully slowed the transmission of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the State of New York has gone from having the highest infection rate to one of the lowest in the country and is one of only a few states reported to be on track to contain COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the Governor has undertaken a cautious, incremental and evidence-based approach to reopening the State of New York; 

WHEREAS, other states that may have taken a less cautious approach are experiencing an increased prevalence of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, New York must work in conjunction with its contiguous states, in light of the significant risk posed to the health and welfare of all residents by the further spread of COVID-19 to the tristate area, to protect the progress made;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State of New York, in particular Article IV, section one, I do hereby order and direct as follows:

The commissioner of the Department of Health to modify the travel Advisory issued pursuant to Executive Order 205 to be communicated widely at all major points of entry into New York, including on highway message boards and in all New York airports, that advisory shall state that:

All travelers entering New York from a state which is not a contiguous state shall quarantine for a period of 14 days consistent with Department of Health regulations for quarantine unless:

For travelers who travel outside of New York for less than 24 hours, the traveler need not test prior to departure from the state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival.

However, such travelers must continue to fill out the traveler form upon entry; and further shall take a diagnostic test on the fourth day after arrival in New York.

For any traveler who has traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours, such traveler must seek testing prior to departure from that state, within 72 hours of departure, prior to arrival in New York.

The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine according to Department of Health guidelines for a minimum of three days, measured from time of arrival and on day 4 may seek a diagnostic test to exit quarantine. The traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test result.

The Commissioner may issue additional protocols for essential workers, or for other extraordinary circumstances, when a quarantine is not possible, provided such measures continue to safeguard the public health.

This modified Advisory shall be effective at 12:01 a.m. on November 4, 2020, until rescinded by the Commissioner.

Any violation of a quarantine or isolation order issued to an individual pursuant to the Commissioner of the Department of Health’s travel advisory by a local department of health or state department of health may be enforced pursuant to article 21 of the public health law, and non-compliance may additionally be deemed a violation pursuant to section 12 of the public health law subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000. 

G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this thirty-first day of October in the year two thousand twenty.

BY THE GOVERNOR         

Secretary to the Governor

For more information, visit:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2052-quarantine-restrictions-travelers-arriving-new-york

https://www.governor.ny.gov/executive-orders.

RICHARD A. BALL
Commissioner

AGRITOURISM
FACTS & FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Last Updated: September 1, 2020
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q1. Will I be able to open my business for U-Pick operations?
a. So long as it is done in accordance with Department of Health Interim Guidance for Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment, and any other applicable guidance, businesses may allow patrons to pick their own apples, pumpkins, other produce, or Christmas Trees. However, if operating a U-Pick apple operation, individuals should not be allowed to consume and dispose of apples in the orchard.

Q2. May I offer live concerts on the grounds?
a. Currently, live concerts are not permitted on-site.

Q3. May I offer a petting zoo?
a. Petting zoos are not permitted. However, animal exhibits may be hosted so long as no human to animal contact occurs.

Q4. Do I need to close my playground?
a. The permissibility of playgrounds is dependent on the individual locality. Please reach out to your regional control room for further guidance on this issue (https://forward.ny.gov/members-regional-control-rooms).

Q5. May I offer food on site?
a. Food may be offered if done in accordance with the Department of Health Interim Guidance for Outdoor Food Services or Food Services.

Q6. Are patrons required to wear a face covering?
a. Yes. Anyone who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering must cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance in accordance with 10 NYCRR 66-3, Executive Orders 202.17 and 202.18, and any successor thereof. Farm operators, vendors, and those authorized on their behalf shall deny admittance to any person who fails to comply and shall require or compel such persons’ removal. Provided, however, that this shall be applied in a manner consistent with the federal American with Disabilities Act, New York State or New York City Human Rights Law, and any other applicable provision of law. See 10 NYCRR 66-3.
10B Airline Dr. Albany, N.Y., 12235│ (800) 554-4501│www.agriculture.ny.gov

b. Also, please note, for all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This is to be done in accordance with 10 NYCRR 66-3 and Executive Order 202.16.

Q7. How many people are permitted on site?
a. This is dependent on the respective portion of the operation, e.g. retail, food services, or agritourism.

b. Specific to agritourism, the Department of Health Interim Guidance for Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment states:

i. “Responsible Parties must ensure that the workforce and patron/visitor presence is limited to no more than 33% of the maximum occupancy or capacity for a particular area at any given time, inclusive of patrons/visitors, who must only be permitted entry into the institution if they wear an acceptable face covering, provided that the patron/visitor is over the age of two and able to medically tolerate such covering; and
ii. Responsible Parties should ensure limited indoor capacity to accommodate patrons/visitors who may need to enter or exit through indoor space to access the outdoor arts or entertainment space, restroom(s), payment location, or in the event of an emergency, and allow such ingress and egress in a socially distanced manner.”

Q8. May I offer wagon or hayrides, including haunted hayrides?
a. Wagon or hayrides, including haunted hayrides, may be offered so long as six feet of distance is maintained between individuals or parties, and so long as rides are offered consistent with Department of Health Interim Guidance for Public Transportation (e.g., mandatory face coverings). Additionally, frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, must be cleaned and sanitized between loads. Riders should be placed 6 feet apart, if not from the same household, and face coverings must be worn for the duration of the ride, so long as the individual is over 2 years old and able to medically tolerate such face covering. Hand washing or sanitizing stations should be placed in the respective drop-off areas for patron and employee use. Directionals should be given to those departing the vehicle to limit contact to those waiting to board.

Q9. May I offer a corn maze?
a. Yes, so long as the activity is performed consistent with Department of Health Interim Guidance for Low-Risk Outdoor Arts and Entertainment (e.g., occupancy in the corn maze is closely monitored to prevent overcrowding, no more than 33% occupancy, and all participants are wearing a face covering).

Q10. May I offer a haunted house?
a. Yes, so long as the attraction operates consistent with the Department of Health Interim Guidance for Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment (e.g., 25% capacity, social distancing between parties or individuals, and mandatory face coverings). If the attraction is in the City of New York, it must operate consistent with the Department of Health Interim Guidance for Low-Risk Indoor Arts and Entertainment in New York City.

Q11. May I offer a drive-thru haunted attraction (e.g. haunted house, haunted corn maze)?
a. Yes, provided the attraction follows the following public health procedures and protocols:
10B Airline Dr. Albany, N.Y., 12235│ (800) 554-4501│www.agriculture.ny.gov

i. Individuals must remain in their vehicle at all times, except when using the restroom. Restrooms must accommodate space for social distancing in line.
ii. Single-direction flow should be clearly marked for cars entering/exiting any celebration area.
iii. Food services are not permitted.

NY FORWARD GUIDANCE
• Agritourism
o Includes: U-Pick Apples and Pumpkins, Tree Farms, Corn Mazes, Hayrides & Wagon Rides
o Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template
• Entertainment
o Includes: live performances offered on site
o Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template
• Food Services
o Includes: any food vendors, restaurants, breweries or cider mills
o Food Services
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template
• Local Agriculture Exhibitions
o Includes: animal exhibits
o Non-Food Related Agriculture
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template
• Store Area
o Includes: any retail space and farm stands
o Essential and Phase II In-Store Retail
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template
• Office Space
o Offices
 Summary Guidelines
 Detailed Guidelines
 Business Safety Plan Template

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS GUIDANCE
10B Airline Dr. Albany, N.Y., 12235│ (800) 554-4501│www.agriculture.ny.gov
• Interim Guidance for Retail Grocery Stores During the COVID-19 Public

Health Emergency
• Interim Guidance for Local Agricultural Demonstrations and Exhibitions
• Interim Guidance for the Operation of Farmers’ Markets
• Interim Guidance for Horticulture
• Guidance for Cleaning Food Retail Stores and Food Manufacturing

Facilities
• Prevention Tips for Farmworkers
• Interim Guidance for Prevention and Response of COVID-19 at Farms
• Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Operator Checklist for Farms
ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE
• NYS Department of Health:
o Transportation
 Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public Transportation

Settings for COVID-19
• Playgrounds:
o This will be up to the locality as to the permissibility of playgrounds
Please Note . . .
• Owners/operators should consult the appropriate guidance documents set forth by NYS Department of Health, https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus, and any other state or local governments with relation to the event or workspace.
• Owners/operators must also thoroughly review the guidance documents on the NY Forward web page, https://forward.ny.gov/ny-forward, to determine if any other business sector or industry function is represented. If an industry is relates to their event or workspace that does not otherwise fall into any of the guidance offered in Phase I, II, III, or IV, the owner/operator should complete the blank template at https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYS_BusinessReopeningSafetyPlanTemplate.pdf. It is likely that multiple industries are represented in one business venture.
• Guidance is subject to frequent revision as NY continues its measured and phased re-opening through NY Forward. Owners/operators should regularly check the guidance documents set forth by NYS Department of Health, https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus, on the NY Forward web page, https://forward.ny.gov/ny-forward, and any other applicable state or local governments pages for the most up-to-date information.
10B Airline Dr. Albany, N.Y., 12235│ (800) 554-4501│www.agriculture.ny.gov
• Where guidance referenced in this document differs from other guidance documents issued by New York State, the more recent guidance shall apply.
• Owners with questions or concerns on the NY Forward guidance should be directed to the Control Room in the region where the owner or operator is located. For contact information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit https://esd.ny.gov/nyforward-faq.

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.

###

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


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 

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.

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