Reopening Massachusetts:
Phase Two and Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
Reopening: Phase 2
Over the weekend, Governor Baker announced Phase 2 of the Massachusetts reopening plan will begin with Step 1 of Phase 2 today, June 8, 2020. Below are the Phase 2 industries permitted to reopen as of today and the industries that will need to wait until Step 2 of Phase 2 which date is to be determined.
Step 1 of Phase 2 - June 8, 2020
  • Retail;
  • Childcare facilities and day camps;
  • Restaurants (outdoor service only);
  • Hotels and other lodging;
  • Warehouses and distribution centers;
  • Personal services (no close physical contact, i.e. photography, career coaching, window washers);
  • Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech, and occupation schools;
  • Youth and adult amateur sports;
  • Outdoor recreation facilities;
  • Professional sports practices;
  • Non-athletic youth instructional classes;
  • Driving and flight schools;
  • Outdoor historical spaces; and
  • Funeral homes.
Step 2 of Phase 2 - Date to Be Determined
  • Restaurants (indoor service); and
  • Personal services (close personal contact), including:
  • Hair removal
  • Hair replacement and scalp treatment
  • Nail care
  • Skin care
  • Massage therapy
  • Makeup salons and makeup application services
  • Tanning salons
  • Tattoo, piercing, and body art services
  • Personal trainers.
The Baker administration has developed specific guidelines for these industries as they are allowed to reopen. While each industry has its own guidelines and restrictions, the minimum safety standards remain the same. This includes, but is not limited to, safety standards related to the following: social distancing, hygiene protocols, training employees and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. As businesses re-open, we are here to assist with drafting policies and advising business owners on protocols required by local, state and federal governments. Keep in mind, all businesses must train their employees on certain COVID-19 matters as they re-open. Our office has developed a training video and other necessary training materials to meet the state requirements. 
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA)
On Friday, June 5, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), which made significant changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. Highlights of these changes are below:
Payroll Amount:
Previously under the PPP the amount of the loan required to be spent on payroll costs was 75% of the loan amount. The PPPFA reduces this amount to 60%, therefore increasing the amount available to be spent on other eligible expenses to 40%. The PPPFA does not change the list of expenses eligible for forgiveness.

Time to Use Funds:
The period during which the use of PPP funds would be eligible for forgiveness (known as the “covered period”), has been extended from 8 weeks to 24 weeks or December 31, 2020, whichever comes first. 

Repayment Term:
The PPPFA extends the repayment term from 2 years to 5 years. The interest rate remains 1%. The first payment is now deferred for 6 months after the SBA makes its determination on forgiveness. 
Restoring FTE Headcount/Employee Wages: Employers now have until December 31, 2020 to restore their full time equivalent (“FTE”) employee headcount and employee wages. This is extended from the previous June 30, 2020 date. The PPPFA also creates additional exceptions to the general rule that an FTE headcount reduction will reduce loan forgiveness. In the event an employer is unable to restore headcount, the employer can still receive forgiveness if they in good faith:

1. Are unable to rehire an employee who was employed on or before February 15, 2020 and can demonstrate they are unable to hire a comparable employee on or before December 31, 2020; or

2. Can demonstrate they are incapable of returning to the same level of business activity as the business was operating at prior to February 15, 2020, due to federal COVID-19 requirements or guidance.

We Are Here to Help in This Time of Need
Many of our clients have raised questions about remote work arrangements, essential employees reporting to work, layoffs, health insurance continuation, medical inquiries and employee privacy. 

Phifer Pinkham, LLC will remain open, subject to any additional government orders, during normal business hours to assist you with any questions you may have.

We will continue providing updates and guidance as more information becomes available.
Phifer Pinkham, LLC is a full service law firm representing businesses, their owners, and individuals in connection with their legal needs in the areas of business and corporate law, litigation, estate planning and administration, employment law, taxation, intellectual property, real estate, and non profit representation. We provide premium legal services without the Boston premium. Please contact us at (617) 409-7409 to set up an in-person or phone consultation, or please feel free to contact any of our attorneys directly at the email address links provided below.