Each week, we’ll be compiling the top headlines and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts your company and workforce. Subscribe here to receive weekly updates in your inbox.
Paycheck Protection Loan Update
While the Paycheck Protection Program officially went live on April 3, many lenders were not ready to accept applications until this week (April 6). Despite the delay, over 250,000 small businesses have already applied for a PPP loan (about $1 billion in funds allocated), and the competition will only get tougher.
Beginning today (April 10), 1099 workers and independent contractors are also able to submit applications for a loan. With 23 million Americans receiving income as an independent contractor, this will increase the volume of applications drastically.
The good news is the Small Business Administration has requested another $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. Although the details are still to be worked out and agreed upon, congressional leaders have stated that they are committed to providing the additional funds.
If you are hoping to apply for a PPP loan, you should reach out to your bank ASAP, as most banks are only accepting applications from businesses and individuals with who they have an existing relationship. Use our toolkit to get started on the process.
LA County and San Bernardino County Mask Order
This week Mayor Garcetti announced that all LA County residents are required to wear a face cover or mask while out in public. The order is the latest effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus and to protect employees and customers. San Bernardino County's Acting Health Officer implemented the same rule soon after.
Most essential businesses are required to have their employees wear face coverings, which the business owner must provide or reimburse their employees for buying. If a business refuses to provide coverings for employees, there could be a fine. Businesses also have the right to refuse service to any customers who disobey the order by not wearing a mask.
Even with the new mask order in place, local and state leaders still urge the public to refrain from buying medical grade or N95 masks and leave those for our medical workers. The California Department of Public Health issued guidance on acceptable face coverings, found here.
Additional Unemployment Benefits
As part of the Pandemic Additional Compensation under the CARES Act, workers receiving unemployment are promised to receive an additional $600 a week from the federal government.
Governor Newsom announced that the state will start implementing the federal payments of $600 this Sunday, April 12. These payments are in addition to what the state pays in unemployment benefits.
New Help for California Small Businesses
Governor Newsom announced a series of new relief efforts for small businesses and California workers. The federal government-backed Paycheck Protection Loans are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and funds will go fast. To help California businesses who miss out or do not qualify for federal assistance, Newsom announced that the state is allocating $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees.
Other relief efforts include an executive order granting a 90-day extension for small businesses to pay sales taxes and a new platform connecting workers displaced by COVID-19 with job opportunities. The platform, onwardca.org, hosts over 70,000 job opportunities in critical industries across the state.