Coronavirus Daily Update 3.18.20
Government Intervention
Restaurant and hospitality sectors Small Business Tax Relief:
  • The Governor’s office announced today that collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20.
Who is eligible?
  • Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes,
  • Business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
  • The Department of Revenue is currently drafting emergency regulations to implement these administrative relief measures, and they are expected to be finalized before Friday, March 20, 2020.

The MRA continues to work on legislation that will impact the “60-day posting regulation” and legislation that will allow alcohol sales for to go or delivery orders .

Unemployment Benefits:
  • Governor Baker also signed a law to provide unemployment assistance to workers impacted by COVID-19. This legislation will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
  • Unemployment Insurance launches dedicated website - Click here.
  • All requirements regarding attending seminars at the MassHire career centers have been suspended. 
  • Deadlines missed by employers and claimants due to effects of COVID-19 may be excused under DUA’s good cause provision. 
  • Employers whose businesses are severely impacted by COVID-19 can request extensions for filing and paying unemployment contributions. 
  • “Worksearch” requirements will be interpreted to appropriately permit claimants affected by COVID-19 to collect benefits. 
  • All appeal hearings will be held by telephone only. 

Washington DC
This morning, the National Restaurant Association sent a letter to the White House, and leaders of the US Senate and US House outlining extensive need for programs to help industry. Click here to see letter .
 
Summary of Congressional Responses (extremely fluid and as up-to-date as we know)
COVID Response Phase Guide
COVID-1: The emergency supplemental funding signed into law two weeks ago ($8.6 billion)
COVID-2: The House passed response bill the Senate is expected to pass today ($100 billion)
COVID-3: The economic stimulus package currently proposed by the White House and being worked on by Senate GOP ($1 trillion)

House COVID Response Bill - “COVID-2”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced yesterday afternoon, contrary to previous reports, that the Senate will pass the House’s version of COVID-2 without amendment (the limited amendment votes likely to fail). McConnell is motivated to get this bill passed as quickly as possible, instructing his Republican colleagues who take issue with the bill “to gag and vote for it anyway.” Passing the same version of the bill the House agreed to will expedite the process as the House will not need to return to Washington and vote on the measure this week. Following the bill's expected passage, the Senate will turn to COVID-3.

Economic Stimulus Package – “COVID-3”
Senate GOP leadership is working with the Trump Administration to craft an economic stimulus package that could end up costing nearly $1 trillion. During this afternoon's press conference, the President proposed the stimulus package and outlined details, which are included below.

McConnell pledged on Tuesday that the Senate will not leave town until they pass this stimulus package. Republican senators are divided on whether money should go to workers directly missing paychecks because of the virus or to all adults in an attempt to boost the economy generally. Further, they are split on how the money should be delivered, whether it be directly to Americans through unemployment insurance or to businesses in the form of loans designed to be used for payroll. These disagreements could force the upper chamber to stay in town next week, if not longer, to get COVID-3 passed. McConnell says the Senate will work at “warp speed” on this, but it is difficult to predict a timeline for action on COVID-3.

Online Webinar
Restaurant Industry Discussion on Legal & Business Issues Related to COVID-19 Outbreak
Date: Monday, March 23 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM

With the recent COVID-19 restrictions put in place for restaurants and bars, there are many questions surrounding the lease, financing, employment, and insurance aspects of your restaurants for all of us to discuss. The webinar will be a discussion of topics including:
  • Steps to approaching lease issues
  • Employee issues
  • Financing and investor issues
  • Insurance alternatives
  • Industry responses and best strategies

Co-Hosted By: Lou Katz, Esq. & Kelly Caralis, Esq.
Including Panelists: Bob Luz, President & Chief Executive Officer at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Kevin Racine, Sr. Vice President, Commercial Insurance at USI Insurance Services, and Dave Robinson, Esq. at RIW

Please email your questions in advance to Kelly Caralis at kac@riw.com with the subject "Attn: Seminar Questions" . Webinar presented by the RIW Hospitality & Retail Services Group.


As more information becomes available regarding government intervention, we will send it out to you immediately.
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
160 East Main Street, Suite 2, Westborough, MA 01581
Phone: (508) 303-9905   www.themassrest.org