• COVID-19: Business Triage

  • COVID19 Business Triage Rome, Ga
  • Latest News Covid 19 rome ga floyd county
  • SBA releases instructions to

    By Sari Lesk  – Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal

    May 15, 2020, 8:49pm EDT

    The U.S. Small Business Administration has released the much-anticipated application and instructions for how Paycheck Protection Program borrowers can see their loans forgiven.

    The program was developed through the more than $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and began with a $349 billion pot. After borrowers depleted those funds in about two weeks, federal authorities replenished the program with $310 billion.

    While business owners sought the funds for an infusion of cash that could potentially convert to a grant, questions lingered as to how exactly lenders and the SBA would determine whether borrowers met the terms for forgiveness. The agency rolled the program out quickly and has been updating guidance since the PPP came online.

    The document released Friday was created to inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, the SBA said. The agency released the form in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

    Click here to see the document on the SBA's website.

    The SBA said it would soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications. Lenders could also look for guidance on their own responsibilities, the SBA said.

    From the start, the agency has said 75% of PPP funds had to be directed toward payroll expenses, while the remainder could be spent on overhead costs like mortgage interest, rent and utility costs.

    The application includes a worksheet that details how to calculate the amount of the loan that can be forgiven and provides a summary of costs eligible for forgiveness. The SBA also provided a list of documents borrowers have to submit with their forgiveness applications.

    Through the first round of the PPP, the SBA said lenders disbursed about $342.28 billion across 1.66 million loans. As of Friday evening, the SBA reports lenders approved $194.76 billion across 2.75 million applications.

    calculate PPP loan forgiveness 

  • Notice: New Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance: SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. To learn more about eligibility and apply, click here.

    EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

    To learn more about the relief options available for your business, click here.

    Notice: New Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance

    In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories were able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.

    The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
    • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.
  • PPE/Cleaning Servives Available at: 

    Click each business for more information.

    Paperpack 

    Sheffield Office Products

    Pro Systems Clean Care

    Armuchee Pharmacy

    Merry Maids

    ServiceMaster by Twins

    Mathis True Value 

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  • Here’s why we could see a surge of minority-owned businesses get PPP 

    By Crystal Edmonson  – Broadcast Editor

    3 hours ago

    The U.S. Small Business Administration is soliciting help to get more minority-owned businesses to apply for the $100 billion remaining in its Paycheck Protection Program.

    “Everybody who can afford to pay someone to sign them up for this program has taken advantage of it," said Ashley D. Bell, the SBA regional administrator who oversees the southern U.S. “Now, we’re dealing with microbusinesses in under-served communities, people who need help getting through the program.”

    Bell, along with Atlanta rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris, hosted "100,000 Strong," a conference call on May 20 for minority entrepreneurs affected by Covid-19.

    “I agreed to be here for one reason and one reason only,” said Harris, who is also a small business owner, “and that’s to help those most in need of assistance during this pandemic. Help them understand where to go, how to get there and who they need to talk to.”

    “We had a movement in the streets called civil rights about erasing the color line,” said John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE. “We now need a movement in the suites called silver rights and that’s about class and poverty.”

    Similar to the way African Americans and allies came together in the 1950s and 1960s to create social change, Bryant said those in a position to connect minority-owned business owners with capital and counsel could also bring about significant financial change.

    Operation HOPE’s Inside Disaster program provides free virtual financial coaching to those affected by the coronavirus. The Atlanta-based nonprofit works with banks in 22 states to expand access to capital.

    “During the last three weeks, 100 percent of those PPP applications that we marshaled through for black businesses and nonprofits were approved,” Bryant said.

    That is a stark contrast from the early days of federal coronavirus relief. Most (96%) of metro Atlanta’s minority-owned businesses are sole-proprietors. Initially, they did not qualify for the PPP. The SBA changed the rule shortly before the first $350 billion round of the coronavirus aid ran out. Now the organization is trying to ensure that even the smallest enterprises know they could qualify for the forgivable loans, even if they were previously denied. As part of the SBA’s $310 billion second phase of the PPP, $60 billion is reserved for small community banks and credit unions that might be more accessible to rural businesses and minority-owned companies.

    “The first rule in economic development is get the check,” said John Lewis, executive vice president of the Harbor Bank of Maryland. He said if small business owners qualify, they should apply for the PPP. Lewis worked with rapper and music producer Sean “Diddy” Combs to create the Our Fair Share funding platform, which aims to increase access to capital for minority-owned businesses affected by Covid-19.

    Once entrepreneurs have their books in order and are prepared to apply for the PPP, Lewis said they can go to ourfairshare.com “and your application will be processed.”

    Federal, state and local government officials from across the South, including Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens, also highlighted public/private funding options during the call. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order creating a $7 million emergency fund to assist small businesses, hourly workers and other residents affected by the global pandemic. Separately, Atlanta’s Strength in Beauty fund provides $1,000 grants to cosmetology professionals whose business was hurt by Covid-19.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are 6,000 black-owned businesses in the metro area. The smallest companies have less than two weeks of operating capital to stay afloat during a crisis, according to Bell.

    "There are African American and minority entrepreneurs in our communities who are risking it all to give us the goods and services that we otherwise would not get,” he said. “We could lose an entire generation of entrepreneurs if we do not get this right.”

  • COVID LOCAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES
  • Rome, GA Floyd County
  • The Community Foundation for Greater Rome is announcing the COVID-19 Recovery Fund, an initiative to help local nonprofits and small businesses address the long-term needs of our community members impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

  • covid grants rome ga
  • Small Business Assistance- Emergency Grant Program (applications coming soon)

    The City of Rome, through the Community Development Department, will provide operating assistance to business owners for the purpose of assisting small businesses that are in jeopardy as a result of the COVID-19 public safety measures. Retail, commercial, service and entertainment businesses that rely on customers making purchases at their establishments are especially affected by the recent Covid-19 pandemic. This program is designed to provide relief to those types of businesses that have been negatively affected by the Covid-19 self-isolating period.  Linked below is general information about the program. Applications are not being accepted at this time as we are working through the process of having the funds approved and released by HUD. Once we have received this approval- the actual application and process to apply will be listed and sent out to the public through various sources.

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  • Encuentre más información sobre préstamos para la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas en los enlaces a continuación en varios idiomas.

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  • state of Georgia resources
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  • May 14, 2020

    Update on Federal Stimulus Bill

    The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is updating its current systems to distribute federal unemployment funds as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) bringing economic relief to many Georgians.

    The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, or FPUC, provides an additional $600 weekly payment to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs - State and Federal. The GDOL is distributing this additional payment to those currently receiving state or federal unemployment benefits. This supplement is an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits and includes all eligible weeks beginning with the week ending 4/4/2020. Your payment may not be $600 weekly if you have elected to have state and federal taxes deducted. Federal taxes are deducted at 10% and state taxes at 6%. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Other deductions may include court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI overpayment (one-half of your $600 FPUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment).
     
    Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA, is the program that will provide unemployment benefits to individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 independent contractors, employees of churches, employees of non-profits, or those with limited work history who do not qualify for state unemployment benefits. These individuals must be determined not to be eligible to receive state benefits before being evaluated for federal PUA benefits.

    Individuals determined ineligible to be paid traditional state benefits will receive an email with instructions for filing a PUA application or will find a link to the application in their My UI portal. Once the PUA application is submitted, it will be reviewed for eligibility and a written determination will be released with appeal rights. Applicants need to request payment for all eligible weeks since the closing of their business due to COVID-19. See detailed instructions on PUA.

    Individuals who have already filed a claim with the GDOL and determined not eligible for state unemployment benefits and may be potentially eligible to receive benefits under this program, do NOT have to refile a regular state claim. 

    The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, or PEUC, allows for up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits added to the end of regular unemployment benefits. This means claimants may collect unemployment benefits for a longer period of time than under normal circumstances. The GDOL is working quickly to develop and implement the new PEUC system. Individuals eligible for PEUC will receive an email with a link to the PUA application to potentially receive payments through this program until the PEUC system is available.

    Read about the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) ACT

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  • The Small Business Reorganization Act: History and Purpose

    The Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) was signed into law on August 23, 2019 and became effective on February 19, 2020. The purpose of the legislation is to streamline existing bankruptcy procedures and provide new tools to increase a small business’s ability to achieve a successful restructuring. Though February 19th is the effective date, some courts have held that Chapter 11 cases filed prior to that date may be eligible. 

    Chapter 11 was designed for administering complex business reorganizations involving multimillion-dollar companies. Despite containing several provisions specifically focused on small business debtors, there has been a significant amount research showing that Chapter 11 may still create difficulties for small businesses, including high costs, monitoring deficits, and procedural roadblocks. The SBRA adds a new subchapter V to Chapter 11 to address these issues, leading to more successful restructurings, reducing liquidations, and increasing recoveries to creditors. 

    The SBRA applies to:

    A person engaged in commercial or business activities;  that has aggregate noncontingent liquidated secured and unsecured debts as of the date of the filing of the petition or the date of the order for relief in an amount not more than $2,725,625 ( see below for temporary expanded eligibility);  not less than 50% of which arose from the commercial or business activities of the debtor. However, the SBRA does not apply to single-asset real estate debtors or public traded companies.

    The CARES At of 2020 has temporarily increased the debt limit to $7,500,000 for small businesses using subchapter V of Chapter 11. This expanded eligibility is subject to a sunset clause, therefore a business with noncontingent, liquidated debts between $2,725,625 and $7.5 million will only be eligible for SBRA relief until March 27, 2021. Further, a small business already in a pending chapter 11 case as of March 27, 2020 cannot convert to a Subchapter 5 to take advantage of the increased debt limit.

    President Trump Sign Executive Order to Delay Certain Tariff Payments

    On April 19, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order allowing U.S. manufacturers, retailers, and other importers to defer certain tariff payments for 90 days. In general, the EO allows importers to defer the payment of “most-favored nation” tariffs (but not so-called Section 301, Section 232, or Section 201 tariffs or AD/CVDs), and importers must pass a “hardship test” to qualify.

    According to a Temporary Final Rule issued to implement the Executive Order, the Treasury Department and Customs and Border Protection are moving, “to temporarily postpone the deadline for importers of record with a significant financial hardship to deposit certain estimated duties, taxes, and fees that they would ordinarily be obligated to pay as of the date of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, for merchandise entered in March or April 2020, for a period of 90 days from the date that the deposit would otherwise have been due but for this emergency action.”

    Details and Applicability

    The deferment applies to levies for so-called most-favored nation duties. Most favored Nation tariffs are what countries promise to impose on imports from other members of the World Trade Organization, unless the country is part of a preferential trade agreement. 

    Customs and Border Protection will not return deposits of estimated duties, taxes, and fees that have already been paid. 

    This temporary postponement does not apply to any entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, where the entry summary includes merchandise subject to one or more of the following: • Antidumping duties, • Countervailing duties, • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, and • Duties assessed pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

    No interest will accrue for the postponed payment of such estimated duties, taxes, and fees during this 90-day postponement period. No penalty, 

     

     

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  • To start the process of applying for a Disaster Loan, see the link below. 

  • Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter:

    • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business's financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it. See SBA’s capital access resources.
    • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
    • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
    • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
    • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
    • Changing Market Demand – Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
    • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
    • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises

     

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    • Google is donating more than $800 million to support small businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers impacted by Covid-19. The amount includes $340 million in Google Ads credits for small and midsize businesses with active accounts in the past year.

    • Telecom giant Verizon is donating $2.5 million to nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation for its Small Business Covid-19 Recovery Fund, which will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to struggling businesses.

    • Amazon launched a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to small businesses in and around the Seattle area that are impacted by Covid-19.
    •  
    • Facebook also created a Small Business Grants Program that will provide $100 million in cash and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates.
    •  
    • To help local restaurants and bars, Yelp announced $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees, free advertising, and products and services.
    • GoFundMe, the social-fundraising platform, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp to provide small-business owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe and
    •  
    • Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, and it is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
    •  
    • The James Beard Foundation, the national nonprofit culinary arts organization, has launched the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. The organization will draw support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to offer micro-grants to restaurants, bars, and other independent businesses in the industry.

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  • Click each image to read the full press release from the company. 

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    • Need to act by Wednesday, April 22, in order to receive additional payments for eligible children quickly.  By doing so, they may receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. 
    • Social Security Retirement, Survivors, and Disability insurance beneficiaries (paid on the 3rd or Wednesdays of the month) with dependent children who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes should immediately go to the IRS’ Non-Filers webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here and scroll down to “Enter Your Information.”  Must provide the Social Security number of each dependent child you want to claim for the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs).
    • Complete this process by Wednesday, April 22 to avoid having to wait to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients (paid on the 1st of the month) need to take action by a date later this month; a specific date will be available soon.  Treasury strongly encourages SSI recipients with dependent children to visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here now.
    • Individuals who receive benefits through Direct Express debit cards should complete all of the mandatory questions but can leave the bank account information section blank as Treasury already has Direct Express information on file.
    • NOTE: Any new beneficiaries since January 1, 2020, of either Social Security or SSI benefits, who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, will also need to go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to receive automatic Economic Impact Payments from the US Treasury Department.
    • Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with no qualifying children under age 17 will receive their Economic Impact Payments soon and do not need to take any action. 

    Visit www.ssa.gov/coronavirus to stay up to date on Social Security’s response to COVID-19.  Local Social Security offices are providing service to the public over the phone, online and by mail.  To locate your servicing Social Security office’s local phone number, visit the Field Office Locator and look in the “Additional Office Information” section.   

     

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  • Emergency Medical Leave and Expanded FMLA under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

     

    As to the Emergency Paid Leave portion: The April 1 DOL regs updated April 10 and the recent FAQ updates make it clear that the leave applies only to situation where there is work for the employee to do, that is, the employer may still proceed with layoffs if there is no work. In addition:

    1. Trigger 1: Employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order related to Covid 19 NOTE: This is a moving target and may change during the course of the leave! As a result, if there is a change to an order and the employee was under an order at the time leave is requested but the order is modified, the leave may be revoked and employee is no longer entitled to leave. Please note that the employee may have more than one jurisdiction applicable if the live and work in more than one jurisdiction. Look at the order. Some refer to industry or employer as “essential” in which case the employee is not entitled to leave under this trigger if the employer is essential. Other orders also contain specific populations which would still be required to stay home. Georgia did have this type order however that was replaced by the governor’s latest order which substantially changed in its application.

    Documentation you can require: Identify governmental entity which issued order which employee believes applies.

    1. Trigger 2: Employee is “advised” by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to Covid 19.

    826.20(a)(3) added information as to what you can require. The advice from the healthcare provider must be based on (1) the employee is positive for Covid 19, (2) the employee is presumed positive for Covid 19 or(3) the employee is “particularly vulnerable” to Covid 19 and this must be a particularized concern based upon the employees personal health condition not just a generalized concern. The employee must be unable to work or telework. Family member in these circumstances doesn’t count here…only employee.

    Documentation: Identify the healthcare provider and provide written statement that employee falls within one of the covered areas. Cannot request additional medical records.

    1. Trigger 3: Employee is experiencing Covid 19 symptoms AND seeking medical diagnosis. The April 1 guidance is clear that the leave only covers the time that the employee is experiencing symptoms AND seeking medical diagnosis. If the test comes back negative for Covid 19 then the leave ends. 826.20(a)(4) You can ask the employee to update their status but the only documentation you can ask for is certification that they are still awaiting diagnosis.

     

    IMPORTANT: Unlike considerations for an employer under normal ADA  Covid 19 has been determined to create a major health threat to the employer. As a result, employers CAN screen employees temperatures and monitor symptoms and CAN require them to leave the office and stay away as long as they are exhibiting symptoms and for at least 72 hours after the last symptom under CDC guidelines or until they have received two negative Covid 19 test results within 24 hours of each other. Normally the ADA would not allow this but new guidance is clear that employers can take these measures. IF the employee then seeks a diagnosis then the employee may qualify for EML under this trigger. https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm

     

     

    1. Trigger 4: Employee is caring for “an individual” subject to a federal, state or local quarantine order or advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to Covid 19. April regs at 826.20(a)(5) provide that the individual may be either an immediate family member, a person regularly living in the employee’s household, or “a similar person where there is an expectation the employee would provide care” for that person. The individual cannot be someone with whom the employee does not have a personal relationship. Very vague but clear it goes beyond the immediate family member determination. Documentation here can only be to have the employee certify to employer the identity of the person for whom they are caring and why they believe they fall within the categories of “individuals” for whom this category is designed AND the identity of the governmental entity which they believe has issued an applicable quarantine order or the identity of the healthcare provider  who has advised the individual to self-quarantine and a statement from that provider that the individual named by the employee has been advised to self-quarantine due to a particularized concern over their health conditions. No further health related information or medical record can be required.
    2. Trigger 5: Employee is caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or child’s care provider is unavailable due to Covid 19. This is limited to the employee’s children 18 and under. The Covid 19 emergency must be the reason that the school or child care is unavailable (normal school breaks are not a qualified reason. Documentation:  Reg 826.20)a)(6) makes it clear now that the employee must identify the child including  age, certify that no other suitable person is available to care for the child, identify the school or child care provider which is closed or unavailable, state that the closure or unavailability is due to Covid 19 AND for children older than 15-18 state that special circumstances exist which require child care by the employee.
    3. Trigger 6: a “substantially similar condition as identified by the DOL or IRS in further guidance. There still is no further guidance!

     

     

    For the extended FMLA, like the EML, the employer may require the employee to certify that there is no other suitable person to provide child care.

     

    For purposes of determining the “regular rate of pay” there is a 6 month look back period to determine that rate and no difference between exempt and non-exempt employees. If an exempt employee is qualifying under triggers 4 or 5 which require only pay at 2/3 of the regular rate of pay (plus employer continues to pay for insurance) they can be paid at 2/3 of that regular rate of pay instead of 100% without violating FLSA

  • HR6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

    Summary

    The bill proposes many changes to increase public health measures as well as provisions that require most U.S. private employers to provide paid leave to employees under certain circumstances. While employers are responsible for funding the paid leave should it become law, employers would be able to take tax credits for the paid leave provided to employees under the FFCRA.

    Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

    Coverage and uses

    The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PSLA) provisions of the FFCRA apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and public employers with at least one employee. Employers covered by the law would be required to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave, paid at the employee’s “regular rate,” for any of the following reasons:

    1. Self-isolation due to coronavirus diagnosis
    2. Medical diagnosis or care if the employee is experiencing coronavirus symptoms
    3. Compliance with a recommendation or order by a public official with jurisdiction or health care provider on the basis that the physical presence of the employee on the job would jeopardize the health of others due to either:
    4. Employee’s exposure to coronavirus
    5. Employee’s exhibition of coronavirus symptoms
    6. Caring for or assisting a family member who is either:
    7. Self-isolating due to coronavirus diagnosis
    8. Experiencing coronavirus symptoms and needs medical diagnosis or care
    9. Caring for his or her child because the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to coronavirus

    Additionally, if passed, the pay entitlement of an employee taking paid sick leave to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed, would be reduced to two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. Most employees would be eligible for leave regardless of their tenure with the organization or full- or part-time status. The bill, as it stands, would ensure employees who work under a multi-employer collective agreement and whose employers pay into a multi-employer plan are similarly provided with leave.

    Existing paid leave policies

    Employers may not require employees to exhaust their current sick leave before using leave under the current bill. Furthermore, if the PSLA is enacted as written, employers cannot change their existing paid leave policies, like vacation or paid time off (PTO). The paid leave provided under the PSLA would be provided in addition to the paid leave provided by employers as of the day before enactment of the bill.

    Effective date, carryover and expiration

    The PSLA will take effect no later than 15 days after the date of the bill’s enactment and paid sick leave would not carry over from year-to-year. PSLA entitlements would expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

    Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

    Coverage and uses

    The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) provisions of the bill would apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. There is a provision that may allow the Secretary of Labor to exempt some businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the requirements.

    Under the EFMLA, employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days will be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for any of the following reasons:

    1. To adhere to a requirement or recommendation by a health care provider or a public health official having jurisdiction to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus
    2. To care for an at-risk family member who is adhering to a requirement or recommendation by a health care provider or a public health official to quarantine due to exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus
    3. To care for a child of the employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to coronavirus
    4. Under the bill, the first two weeks of such FMLA may be unpaid. An employee may choose to substitute accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or other medical or sick leave during this period, but an employer may not require an employee to do so. After the two weeks of unpaid leave, employers must provide up to 10 weeks of paid FMLA leave at a rate of no less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay.

    Under the EFMLA, the Secretary of Labor may exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from the employees who are eligible for leave. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor may exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the EFMLA requirements will jeopardize the business.

    Employee protections

    As with traditional FMLA leave, this leave is job-protected, meaning an employer must offer the employee the same or equivalent position upon their return to work. The bill contemplates an exception to this requirement for employers with fewer than 25 employees if the employee’s position does not exist after FMLA leave due to an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency during the period of leave. Certain conditions, including reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position, and required efforts to contact a displaced employee for up to a year after they are displaced, are required.

    Effective date and expiration

    The EFMLA will take effect no later than 15 days after the date of the bill’s enactment, and will remain in place for the one-year period following enactment.

    Tax credits for paid leave

    The bill provides tax credits for the employer’s portion of payroll taxes for wages paid to employees taking either paid sick leave or FMLA pursuant to the FFCRA. The sick leave credit for each employee would be for wages as much as $511 per day while the employee is receiving paid sick leave to care for themselves, or $200 per day if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child if the child’s school is closed. The amount of tax credit for qualified family leave wages for each employee is $200 per day or $10,000 in aggregate.

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  • CDC-ROME-GA-COVID19
  • Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • See a full list of information from the CDC here. 

  • Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19

    To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

    A potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

    Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:

    • Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
    • Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
    • Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
    • Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
    • Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.

    If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.

    Employers should implement the recommendations in the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19in the workplace. Additional information about identifying critical infrastructure during COVID-19 can be found on the DHS CISA websiteexternal icon or the CDC’s specific First Responder Guidance page.

    INTERIM GUIDANCE

    This interim guidance pertains to critical infrastructure workers, including personnel in 16 different sectors of work including:

    • Federal, state, & local law enforcement
    • 911 call center employees
    • Fusion Center employees
    • Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector
    • Janitorial staff and other custodial staff
    • Workers – including contracted vendors – in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy and government facilities
    ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
    • Employees should not share headsets or other objects that are near mouth or nose.
    • Employers should increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
    • Employees and employers should consider pilot testing the use of face masks to ensure they do not interfere with work assignments.
    • Employers should work with facility maintenance staff to increase air exchanges in room.
    • Employees should physically distance when they take breaks together. Stagger breaks and don’t congregate in the break room, and don’t share food or utensils.
     
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  • Purpose

    This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.

    The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

    To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19 infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page.

    Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak

    Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employerspdf iconexternal icon for more information about job risk classifications).

    Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with stateexternal icon and localexternal icon health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategiespdf icon according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.

    All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:

    1. reduce transmission among employees,
    2. maintain healthy business operations, and
    3. maintain a healthy work environment.

    Reduce Transmission Among Employees

    Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:

    • Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
    • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.

     

    Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:

    • See OSHA COVID-19external icon webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employerspdf iconexternal icon, including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
    • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

     

    Separate sick employees:

    • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The fellow employees should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).

     

    Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:

    • Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.
    • Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
    • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
    • Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
    • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

     

    Maintain Healthy Business Operations

    Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

    Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

    • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
    • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
    • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
    • Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
    • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’sexternal icon and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’sexternal icon websites).
    • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.

     

    Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

    • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
    • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

     

    Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.

    • Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
    • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
    • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.
    • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

     

    Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:

    • Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)
    • Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)
    • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
    • Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)
    • Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)
    • Downsizing operations
    • Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)
    • Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery

     

    Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.

    Maintain a healthy work environment

    Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:

    • Increase ventilation rates.
    • Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.

     

    Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors:

    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
    • Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
    • Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other noncontact methods of greeting.
    • Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

     

    Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:

    • Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
      • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
      • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available herepdf iconexternal icon. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2external icon, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

     

    Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:

     

    Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:

    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

     

    Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:

    • Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.
    • Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
    • Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
    • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • To report a violation of the Governor’s Executive Order, CLICK HERE. This will take you to a form to fill out.

  • The Rome Floyd Chamber seeks to provide access to recommendations, regulations, services and expertise to its members.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission remains constant.  Prior to acting, members should consult their own professional advisors for information and counsel specific to the individual and unique situations faced by organizations, individuals and corporations.  The opinions, interpretations and recommendations of the Rome Floyd Chamber are informational only and should not be relied upon by the recipient as legal or professional advice.  The Rome Floyd Chamber makes no representations as to the accuracy or reliability of the content contained herein.  Users of this information accept any and all risks associated with the use of such information and agree that the Rome Floyd Chamber has no liability to user.