Last week, Governor Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito, and I made an announcement related to the extension of temporary restrictions for businesses. The capacity limits and gathering restrictions announced in December (and slated to expire on January 10th) will be extended until at least January 24th. Please see mass.gov/reopening for additional details regarding this extension.
DEPARTMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (DUA) GUIDANCE
DUA is currently implementing unemployment-related provisions from the most recent federal stimulus. Key details on these programs can be found here to assist claimants with questions about their continuation of benefits.
STATEWIDE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY PROGRAMS
Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced three new programs to boost internet connectivity statewide, including a subsidy program to assist job seekers in the MassHire system that are facing a technology barrier. In addition, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at the MassTech Collaborative will expand a WiFi hotspot program statewide, delivering free high-speed access points to Gateway Cities, helping expand internet accessibility in areas hard-hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about these programs in the recent press release.
MGCC’S SECTOR-SPECIFIC BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM
A reminder that the Sector-Specific Business Grant Program will stop accepting applications at the end of this week (January 15th). Please continue to remind businesses in your memberships about this opportunity and deadline.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UPDATES
The Small Business Administration recently released new guidance governing the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program. This guidance comes in the form of an Interim Final Rule, Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans, and Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-Owned Business Concerns. In addition, see the press release for highlights of the programmatic changes made to PPP via the recently-passed federal stimulus.
Several key program changes include:
- Allows past recipients to receive a "Second Draw" from PPP
- Makes 501(c)6 nonprofits (like Chambers of Commerce) eligible applicants, among other types of organizations
- Allows borrowers to set their covered loan period to any length from 8-24 weeks to allow additional flexibility
- Expands what is a eligible forgivable expense to include costs, including adaptive operations expenditures, property damage costs, technology operations, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures
- Clarifies that PPP loans are tax-free and eligible expenses paid with PPP proceeds are tax-deductible
- Caps First Draw loans at $10 million and Second Draw loans at $2 million
- Allows Accommodations and Food Service businesses to obtain loans calculated at 3.5x average monthly payroll
As with prior implementations of PPP, businesses can apply for a forgivable loan via SBA lenders and should speak to their lender to discuss an application. Effective today, community lenders (community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, certified development companies, and microloan intermediaries, more here) are able to offer PPP loans to applicants that have not yet received a loan; on January 13th, these lenders will be able to offer loans to “Second Draw” applicants. All lenders will be authorized to offer the program shortly; the date has not yet been announced. For additional information on PPP, forms and other information, visit www.sba.gov/ppp.
VACCINE ROLLOUT PLAN
The Department of Public Health has published a plan for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with updates on the status of the rollout in Massachusetts. See here for information related to the vaccine; you can also sign up to receive updates on the vaccine here.