Greetings NWHPBA Community,

We hope this email finds you well. As we are in unprecedented times, NWHPBA wants to ensure we are keeping our members and community up-to-date with all relevant information. Below you will find retailer specific information, followed by state specific information that will be helpful to your business as well as national information.

NWHPBA Retail Members 
Even though service of our products and construction related installs are clearly defined as “essential services” under the “Stay at Home” orders we’ve seen so far, there is confusion regarding retail sales.

We are attempting to get clarification on this but here are some considerations that may help:

If you have a retail store and your state is under a “lock down” or “stay at home order” (i.e. Washington State), the following is may apply:
  • Close your retail shop or do not let more than one member of the public inside at a time (remember, they will have to have an essential purpose for being there or risk being fined so please promote online sales for their protection). Keep a bare minimum work force on hand and let as many people as possible work from home.
  • Provide sales via online website or through telephone or other technology (using pictures to help people shop)
  • Do curbside pick up or delivery only of product to people’s homes or businesses — ensure the safety of your employees and customers while doing this by disinfecting surfaces, washing hands and maintaining social distancing of 6 feet or more.

If your state is NOT under a lock down or stay at home order:
  • You should be able to keep your store open but minimize the number of people inside to ensure the adequate “social distancing” required by the CDC order (minimum of 6 feet apart).
  • Ensure more than adequate disinfecting of surfaces touched by both customers and employees
  • Emphasize curbside pick up, delivery and online options to help minimize exposure for both customers and employees.

For more information and details on your state — particularly for how to deal with employees who cannot or do not come to work, please go to your state’s specific website link below:


WASHINGTON:
Below is the list of essential businesses under the Governor’s new Stay At Home Proclamation. According to this, with exemptions for workers who work with wood products, the energy exemptions for repair of leaks and gas appliances AND the construction exemptions on page 11, it looks like you should be able to keep your businesses open — service, install (since housing construction still allowed) and repair side in addition to fuel sales if you do that. “Home appliance” retailers are also considered essential on page 11.

In addition, in order to be completely compliant, you need to register at this link below and make sure you have a safety plan for your employees who will be working.  

Here is the information to register as an essential business:
 
I mportant Documents:

Washington Home Builder Specific:
  • Under the Order “construction workers who support … construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)” are listed as an “essential service.” 
  • Based upon this language, homebuilders and remodelers may continue with operations while the stay-at-home order is in effect. 
  • BIAW recommends, all companies that plan to continue to operate jobsites add these hygiene precautions to the usual safety requirements for workers: 
  • 1.   Continue social distancing of six feet 
  • 2.   Wash hands frequently and do not touch your face 
  • 3.   Wear gloves on jobsite 
  • 4.   Utilize jobsite best practices and 10-Point Plan for Building a Safer Job Site documents
  • Employers should also provide employees with a letter with your company name, contact, and statement that they are your employee working on your construction jobsite. Workers should always have the letter and their employee identification on them when commuting to and from jobsites.
  • Businesses not included in the list of essential services are required to have employees work remotely. 
  • For additional resources on COVID-19, please visit BIAW’s resource page »


Idaho:
  • Idaho Official Resources for COVID-19
  • Help for Idaho Small Business Affected by COVID-19
  • Idaho Governor Brad Little issued an isolation order for Blaine County, Idaho on March 20, but it exempts business operation.
  • The State of Idaho adopted federal guidance to prevent coronavirus spread, though not mandating the closure of schools or other establishments.
  • The City of Boise has closed all city facilities to the public and recommends the cancellation of any events of 50 or more people.

Alaska:

Montana:
  • Montana DPHHS Coronavirus COVID-19 Info
  • Governor Bullock directs closure of K-12 public schools from Mar. 16 to Mar. 27.
  • Recommended limits on mass gatherings more than 50 people, but no formal restrictions.

United States of America:

Business Information:
  • HPBA is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers. They have published information that is targeted to manufacturers and small businesses that you may find useful, including material from CDC, OSHA, the Small Business Administration (including low-interest disaster loans to help small businesses recover) and the Department of Homeland Security. Please find that information here: https://www.nam.org/coronavirus/

Government Affairs
  • Congress is attempting to move quickly on multiple legislative responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Last week, the President enacted H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among other things, the legislation does the following:
  • Tax Credits for Employers. An employer will receive a quarterly 100% refundable payroll tax credit for the qualified family leave wages paid by the employer. In calculating the credit, the amount of qualified family leave wages taken into account with respect to any individual shall not exceed $200 a day and $10,000 in the aggregate for all calendar quarters. 
  • Employers will receive a quarterly 100 percent refundable credit against the 6.2 percent and 1.45 percent payroll taxes for qualified sick leave wages paid to employees.
  • Employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected leave if the employee: (1) is complying with a requirement or recommendation to quarantine due to corona virus exposure or symptoms, and cannot work from home; (2) is caring for an at-risk family member who is quarantining; or (3) is caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed due to public health emergency. However, the first 14 days of the leave may be unpaid.
  • A third package of relief legislation failed to pass a procedural hurdle in the Senate last night. Congressional leadership are meeting today to iron out differences and hope to vote on the package imminently. This package contains general small business relief and is not industry-specific. There may be an opportunity to add our industry-specific language about Step 1 stoves in a potential fourth package. We will send another update email after this third package is enacted.
Please let us know if you and your business have any specific needs, questions or concerns at this time. We are here to assist and support our members however we can.

Take care,
Amy Ohlinger (NWHPBA Executive Director) & Carolyn Logue (NWHPBA Lobbyist)