Demystifying the CARES Act

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce has spent the week working with our local and federal partners to better understand the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ( CARES Act) and how it will relieve our businesses.

This large act of Congress will be transformative, but many of our federal and partners are still setting up the processes to disperse funding. We'll continue to keep you updated as those processes unravel - for now, here's some overview information to better help you prepare.

3 Resources from the CARES Act That Can Help Your Business
1) SBA' s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) A vailable NOW
See the above graphic that explains how to apply for the EIDL loan easily online. Some fast facts about loan forgiveness include:
  • Eligible applicants for an EIDL can receive a $10,000 emergency grant within three days of application (through Dec. 31, 2020)
  • There is no obligation to repay the grant. To receive the $10,000 emergency grant, it is not necessary to have an approved EIDL loan. However, if you are able to secure a PPP loan, the $10,000 grant will be subtracted from the forgiveness amount.
Click the below links to apply for EIDL Program, and to read more resources from the US Chamber of Commerce. For any questions about the EIDL Program, reach out to Nicole Babauta at CNMI SBDC ( [email protected]).

2) Employer Payment Protection Program (PPP) COMING SOON
Unlike the EIDL Program, the PPP is administered through our local FDIC-approved banks. They are still in the process of setting up their systems, and as we know more we'll share more. For now, please review the information below:

Overview of PPP- Click here
Information for Lenders - Click here
Information for Borrows - Click here
Application for PPP - Click here

Unsure where to start? Review with our graphic above to compare the EIDL and PPP, then see the below resource from the US Chamber of Commerce.
3) Employee Retention Tax Credit
The CARES Act also created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It's designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

C lick b elow to view the US Chamber's new guide to help businesses check eligibility, calculate their credit, and understand which employees count toward eligibility, among other information.
We are currently working with our partners at the CNMI Small Business Development Center (SBDC), as well as the CNMI Government, to understand the processes being set forth to access the above resources, as well as other programs such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. As we know more, we'll share more!
Local Updates
Are you a Chamber Member who wants to stay up-to-date on with notices from the Governor's COVID-19 Task Force in real time? Please email Maxine at [email protected], she'll forward your contact information over to the Office of the Governor to be included on their distribution list.

Here are the amendments to EO 2020-04 this week:
  • Click here for Monday's Amendment, which changed store hours from 6am - 6pm and outlined rules for social distancing.
  • Click here for Monday's Amendment, which created a curfew for all between 7pm - 6am (exceptions for those going to and from work).
  • Click here for Wednesday's Amendment, which closed down all businesses engaged in gaming, including the casino, video poker establishments, and e-gaming facilities, as well as recreational or amusement facilities such as roller-rinks, child play facilities, and arcades.
Additionally, here are other updates coming out of the Office of the Governor this week:
  • Four new COVID-19 Cases Confirmed. Click here to read more (Wednesday 4/1).
  • Finance provides guidance on Stimulus Checks. Click here to read more (Wednesday 4/1)
  • United is suspending all flights from here to Guam starting April 6th - April 30th. The last flight out of Saipan is April 5th. Click here to read more (Tuesday 3/31).
  • Daily transport of mail and cargo between the CNMI and Guam is serviced by Micronesian Air Cargo Services. Inter-island shipment services within the CNMI are handled by Star Marianas Air. Click here to read more (Tuesday 3/31).
  • US Postal Services, air shipment of cargo to and from Guam, and medevac transport for health emergencies will not be disrupted by the temporary suspension of the Guam-Saipan United Airlines flights. Click here to read more (Tuesday 3/31).
Be well, Marianas!