- CISA Guidelines Updated
- Paycheck Protection Program
- Small Business Administration
- Other Useful Information
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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its workplace pandemic guidance in November to remove a provision that allowed essential workers thought to have been exposed to Covid-19 but not exhibiting symptoms to stay on the job without quarantining. Read more HERE.
Second Time Applicants
The SBA began accepting second draw PPP loans (for those that have previously received a PPP loan) on January 13, 2021. The second draw loans can be for up to 2.5 times monthly payroll, and can be used to fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, payments to vendors, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, and uninsured property damage caused by looting and vandalism during 2020. A borrower qualifies for the loan if (1) they have previously received a first draw PPP loan and have or will use the full amount only for authorized uses; (2) has no more than 300 employees; and (3) can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The application period is from January 13 until March 31, 2021.
The PPP Second Draw Borrower Application form is available HERE. This program is run through traditional lenders, so contact your bank, credit union or other financial institution about how to access this funding.
For more information on the Second Draw PPP Loans, please visit the SBA website.
Borrowers of both First Draw and Second Draw PPP loans may be eligible for loan forgiveness. The SBA has a recommended process of applying for loan forgiveness, which includes:
1. Contact your PPP Lender and complete the correct form.
3. Submit the forgiveness form and documentation to your PPP Lender.
4. Continue to communicate with your Lender throughout the process.
A more in depth look at the loan forgiveness process and the necessary forms and instructions are available at the SBA website.
First Time Applicants
Many in the forest products industry have already taken advantage of the PPP loans to help stabilize business and retain employees. For those that haven’t, here’s information on how the program works.
The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. First Draw PPP Loans (for those that have not previously taken a PPP loan) can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.
SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.
- PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.
- Loans issued prior to June 5, 2020 have a maturity of two years. Loans issued after June 5, 2020 have a maturity of five years.
- Loan payments will be deferred for borrowers who apply for loan forgiveness until SBA remits the borrower's loan forgiveness amount to the lender. If a borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, payments are deferred 10 months after the end of the covered period for the borrower’s loan forgiveness (either 8 weeks or 24 weeks).
- No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
- Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
- Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons
- Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry size standard or the alternative size standard)
- Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of: 500 employees, or that meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
- 501(C)(6) trade associations.
- Any business with a NAICS code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
The PPP First Draw Borrower Application form is available HERE.
For more information on the First Draw PPP Loans, please visit the SBA website.
The stimulus package passed by the Senate on March 26, 2020 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.
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.
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 February 28, 2021.
FMCSA COVID-19 Information & Resources are available HERE.
Hours of Service Waiver Extended
On February 16, the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration extended the hours of service (HOS) waiver for truck drivers providing emergency assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic to March 13. The waiver was previously set to expire on February 28. The waiver now includes the safe and rapid transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine. The HOS waiver includes: (1) livestock and livestock feed; (2) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (3) vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19; (4) 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; and (5) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
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 Guidelines
The Biden Administration has released their plan to address COVID-19.To review, 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.