Resources for Small Businesses:
- WorkShare is a program designed to be an alternative to layoffs, allowing employees to work reduced hours while collecting unemployment benefits to supplement their lower wages. If an employer participates, the employee gets to keep his or her job while working reduced hours, has wages supplemented, and continues to receive company benefits. Employers can learn more about the program here, and can access information on how to apply here.
- Guidance for MA Businesses, including industry-specific grant programs, prepared by the Baker-Polito Administration
- The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, prepared by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- The regional office of the Small Business Administration is located at 10 Causeway Street, Room 265, Boston, MA, and its telephone number is 617-565-5590. The site has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources page which is generally helpful.
- Loan and debt relief options can be found here:
- Applications for Disaster Loan Assistance for Private Nonprofits, businesses, homeowners, and renters can be found here.
- The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides assistance to eligible businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. EIDLs provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses until normal operations resume. Affected small businesses and non-profits should download, complete, and submit the SBA EIDL Worksheet and Instructions to expedite activation of the EIDL program. For questions, please contact Disaster.Recovery@mass.gov. Full guidance regarding the program is here.
- The U.S. Treasury encourages businesses impacted by COVID-19 to use the Employee Retention Credit to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. Small businesses who take Small Business Loans are not eligible. More information on the credit can be found here.
- Apply for a $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan, which will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months and are open to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Apply through the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.
Legislation recently passed by the MA Legislature:
- Economic Development bill
- Authorizes $30 million for the state’s COVID-19 Payroll Protection Program (PPP), $20 million for restaurant COVID-19 recovery grants, $55 million for Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation grant and loan programs to benefit small businesses, and $14 million for travel and tourism grants
- Funds a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant totaling $6 million for a competitive grant program to promote artists in creating new mediums to showcase their art, and to promote local museums to showcase their exhibits remotely.
- Provides micro-business grants totaling $25 million to provide capital for micro-businesses and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs looking to start or expand a new business, with preference given to businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.
- Places a 15% cap on third-party delivery fees during the COVID-19 state of emergency and prohibits third-party delivery service companies from reducing rates for delivery drivers or garnishing gratuities in response to this cap, to support local restaurants and drivers alike.
- An Act to Expand Take-out/Delivery Options in Response to COVID-19
- Allows restaurants to include mixed drinks with take-out and delivery orders, adding on to the bill previously passed by the legislature to allow beer and wine take-out and delivery, increasing revenue for restaurants and stimulating the economy.
Legislation passed by the federal government:
- Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
- Extends the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement, providing substantially greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness. Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.
- Lowers the requirements that 75 percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs and that 75 percent of the loan forgiveness amount must have been spent on payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered period to 60 percent for each of these requirements. If a borrower uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60 percent of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs.
- Provides a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees, to protect borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020.
- Increases to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by SBA (based on the date SBA assigns a loan number) on or after June 5, 2020.
- Extends the deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on PPP loans to the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender (or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period).
- In addition, the new rules will confirm that June 30, 2020, remains the last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved.
- More information and guidance will be provided here.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) provides small and midsize employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19. Workers may receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own health needs or to care for others and up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. The FFCRA covers the costs of this paid leave by providing small businesses with refundable tax credits. Certain self-employed individuals in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits. Find more details here.