In the Braintree Chamber of Commerce’s fourth COVID-19 update, local business leaders learned about recent improvements to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as phase 2 reopenings facilitated by the mayor’s office.
The June 8 video conference was led by Chamber Chair Kim Kroha of Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C. Here’s the recap:
PPP loan program updates
On June 5, the president signed into law the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act, which addresses problems with the original PPP loans for small business owners.
Representatives from the Massachusetts District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Bob Nelson and Susan Lourie, led a discussion of the PPP Flexibility Act and other PPP loan information. Margaret Laforest from the Massachusetts Economic Development Office provided additional information on PPP and reopening.
Applications: Assistance funds are still available, and new PPP applications must be approved by June 30. SBA has guidance for calculating maximum loan amounts.
Repayment: The PPP Flexibility Act answered many questions of small businesses related to repayment requirements.
Employment issues: Businesses will not be penalized if former employees decline offers to come back to work, or if businesses are unable to find qualified employees.
For more information, or if you have questions: Contact your local SBA partners for free consultations, and sign up for SBA email notifications on PPP and other programs.
Mayor to fast-track outdoor dining permits
Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan officially started June 8. It allows for outdoor dining at the start of phase and indoor dining in the later part of phase.
Braintree’s sit-down restaurants can serve diners outdoors with appropriate licensing, according to Mayor Kokoros.
Phase 2 reopenings are moving ahead consistent with the governor’s guidelines and sector-specific protocols and best practices. New Covid-19 cases and deaths have declined sharply but could tick up again with reopenings, although hopefully not, the mayor said.
State battling unemployment fraud; anticipates “staggering” deficits
New COVID-19 cases and deaths have greatly declined, according to State Senator John Keenan. Unemployment rates are “still alarming, although trending better,” he said, with the food and accommodation industries hit hardest.
The state is battling unemployment fraud by criminals using stolen personal information obtained through data breaches. Most identity-theft victims only learn about the fraud after receiving a notice from state about the claim. Individuals and employers can report unemployment benefits fraud here, call the Dept. of Unemployment Assistance (877) 626-6800, or contact Sen. Keenan’s office.
“The deficits we are looking at are staggering,” said State Senator Walter Timilty on the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget outlook. The shortfall could run $6-8 billion against a budget of $44-46 billion, and stimulus funding from the federal government is needed but uncertain.
What support does your small business need?