SBA Offering Low-Interest Loans to Small Businesses & Non-Profits
Suffering Losses Related to COVID-19
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Minnesota small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Tim Walz on March 18, 2020.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
 
Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
 
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela . Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
 
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020 .
 
For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov .
 
For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus .
Two New Refundable Payroll Tax Credits for Businesses
for Providing COVID-19 Related Leave to Employees
On Friday, March 20, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.
 
The Act will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.
 
Key Takeaways
 
  • Paid Sick Leave for Workers
  • For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.
  • Complete Coverage
  • Health insurance costs are also included in the credit.
  • Employers face no payroll tax liability.
  • Self-employed individuals receive an equivalent credit.
  • Employers receive 100% reimbursement for paid leave pursuant to the Act.
  • Fast Funds
  • An immediate dollar-for-dollar tax offset against payroll taxes will be provided
  • Where a refund is owed, the IRS will send the refund as quickly as possible.
  • Reimbursement will be quick and easy to obtain.
  • Small Business Protection
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for an exemption from the requirements to provide leave to care for a child whose school is closed, or child care is unavailable in cases where the viability of the business is threatened.
  • Easing Compliance
  • Requirements subject to 30-day non-enforcement period for good faith compliance efforts.
 
To take immediate advantage of the paid leave credits, businesses can retain and access funds that they would otherwise pay to the IRS in payroll taxes. If those amounts are not sufficient to cover the cost of paid leave, employers can seek an expedited advance from the IRS by submitting a streamlined claim form that will be released next week.

Please refer to Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov with questions.
DEED Minnesota Call for Businesses:
Notes from Conference Call
THE FOLLOWING ARE ROUGH NOTES FROM ST. PAUL CHAMBER TAKEN OVER THIS MORNING’S CONFERENCE CALL. APPLE VALLEY CHAMBER WANTS YOU INFORMED FIRST BY THOSE PEOPLE MAKING THE DECISIONS. AGAIN, REALIZE THEY ARE QUICK NOTES AND A GREAT Q. & A. AT THE END.
2020 03 23  Call, DEED
Monday, March 23, 2020 | 6:57 AM
Steve Kelley, Commissioner of Commerce
Nicole Blissenbach, Asst Commissioner of Department of Labor and Industry
Robert Dody, Dept of Revenue
Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED
Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner of DEED
John Kelly and Patrick Tannis, Governor's Office
UPDATES
DEED, Steve Grove:
  • SBA business disaster loans: pleased late Friday/early Saturday to see SBA's portal for small business disaster loans open up. MN businesses can now apply through www.sba.gov<http://www.sba.gov>. 3.75% interest rate, fixed term up to 30 years. Max $2M. Powerful vehicle. Suggest you apply early. Is a fed gov program, expect processing time. SBA is thinking 3 weeks before approval/denial news. Within 5 days, then, can expect $25K of the total amount applied for (for immediate cash needs), with more coming soon thereafter.
  • Shelter in Place order: CA, NY, IL and others have implemented this. Gov Walz is not ready to consider this. Businesses are reaching out for preemptive exemptions, due to the necessity of their businesses. DEED understands this. if the Gov did decide that a Shelter in Place was required,
  • exhaustive and robust list of exempted industries would be released. Have been looking at this already, considering other states' lists, so they have a good handle on what that would be. Theoretical exercise at this point.
  • There would be a process for businesses to seek clarification. Each will be able to make a case for exemption should such an Order happen. Commitment is to be very thoughtful and to execute on a process.

Commerce, Steve Kelley:
  • With PUC, is continuing to work to ensure people who are working from home have telecom services and that they are not cut off. If people have challenges in this environment, also ww electric utilities to ensure they have the staffing they need to continue to deliver their services reliably.
  • Commerce ww a lot of different industries and we are ww DEED and Gov office re what are the essential industries and who are the essential workers.
  • Concerns expressed by the Chamber re some pending deadlines for renewals of licenses for some professions we regulate, and we are having conversations with relevant committees in Legislature re authority to extend deadlines. Hope relatively soon we can provide our licensees clarity re deadlines that will apply.
  • Continuing conversations with banks/credit unions to ensure they have resources they need to support local economies as many local businesses, like restaurants, deal with financial effects of this crisis. How can we support their efforts to support the local business community.
DLI, Nicole Blissenbach, Enforcement and Compliance:
  • Flup from last week's comments: our Construction Codes and Licensing Division has invoked its authority to provide all licensees a 90-day extension for required education. Submit renewals on time, but expect 90 additional days to complete education.
  • CCLD is still providing full inspection services.
  • OSHA is responding to increased health and safety questions.
  • Have seen increase in calls from workers reporting discrimination after they report health and safety concerns.
  • Labor Standards Division responding to questions re labor standards laws, including trying to get through the new Leave provisions of federal legislation that passed last week: expanded FMLA leave and paid sick leave.
  • There is a request out there for business with personal protective equipment that could be bought and purchased... please self-identify so people can have access.
Revenue, Robert Dody:
  • Early last week we granted 30-day extension for sales and use tax monthly filers.
  • Continuing to also look at how we can provide relief relative to property taxes and, hopefully, later today will be able to announce what we'll be doing relative to extending filing deadline for individual income taxes.
  • Late last week we granted 60-day filing extension, on request, for MN Care returns, if needed. Applies to provider tax, hospital tax, surgical center, wholesale distributor drug tax.
Governor's Office, John Kelly:
  • Re essential businesses... we are continuing to receive a large volume of contacts on that. Want to reassure folks we have a process in place for this. Is an ongoing process. At this point, such a decision has not been made.
QUESTIONS

  • Notary publics, and needing 2 witnesses: WI has issued guidelines for video notarizing and witnessing. Are we considering? Kelly: haven't heard that one yet, will add to issues to address.
  • SBA's 2020 Budget is $820M. Are they prepared for $250B program expansion to fund small business? Grove: we know they are ramping up, expanding call centers, moving quickly like the rest of us to increase capacity.
  • Revenue mentioned discussion around property tax options. Can you clarify if deferring taxes are a state, county, or "both" decision? Dody: that would be both. We work to administer taxes for local govt, collect and then return to the local govt entities. But the deferring would have to be a "both" option.
  • A number of questions about independent contractors: is it correct that disaster unemployment insurance is available to independent contractors (federal)? Grove: Let me look into that. Not sure... let us circle back tomorrow.
  • Different businesses who need workers now: assisted living, grocery stores... asking of UI applicants can be made aware of these immediate job openings and encourage people to apply? Grove: have been talking to Labor Market office at DEED. Want to start posting specific info on job vacancies so folks know who is hiring... can get the data on a real time basis, and will circulate in our daily briefings yet this week.
  • How do workers access the free child care that essential workers are eligible for? (health care, grocery store...) Grove: we have kept tools open for childcare for emergency workers, and last week Governor expanded that definition. Public instructions are available but, essentially, you work with your local school district. If you are an essential worker, bring your kids to the school with documentation, and they should be able to take them in.
  • Delayed income tax filings... Revenue site still says 4/15. what is status? Dody: hopefully today we will be able to announce where we stand on that officially, in terms of filing deadline. Fed govt has made announcement that filing deadline will be extended to July 15... IRS has not provided that official guidance yet. As of today, I believe we'll be able to make an announcement.
  • For Shared Work program, is 15-day waiting period waived? Grove: we did eliminate waiting period for re gular UI.. I'm not aware of there being a waiting period for the Shared Work program. This is the first time I've heard this question, will circle back.
  • What assistance is available for undocumented employees? Grove: good question. We are doing what we can to pull levers to help workers as we can. First step has been UI... if not paying into UI, not eligible for that assistance. Working with a host of employees not covered there, but more to come at this point.
  • Can businesses take out multiple loans with SBA? Say, $25K for payroll now, but may need additional capital if this situation continues. Can they go back and apply for more or is it a one-shot? Grove: not sure. Will flup.
  • Can employers screen employees for a fever when they show up for work? Nicole: yes, it is going to be specific to the circumstances. As long as it isn't followed by any adverse employment action as a result of the screening. We are working on providing more guidance related to those types of actions and hopefully will have that up on our website. Along with that, more Dept of Human Rights: if, due to underlying health conditions, employees need accommodations, employer needs to be engaged in that for reasonable accommodations.
  • SBA provided webinars and they were full. Is there a way to rebroadcast and link to DEED website? McKinnon: have heard that, will talk with SBA to open up more and/or post to websites. (Note to SPACC members: we spoke with SBA this past weekend; SBA has shared the presentation documents from this past weekend and will be posted on Ramsey County's COVID-19 site. Moving forward, will record training and share with us to post on Ramsey County's website to make available to businesses).
Other Updates For You
Best Buy Offers Contactless Curbside Service & Free Curbside Delivery
Starting yesterday (3/22) Best Buy announced that they will be offering contactless curbside service at all locations (includes returns and exchanges). Only employees are allowed in the store. Also, large products such as fridges, washers/dryers, etc. will no longer be delivered in home; instead they are offering free doorstep delivery. When it comes to Best Buy employees, everyone working right now is doing so on a voluntary basis, and all hourly employees who volunteer are receiving a temporary pay increase. Additionally, anyone feeling sick is told to stay home, and they will be paid for that time. Finally, anyone exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 is also told to stay home, with pay, and we are paying employees who may need to stay home to care for their children.

Amazon Prime Deliveries are Delayed for as Much as a Month as the Company Shifts to Focus on Coronavirus
Amazon, like all other companies, is facing major changes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Amazon warehouses are only accepting "household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products" to be shipped back out to customers — a massive change that is resulting in an equally massive disruption to Amazon Prime. Items deemed "non-essential" are being delayed for delivery for up to one month. See the attached link to delays. This is all the more reason to BUY LOCAL if you can.

Vivo Committing All Tips & Portion of To-Go Orders to Team Members Who Have Lost Their Jobs
In an update sent out on Saturday March 21st, Vivo announced that they had to make the very difficult decision to terminate all hourly team members. In light of this news, Vivo committing all tips and a portion of all to-go orders to those team members they had to let go, as well as starting a free meal program for them. Vivo will be continuing to provide their Curbside-To-Go menu as long as the State of MN allows (through end of day Friday March 27th).

Essential Services for "Shelter In Place", According to Governor Cuomo of New York
Governor Cuomo of New York State has declared "State on Pause" and has created comprehensive list of essential services and business entities. Wisconsin has also declared Shelter in Place. We wanted to provide you this list from New York in case our Governor declares a similar mandate. We were surprised at how many industries are considered essential services. Check it out.

Apple Valley Liquor Stores 2 and 3 Closed, Store 1 Open for Reduced Hours
In their efforts to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, Apple Valley Liquors has made the difficult decision to close Stores 2 and 3 on Pilot Knob Road until further notice. The Store 1 location at 7525 148th Street West (County Road 42 and Cedar Ave next to Von Hanson’s) will stay open, but with new hours:

Monday through Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce | info@applevalleychamber.com