Impact of COVID-19 on the Forest Products Industry – National Level

As FRA works to provide the latest information on the impact of COVID-19 on the forest products industry, we’ll be updating this information daily each weekday. We are working to keep this as accurate as possible in a dynamic and evolving situation, and value your help as we work to keep this tool updated. If you see information that is incomplete, outdated or incorrect please send that – as well as any relevant links – to jminor@forestresources.org.

 



CISA Guidelines - Foresty as an Essential Business

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, most states immediately designated the forest products industry as an essential service to match the Federal CISA Guidance. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued their Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance on March 19, 2020 and published three additional updates to reflect the changing landscape of the nation’s COVID-19 response.

Earlier versions of the document gave guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions, and the private sector on defining essential critical infrastructure workers. Guidance included promoting the ability of such workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, or closure orders/directives is crucial to community resilience and continuity of essential functions.

While earlier versions were primarily intended to help officials and organizations identify essential work functions in order to allow them access to their workplaces during times of community restrictions, the most recent version, Version 4.0, identifies those essential workers that require specialized risk management strategies to ensure that they can work safely. The CISA Guidance s available HERE.



Paycheck Protection Program

PPP—Changes in Loan Forgiveness Requirements
 
On Thursday, October 8, the Treasury Department announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). A new exemption provides small businesses an easier process for PPP loans of $50,000 or less to have their loans forgiven. Borrowers who fall into this category would not have to reduce their forgiven loan amount because of layoffs or wage cuts. The PPP has delivered $525 billion to more than 5.2 million businesses. Details on the loan forgiveness exemption are below.
 

The Paycheck Protection Program is a forgivable loan designed to help small businesses impacted by the current pandemic retain their employees. More information is available at this link.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans Frequently Asked Questions are available HEREThe FAQs provide guidance on a number of issues related to loan forgiveness, including payroll cost calculations and forgivable payroll and nonpayroll expenses. 

The interim final rule announcing the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program is available HERE

FRA has joined with 165 national and state associations signing on to a letter sent to Congressional leadership that urged them to provide additional funding for the PPP. This letter is available HERE.

Notice 2020-32 provides guidance regarding the deductibility for Federal income tax purposes of certain otherwise deductible expenses incurred in a taxpayer’s trade or business when the taxpayer receives a loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program under section 7(a)(36) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)(36)).

The National Association of Manufacturers has provided recommendations to improve the PPP. You can read their list of recommendations HERE



Small Business Administration

The stimulus package passed by the Senate on March 26 included an expansion of the SBA loans. Eligibility for SBA loans includes businesses that are less than 500 employees which include sole proprietors, contractors, and other self-employed individuals. Covered loans include payroll costs, costs related to certain group health benefits, and employee salaries.

The SBA is currently taking applications from businesses that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. FRA has gathered some resources to help navigate the SBA process.

  • The CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-10 crisis. A summary of these funding options is available HERE.
  • To find out if you qualify for the SBA Loans click HERE.
  • You can begin the process to file a loan application with the SBA HERE.
  • Process guide on how to apply for loans can be found HERE
  • Additional information on the SBA response can be found HERE.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners are 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.

The disaster loans and grants are available to:

  • Small businesses with less than 500 employees.
  • Agricultural businesses.
  • You must have been in business as of January 31, 2020.
The grants are available until December 16, 2020, but will quickly run out of money. For more information and to apply, please click HERE.



Transportation

Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency – For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating Commercial Motor Vehicles can be found HERE. Expires September 30, 2020.

FMCSA COVID-19 Information & Resources are available HERE.

FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Emergency Hours Waiver

  • Due to the ongoing national COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended the hours of service waiver through September 14th for carriers providing direct assistance in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. The exemption was previously set to expire on August 14th.
  • The waiver covers drivers hauling livestock and livestock feed; medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.



Other Useful Information

On March 28, the U.S. Department of Labor added to the guidance for workers and employers explaining paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Find out more information HERE.

 

Small Business Fund

The U.S, Chamber of Commerce Foundation is offering grants to small businesses of $5000. The Small Business Fund is funded by corporate and philanthropic partners. To qualify for a loan a business must employ between 3 and 20 people, be in an economically vulnerable community, and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out more information on the Small Business Fund, click HERE.

 

White House and CDC Guidelines on Reopening America

The Trump Administration has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

The Guidelines include:

  • Criteria – the data driven conditions each region or state should satisfy before proceeding to a phased opening.
  • Preparedness – what states should do to meet the challenges ahead.
  • Phase Guidelines – responsibilities of individual and employers during all phases, and in each specific phase of the opening.
To review the three-phased approach, click HERE.

 

State-by-State Business Reopening Guidelines

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a state-by-state guide navigating the status of the reopening process. Their guidelines include an interactive map that lets you select your specific state. Reopening information provided includes:

  • Effective Date of Reopening
  • Topline Guidance
  • Employee Screening Guidance
  • Social Distancing Guidance
  • PPE Requirements
  • Cleaning/Sanitation Procedures
  • Vulnerable Population Accommodations
  • And Sector-Specific Guidance

To review the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s State-by-State Business Reopening Guidelines, click HERE.

 

Current Status of COVID-19 Cases by Jurisdiction

Johns Hopkins University has created a visualization that shows the current state-by-state status of COVID-19 cases. It also demonstrates each state’s growth and decline in cases. Access the map of the United States HERE.