Update for Thursday, December 31, 2020
  • On December 26, 2020, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) updated its mandatory quarantine requirements (the Quarantine Advisory) for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not develop symptoms. Previously, asymptomatic individuals who had been exposed to COVID-19 had to quarantine for 14 days. Now, such individuals must quarantine for 10 days. Importantly, the Quarantine Advisory also applies to individuals who traveled to a non-border state or country. The Quarantine Advisory can be found HERE.

Federal COVID Relief Legislation Pertaining to Employers –

  • Mandatory FFCRA Leave Ends on December 31, 2020: There is no extension of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid sick leave/paid FMLA benefits. Employees are not entitled to additional FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020. As of January 1, 2021, covered private-sector employers may voluntarily provide paid leave that otherwise would have qualified for FFCRA if the FFCRA had not expired, and if they do, they may take the tax credit associated with this leave. The tax credit may only be taken for leave through March 31, 2021. 

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): An additional $284 billion is allocated for the PPP. In addition, PPP eligibility is expanded to include all nonprofits, including 501(c)(6) organizations, with some limitations based on employment (under 300) and lobbying activity (less than 15% of expenditures). Businesses that already received a PPP loan will be eligible to get a second one under the new terms. Some of the PPP funds will be set aside for the smallest businesses and community-based lenders and provides $20 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans grants for smaller businesses. A summary of the PPP provisions can be found here. 

  • The legislation also includes provisions clarifying the tax treatment of expenses paid for with the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan. The bill specifies that forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will not be included in taxable income, and further clarifies that deductions are allowed for expenses paid with proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, effective as of the date of enactment of the CARES Act and applicable to subsequent PPP loans. This same tax treatment also applies to EIDL grants and certain loans and loan repayment assistance. Earlier IRS guidance had established that expenses funded with PPP proceeds could not be deducted as business expenses. At this point, this treatment of PPP loan proceeds should flow through to state business and personal income tax returns of New York State taxpayers as well.

  • EIDL: The new law reopens the $10,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program, allowing businesses to apply until December 31, 2021. Priority for the full amount of the EIDL grant will be given to businesses with less than 300 employees, located in low-income neighborhoods, who have experienced a 30 percent reduction in gross receipts during any 8-week period between March 2, and December 31, 2020, compared to a comparable 8-week period before March 2. If you meet this description and received a grant that is less than $10,000 you can reapply to receive the difference. 
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit Extension: The bill extends (through June 30, 2021) and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was established in the CARES Act. The credit rate is increased from 50 percent to 70 percent of qualified wages; expands eligibility for the credit by reducing the required year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50 percent to 20 percent and provides a safe harbor allowing employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility; increases the 100-employee delineation for determining the relevant qualified wage base to employers with 500 or fewer employees, and allows businesses with PPP loans to qualify, among other changes.
  • Health and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Arrangements: The bill allows taxpayers to roll over unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. This provision also permits employers to allow employees to make a 2021 mid-year prospective change in contribution amounts. 
  • Employer-provided Student Loan Repayment: The CARES Act temporarily allowed employers to provide student loan repayment as a benefit to employees through December 31, 2020. Under this provision, an employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans, and such payment would be excluded from the employee’s income. The $5,250 cap applies to both the new student loan repayment.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance Extension: The bill extends two Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) unemployment programs for 11 weeks and provides $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through March 14, 2021. The bill also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others in non-traditional employment, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits. Additionally, the bill increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through the combination of regular state unemployment plus the PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks. The bill also provides an extra benefit of $100 per week for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose base UI benefit calculation does not take their self-employment into account.
  • Business Meals Deduction: The bill provides a temporary allowance of a full deduction for business meal food and beverage expenses provided by a restaurant that are paid or incurred in 2021 and 2022. Currently, the deduction is available for only 50 percent of such expenses.

  • NYS Quarantine Guidance Update – The state Health Department has issued new guidance that aligns with recent CDC guidance, to limit the quarantine period for persons exposed to COVID-19 to ten days without any testing if the person has no symptoms. It requires exposed persons to continue to monitor health symptoms for 14 days, and directs such persons to self-isolate and contact local health officials if they develop symptoms. While this guidance supersedes previous NYS guidance on the length of quarantines, it notes that the state’s provisions for travelers set forth in EO 202.5 and DOH provisions for essential worker travelers remain in force. It also provides that for health care personnel working at nursing homes or adult care facilities, while the person can be released from quarantine in 10 days, they must remain furloughed from work for 14 days. Importantly, this does not preclude an employer from adopting and applying more strict workplace safety standards, e.g., to require that an exposed employee obtain a negative test before returning to their place of employment.
To view our website and see previous emails, important documents, and other resources available, click HERE.
If you have any questions regarding the information in this notification or any other business related concerns and suggestions, please email Contact@DutchessBNN.com. Please do NOT contact elected officials regarding information in this email as they are currently inundated with handling the government response to this crisis. This network was created to help coordinate responses and share the burden, and we ask that you please contact us with any questions or concerns so our elected officials can focus on their task at hand. Thank you for your continued support through this time.
Resources With Links
United States Small Business Administration
Federal Representatives
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney: (845) 561-1259
Congressman Antonio Delgado: (845) 443-2930
Centers For Disease Control

Novel Coronavirus Hotline (24/7): 1-888-364-3065
New York State Government

NY Forward Reopening Information: https://forward.ny.gov/
State Representatives
Senator Pete Harckham: (914) 241-4600
Senator Sue Serino: (845) 229-0106
Assembly Member Didi Barrett: (845) 454-1703
Assembly Member Kevin Cahill: (845) 338-9610
Assembly Member Jonathan Jacobson: (845) 562-0888
Assembly Member Kieran Lalor: (845) 221-2202
New York State Department of Labor
Dutchess County Government

Dutchess County Mental Health Hotline (24/7): (877) 485-9700
Dutchess Tourism
For updates on major attractions, lodging, and restaurants (including a list of restaurants and farms open for takeout, curbside & delivery) click here, for important information and updates (including a resource guide for County tourism-related businesses) click here.
Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Business News Portal: https://www.dcrcoc.org/news
Think Dutchess Alliance For Business
Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board
Dutchess Business Notification Network
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Dutchess Business Notification Network | Contact@DutchessBNN.com