COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses

The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to partnering with the business community to navigate the outbreak of COVID-19.

The below resources list for businesses was last updated 4/8/20.

Table of Contents

Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program

  • The Baker-Polito Administration announced on March 18, 2020, that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will offer low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Massachusetts small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available following a request from Governor Charlie Baker on March 17, 2020.
  • The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of Massachusetts; and the contiguous counties in neighboring states.
  • Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
    • 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 (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. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.
  • Any interested business needs to apply directly to the SBA.
    • Businesses who did not fill out the initial MEMA survey can and should apply directly to the SBA.
    • Businesses who did fill out the initial MEMA survey must apply directly to the SBA.
  • The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 18, 2020.
  • Fact Sheet – SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  • Businesses can learn more about the SBA’s response to COVID-19 here.

SBA Express Bridge Loan Program

The Express Bridge Loan Program is available to businesses that have an existing business relationship with an SBA-approved lender; speak to your lender about accessing this option while you await a decision on long-term financing.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance is a Loan Advance of $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses.

  • Who can apply? If you have applied or intend to apply to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, you can also apply for a Loan Advance.
  • When can I apply? The Loan Advance is available now.
  • How do I apply? Visit the SBA’s website to submit an application for the Economic Disaster Injury Loan and Loan Advance.
  • What else should I know? Please note that you should submit an application at the above link, even if you’ve previously submitted an EIDL application prior to the Loan Advance being available.
  • More details.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 1.0% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months.

  • Who can apply? Businesses, non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees.
  • When can I apply? The Paycheck Protection Program will be available beginning on Friday, April 3rd. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.
  • How do I apply? You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit institution. Ask your local lender if it is participating in the program.
  • What else should I know? The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The program will be available retroactive from February 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
  • SBA PPP overview: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp
  • SBA PPP Find A Lender: https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA is also offering Debt Relief to small businesses. Under this relief, the SBA will automatically pay the principal and interest for six months beginning March 27th, 2020 for qualifying new and current holders of 7(a) loans.

  • Who can apply? Businesses who already have a covered 7(a) SBA loan or receive a 7(a) SBA loan prior to September 27, 2020.
  • When can I apply? This relief is automatically applied for covered loans beginning with payments due after March 27, 2020.
  • How do I apply? Reach out to your SBA lender to discuss how this debt relief applies to your SBA loan.
  • What else should I know? This debt relief is available only to 7(a) loans and not to loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program, 504 loans, or microloans.
  • More details.

Emergency Order re: Essential Services and Assemblage Guidance

Governor Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. Governor Baker's order has been extended until May 4. 

  • Businesses and organizations should check this list to find out if they are defined as providing "COVID-19 Essential Services" under this emergency order. The Administration updated this list, which is based on updated federal guidance, on March 31. The new list goes into effect on April 1 at noon.  

COVID-19 Essential Organizations and Businesses

  • Organizations and businesses on this list may continue to operate brick and mortar facilities during this time period. This list is based on federal guidance and amended to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy. 
  • If your business is covered by this guidance, you do not need to take any action or receive an essential service designation.
  • As always, we urge businesses to follow social distancing protocols for workers and customers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health.

COVID-19 Non-Essential Organizations and Businesses

  • Businesses and organizations NOT on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order.
  • If the function of your business is NOT listed in the guidance linked above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you can submit an online request using this form to be designated as essential for the purposes of the Emergency Order.
  • Only businesses that are NOT designated as serving an “essential service” should consider applying for a designation. Businesses deemed essential based on the “COVID-19 Essential Services” guidance do NOT need to apply for an Essential Service Designation.
    1. All submissions through the Essential Service Designation Request form are actively reviewed by EOHED staff.
    2. Further guidance will be provided on a rolling basis through this Frequently Asked Questions page which will be updated regularly.
  • Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that sell food and beverage products to the public are encouraged to continue to offer food for take-out and by delivery if they follow the social distancing protocols set forth in Department of Public Health guidance continue operations. On-premises consumption of food or drink is prohibited.
  • The Baker-Polito Administration Order also limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency.

 

Hotel/Motel Guidance: As part of the updated essential business list, DPH issued new guidance today around hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfasts and other short-term residential rentals. Based on this new guidance, hotels, motels, and short-term rentals may only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19, like front line health workers or individuals, or for Massachusetts residents who have been otherwise displaced from their residences.

Click here for the Hotel/Motel Guidance.

MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline

  • The hotline will be staffed Monday – Friday from 8am to 4pm.
  • The number for the hotline is 508-820-2094.

Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development Resources

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development offers resources for businesses related to employee benefits and has a new resource page. Programs include:

Administrative Tax Relief Measures

On Wednesday, March 18, the Baker-Polito Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

  • Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
  • The Department of Revenue is currently drafting emergency regulations to implement these administrative relief measures, and they are expected to be finalized before Friday, March 20, 2020.

Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT)

The leaders of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative including Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Mike Tamasi, President and CEO of AccuRounds established the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) to assist in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This work is being done in coordination with the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

The M-ERT's Mission: To mobilize, organize, and operationalize critical path work streams necessary for Massachusetts manufacturers to pivot their operations to produce needed materials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A program office through the MassTech Collaborative has been established. Members have been organized into logical groups to address manufacturing supply chain issues.

If your organization is interested in joining the effort, please fill out the form on MassTech's website and an M-ERT member will reach out.

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