SPECIAL EDITION
FOCUSING ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 WITH TIPS TO MITIGATE ECONOMIC DAMAGE
#9 | FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020
WHAT'S INSIDE THE $2 TRILLION FEDERAL CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS PACKAGE?

EXPECTED TO BE PASSED OVER THE WEEKEND, MONDAY
The U.S. Senate passed a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus response bill intended to expedite relief across the nation's economy. This is the third such aid package from Congress and is meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during this unprecedented time.

It is anticipated the U.S. House of Representatives will vote today (Friday) or tomorrow on this bill. If passed, it will go to the president for his signature.

Small Business Benefits
The bill includes:
  • $10 billion for emergency micro-grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses;
  • $350 billion forgivable loan program through the U.S. Small Business Administration for companies with 500 or fewer employees;
  • $17 billion to cover six months of payments for small businesses already accessing SBA loans;
  • Changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near-term.

The bill establishes a fully refundable tax credit for businesses of all sizes that are closed or distressed to help them keep workers on the payroll. The goal is to get those employees re-hired or put on paid furlough to ensure they have jobs to which they may return. The credit covers up to 50 percent of payroll on the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, for each employee.  

For employers with more than 100 full-time employees, the credit is for wages paid to employees when they are not providing services because of the coronavirus. Eligible employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees could use the deduction even if they aren't closed.

The SBA will deputize local banks to help administer these SBA funds to local businesses.  Eligible and interested companies should contact their current local bank to inquire as to how they can apply for the low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

More information will be provided from the Chamber in the days to come as this bill makes its way through the House of Representatives.
Employment Legal Issues in a COVID-19 Remote World | Monday, March 30 from 2 to 3 PM
Please join us for a Human Resources Roundtable webinar with Robert Young  of Bowditch & Dewey, LLP on Monday, March 30 from 2 to 3 PM.

He will discuss legal implications from the coronavirus for employers including leaves of absence, sick time, and paid medical leave; crisis communication plans; and work-from-home policies.
Attendees are welcome to submit questions in advance for our speakers, who will address submitted questions during the webinar.
ICYMI : As of Friday morning, Gov. Baker has postponed the state's individual income tax filing and payment deadline to JULY 15, 2020 .
Read more on mass.gov .
WE WANT YOUR INPUT
Let us know what webinars you are looking for and we'll do our best to provide them to you! EMAIL YOUR SUGGESTIONS
Please take this less-than-five-minute survey about how we, your local Chamber of Commerce, can best serve you and your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spring is sprung and grocery stores are picked clean. Looking to start a vegetable garden? You're not the first and, hopefully, not the last!

A NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE DETAILS THE HISTORY OF VICTORY GARDENING AND ITS APPLICATION DURING COVID-19
The victory garden movement began during World War I and called on Americans to grow food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, backyards. It maintained that there was nothing more valuable than self-sufficiency, than working a little land, no matter how small, and harvesting your own eggplant and tomatoes.

That idea resonates as trips to the grocery store become fraught with fears of coronavirus exposure, and shoppers worry that industrial agriculture could fail them during a pandemic.

Read more on NYT.com .

Photo via Minnesota Historical Society/Getty Images.
NOTE | To keep our members up-to-date on available resources and the Chamber response to COVID-19, for the foreseeable future the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce will issue daily emails at noon. These emails contain a variety of information from local, state, and federal loans to the offerings of local businesses and best practices during this uncertain time.

As always, we are here to help. Due to the Governor’s stay-at-home advisory for non-essential employees, the Chamber office will be closed through April 7. Staff members will be checking email and voicemail and will respond accordingly. We will continue to monitor the most up-to-date information to best serve our business community. If you need assistance at the office, please email the Chamber . If you need assistance with Certificate of Origin processing, please email Brenda Elmes , office manager.
We wish you all continued health and please reach out if the Chamber can be of assistance.