STATE & FEDERAL POLICY UPDATES DURING COVID-19
- Although stocks opened with even more gains this morning, all three indices reported losses by the end of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with losses by 0.1%, the S&P 500 by 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite by 0.3%.
- Stocks rose significantly, with all three indices reporting major gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved upwards by 7.7%, the S&P 500 by 7.0%, and the Nasdaq Composite by 7.3%.
- Financial strategists predicted that these increases were likely due to investor optimism that stay-at-home measures have helped the U.S. and Europe to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
- Chinese authorities officially announced that they would be lifting the lockdown on Wuhan after 11 weeks. Residents will now be allowed to travel in and out of the city, which is where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported.
- Healthcare experts from Germany launched a free smartwatch app on Thursday called the “Corona-Datenspende,” which translates to the “Corona Data Donation” app. This voluntary app is reportedly going to be used to help experts to visualize the spread of the virus, by monitoring and mapping the distribution of the virus across the population.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other major Japanese cities that have been affected by the pandemic.
- Singapore’s Parliament passed legislation requiring that all social gatherings of any size must be banned – regardless of whether or not these gatherings are in private or public spaces.
- Finland’s government has introduced an initiative to randomly test 750 citizens of the country for coronavirus antibodies each week.
- Saudi Arabia announced that the government is mandating the closure of nine more cities to be on lockdown.
- The city of Paris announced that there would be a ban on outdoor exercise from 10 AM to 7 PM. This will take effect starting tomorrow.
- Austria and Denmark announced that that they will begin to reopen their countries after completing their coronavirus lockdowns, with the belief that they are rounding the corner on the first wave of the virus. Similarly, Belgium and Spain are also reportedly looking to loosen these restrictions.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced today that he plans to declare a state of emergency tomorrow for the country’s major cities that have been the worst affected by the pandemic.
- Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced in a video statement that the country will extend its state of emergency until mid-May.
- United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the intensive care unit, as his condition has “worsened.”
- Dubai announced a measure requiring residents of the city to apply for police permits online in order to leave their homes.
FEDERAL COVID-19 POLICY
Covid-19 stimulus phase 3 plan
Learn how your company can access COVID-19 small business disaster relief funds and get detailed information about additional key provisions of the federal Coronavirus Stimulus Package, including paid medical and sick leave, tax credits, insurance and assistance programs.
SMALL BUsINESS SUPPORT
- $350 billion in federally guaranteed SBA 7a loans to businesses with under 500 employees and some franchises.
- If employers maintain their payroll the loans would be forgiven.
- The size of the loans would be tied to an applicant’s average monthly payroll; mortgage, rent, and utility payments; and other debt obligations over the previous year.
- The maximum loan amount is $10 million.
- Allows employers to defer payment of social security payroll taxes.
DIRECT CASH PAYMENTS
- One-time checks of $1,200 will be sent to individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 or $112,500 in the case of those with a head of household filing status.
- All married couples, with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 who file a joint return, are eligible for $2,400.
- Check amounts increase by $500 for every child, up to $3,000 for a family of four.
- Estimates are that 90% of Americans will get some level of payment.
SUPPORT FOR DISTRESSED SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY
Provides $500 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, distributed as follows:
- $25 billion for passenger air carriers
- $4 billion for cargo air carriers
- $17 billion for businesses important to maintaining national security
- $454 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments in support of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities
- New Pandemic Unemployment (UI) Assistance program for those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, contractors, gig economy workers).
- An additional $600 per week payment total UI for up to four months for all recipients.
- Includes 13 extra weeks of unemployment for those that exhaust their current weeks of eligibility.
HEALTH CARE AND SAFETY NET SUPPORT
- $100 billion in grants to hospitals and other health care providers to help cover the cost of COVID-19 response.
- Over $30 billion for schools and universities for response efforts.
- Over $48 billion for transportation and housing including grants for airports and transit systems.
- Over $19 billion for the VA for equipment, tests, and services.
- $15.5 billion in additional SNAP funding for feeding vulnerable Americans.
Federal Updates – 4.7.20
- The Treasury Department is reportedly planning to request $250 billion from Congress for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, the small business relief program that was created by the CARES Act. On a call this afternoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that the department was looking “forward to the Senate passing that on Thursday, and the House passing that on Friday.” In response to this request, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested that the Senate could approve this additional funding request by voice vote during the Senate’s pro forma session. However, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced her support for the additional funding, she has maintained that she wants “to make sure that the program is administered in a way that does not solidify inequality in how people have access to capital.”
- President Trump has removed Glenn Fine from his role as the acting Inspector General of the Defense Department. This also effectively removes Fine from his role in leading the newly-created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. President Trump has now appointed Sean O’Donnell – who was previously the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General – to be the DoD’s new acting Inspector General.
- Vice President Mike Pence is planning to hold conference calls with House Democrats and House Republicans tomorrow in order to brief the members on the administration’s coronavirus response. Senate Democrats and Republicans will be briefed on Thursday.
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged that the November presidential election should not be delayed. He stated during an interview that that the U.S. “cannot delay or postpone a constitutionally-required November election.”
- On this afternoon’s CISA and FEMA call with stakeholders, officials announced that they are working on the next iteration of their guidance for the essential critical infrastructure workforce.
- Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who was the first senator to test positive for coronavirus,tweeted this morning that he has “been retested,” and has tested negative.
Federal Closures and updated guidance – 3.26.20
- BLM: Entrance fees temporarily suspended.
- NPS: Parks are being closed on a case-by-case basis. Visitor services at other parks, other than those of public and resource protection (such as law enforcement and trash removal), will be limited or suspended. Entrance fees waived.
- USACE: Orderly shutdown of all USACE-managed campgrounds is ongoing
- FWS: No uniform guidance, check with individual units.
- USFS: New guidance being provided regularly. Latest guidance available here.
U.S. Small Business Administration Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2M for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Included in this section is a brief outline of what we know about the program, with links and contacts numbers for resources with more information.
State Business Resources
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues and there are new developments daily, States are providing funding relief and business resources and the places we love to explore are closing or updating their visitor guidelines. See below to find out what your state is doing.
- After much back-and-forth, the state of Wisconsin continued forward as planned with the state’s primary election today. This was after Governor Tony Evers attempted to delay the election until June, but this attempt was overturned by resistance from Republicans and court decisions blocking the move.
- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that he is planning to close all state and county parks, and also that the state’s health emergency order would remain in effect for an additional 30 days.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at a press conference stating that the state needs an additional federal stimulus bill in order to assistance them in restarting their economy – emphasizing that “there’s no other way to do this.”
- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers officially issued an executive order suspending the state’s primary election until June 9th.
- Yesterday evening, President Trump approved disaster declarations for Mississippi, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s closure of schools and nonessential businesses to last until April 29th. He also announced that the fine for breaching state directives will now be $1,000.
- State officials from Texas said last night that they would start screening travelers entering from Louisiana, requiring drivers to submit a “designated quarantine location.” The Texas Department of Public Safety has stated that the agency is planning to carry out unannounced visits to these locations to ensure that travelers are completing the required 14-day isolation period.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will be loaning 500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile.
State Closures and updated guidance – 3.26.20
- States are operating on a case-by-case basis, and ORR is tracking closures.
- Colorado state parks and wildlife areas are closed to camping.
- Florida state parks are closed for all use.
- Washington state-run parks, wildlife areas, water access areas, DNR-managed land and recreational fishing are closed for at least two weeks.
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