In Case You Missed It!
Guidance on Non-Essential Construction
Over the past 48 hours, more language to define which forms of construction are essential in New York state has been released. In case you missed it, Empire State Development has issued the following guidelines:

“Local governments, including municipalities and school districts, are allowed to continue construction projects at this time as government entities are exempt from the essential business restrictions. However, to the greatest extent possible, local governments should postpone any non-essential projects and only proceed with essential projects when they can implement appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols. Essential projects are those that have a nexus to health and safety of the building occupants or to support the broader essential services that are required to fulfill the critical operations of government or the emergency response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.”

"Construction in support of essential businesses is permissible, but only with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting precautions. If those cannot be met, the project should be postponed."

If you’re working on a project for an industry that has been deemed to be essential ( https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026 ) please work with the owner and if you can meet the social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting precautions you should be able to continue your work. 

This information is not listed on the Empire State Development website but is official.

Should there be additional changes or edits to this information, we will advise Empire Chapter member, immediately. We urge you to check ESD’s FAQ page , which the agency has said will be updated, regularly.

If you are still unclear about if your project qualifies, you SHOULD SUBMIT A WAIVER REQUEST to Empire State Development. You can find that waiver HERE . You can also call your regional Empire State Development office for support and guidance. That list can be found  HERE .

The Empire Chapter will continue to provide you with more information as it becomes available. If you have additional questions, please contact me or your Regional Membership Director.




Brian Sampson
President, Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State
How to Shut Down a Project
For guidance on shutting down a jobsite, please visit the links below:


If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Empire Chapter Statewide Director of Safety, Craft Training, and Workforce Development, Jason Ashlaw at
315-454-2320

Businesses across the country are being affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Fortunately, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that provides substantial financial relief for business and individuals. In this webinar, our tax experts will walk participants through the provisions in the recently enacted CARES Act and the impact on business and individuals.

Topics covered include:
·     Paycheck Protection Loan Forgiveness Program and the loan application process
·     Individual and business tax provisions of the CARES Act 
·     Other related provisions
WEBINAR DATES AND TIMES:

Tues., March 31
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Thur., April 2
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Fri., April 3
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m


Date: Tuesday, March 31
Time: 3 p.m. EDT
Speakers: Jack A. Callahan, CPA , CohnReznick LLP; Cristi Lewis, CPA, CohnReznick LLP

COVID-19 has thrown world markets into a tailspin, and it’s time for construction to reposition and survive. This session will help contractors of all sizes understand critical considerations, including contractual issues, cash flow and overhead management, as well as where to look for opportunities for well-positioned, well-capitalized companies.


Date: Wednesday, April 1
Time: 3 p.m. EDT
Moderator:  Mike Bellaman, President and CEO, ABC National
Speaker: Brian Robertson, Fringe Benefit Group 

Company owners and human resource managers will receive an overview of pressing employer regulatory and employee benefits issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and legislative response. Topics to be covered include special enrollment periods and well as premium grace periods for the fully insured, as well as self-funded group health plans and an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice.
 
With Stay at Home orders issued around the region, new federal regulations for paid family and sick leave, and the ongoing COVID19 state of emergency, contractors have numerous questions. ABC Heart of America Legal Counsel Denise Delcore, JD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, a Shareholder at Polsinelli, will address some of the most pressing concerns and assist members in understanding the implications of the new orders on you and your business.
 
*The recording is available to ABC members in management positions on the  Academy site *

Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Maury Baskin, Littler Mendelson P.C.; Brad Hammock, Littler Mendelson P.C.
WEBINAR DESCRIPTION
ABC Members Only
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and we are already hearing about construction employees testing positive on jobsites. Join ABC general counsel Maury Baskin and ABC OSHA counsel Brad Hammock for a webinar providing guidance to ABC members and chapter staff on employer and employee responsibilities as well as OSHA reporting and recording.

Empire Chapter Offers Supplemental Health and Safety Plan to Address Novel Coronavirus 
The personal safety and health of each employee is of primary importance. We believe that employees are our most important assets and that their safety at the worksite is our greatest responsibility. As such, the Empire Chapter is offering members a Supplemental Health and Safety Plan to address Novel Coronavirus  


For an overview of Phase 3 of the COVID-19 CARES stimulus relief bill and how it effects you and your business, click here.

Highlights include:

• A $350 billion forgivable loan program designed to ensure that small businesses do not lay off employees
• A 50% refundable payroll tax credit on worker wages will further incentivize businesses, including ones with fewer than 500 employees, to retain workers
• Looser net operating loss-reduction rules that will allow businesses to offset more
• A delay in employer-side payroll taxes for Social Security until 2021 and 2022
• Sole proprietors and other self-employed workers could be eligible for the expanded unemployment-insurance benefits the bill provides
• A portion of the $425 billion in funds appropriated for the Federal Reserve’s credit facilities will target small businesses
NYC DOB Halts Non-Essential Construction
Please see here for guidance on how DOB is implementing the ban on non-essential construction during the COVID-19 outbreak:


As part of the citywide response to the Coronavirus, the Department of Buildings (DOB) is continuing its efforts to immediately limit the amount of walk-in traffic to DOB offices.
Effective immediately, the following mandatory operational changes have been implemented:

Drop off boxes are available for the following services:
Application Processing
  • After Hours Variances
  • Certificates of Occupancy
  • Data Entry Corrections
  • Letters of Completion
  • Letters of No Objection
  • New and subsequent job filings
  • Permits and Permit Renewals
  • Post Approval Amendments (PAA)
  • Supersede Requests
  • Temporary Certificates of Occupancy
  • Temporary Use Permits
  • Withdrawal Requests

eFiling for Application Processing:
  • Permit renewals without changes must be processed in eFiling.
  • For initial non-Hub standard plan BIS jobs, upload plans in eFiling/eSubmit after the job is in AP Entire/D status.
  • Do not upload plans in eFiling/eSubmit for standard plan PAAs until it has been entered in BIS and the fees have been paid.

See the  Application Processing Service Notice  for more details. All applications need to be dropped-off or mailed to the borough office where the property is located.

New York Offers a Free Mental Health Hotline to Help with the Emotional Trauma of the Coronavirus
On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of a free mental health hotline for New Yorkers. It is staffed by thousands of mental health professionals, all volunteers.

Anyone can call the hotline and schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for free. Callers to the hotline will hear an introduction to the "New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline," and then will be directed to a trained volunteer.

You can reach the hotline at 1-844-863-9314 .
Health Benefits for New Yorkers
New Yorkers without health insurance can apply for a health plan through  NY State of Health If you recently lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan or Child Health Plus
Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to New York small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on March 17, 2020.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of New York.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela . Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (1) 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For complete details on SBA, visit www.sba.gov .