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MAST planning webinar for business relief

The newly-approved congressional COVID-19 relief package includes significant economic stimulus programs that could impact business owners and their employees across the Southern Tier.

The Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier is currently working with the Small Business Development Center to organize a webinar that will aid local businesses in accessing these new benefits.

Details on the meeting are expected to be released this week.

According to MAST, approximately $325 billion of the new law has been allocated to help small businesses, including $248 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been extended through March 31, 2021.

A second PPP loan will be included to help the hardest-hit small businesses and non-profits, those with 300 or fewer employees that can demonstrate a loss of 25% of gross receipts in any quarter during 2020.

The bill also includes a set-aside for very small businesses with 10 or fewer employees and for businesses located in distressed areas.

PPP eligibility has also been expanding for more critical access hospitals, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters, housing cooperatives, as well as tourism organizations and local chambers of commerce.

Restaurants and hospitality businesses are now allowed to receive larger awards of 3.5 times average monthly payroll, up from 2.5 times.

The bill includes $20 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which allows small businesses and nonprofits in low-income communities to receive $10,000 grants. Any small businesses or nonprofits in low-income communities that received an EIDL advance previously are also eligible to receive the full $10,000 if their award was less in the first round of grants.

Fifteeen billion dollars has been included for those operating shuttered venues, including up to $10 million to live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.

Grants can be used to cover expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities and personal protective equipment.

There is no extension of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid sick leave or paid Family and Medical Leave Act benefits. Employees are not entitled to additional FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020.

The bill allows taxpayers to rollover unused funds in their health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022.

The bill extends two Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) unemployment programs for 11 weeks, including $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits, through March 14, 2021.

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