The Health Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Proposal
More information is now available on the HEALS Act released earlier this week by Senate Republicans. Discussions are expected to now begin in earnest as Congress faces the July 31 deadline for enhanced pandemic unemployment insurance benefits. Part of the Republican proposal would reduce these benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week on top of state administered aid until the end of September at which time the maximum benefit will be 70% of the recipient current wages -- but this will be a starting point for the negotiations. Read more on federal action taken.
Safe to Work Act
The American Hotel and Lodging Association and the U.S. Chamber have coordinated a sign-on letter in support of the liability protection provisions contained in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act.” These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. ORLA signed on to this letter, read here.
WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION NOW!
CONGRESS PASSES FIXES TO THE PPP
Update 7.2.20 - Both the House and Senate passed an extension of the PPP lending deadline from June 30 to August 8 and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation soon. This will revive the $610 billion small business aid program and make the remaining funds available for additional applications.
Update 6.3.20 - In an enormous win for our industry, the Senate approved by unanimous consent H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. The bill changed the 8-week covered period into a 24-week covered period. It will also adjust the current 75/25 split into a 60/40 split for payroll costs versus other costs. Loan forgiveness will still apply if FTEs won’t come back, or if revenue in December is below February 2020 levels. Payroll tax deferment will also be restored. Future PPP loans taken out will have five year loan-repayment terms.
To read more specifics included in the bill, visit the National Restaurant Association’s legislative assessment and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s legislative overview.
Thank you to all of you who have engaged in our advocacy efforts to help get these changes to the finish line!
ORLA JOINS NATIONAL PARTNERS IN FIGHT FOR LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
AHLA and the business community continue to seek temporary and targeted liability relief related to COVID-19 exposure as the next federal legislative package is developed. To that end, ORLA joined AHLA in signing on to the attached US Chamber-led letter seeking federal relief, which was sent to Members of Congress May 27, 2020.
SURVEY REAFFIRMS CONTINUED ACTION NEEDED
The National Restaurant Association's Economics and Research team completed a second nationwide impact survey of restaurant owners and operators to provide data-driven updates on the state of the industry. Armed with this data, the association has called on Congress to enact a new “Blueprint for Recovery” to provide targeted relief for the country's second largest private sector employer. To better prioritize these proposals, the NRA is asking restaurant operators to fill out this survey here:
THE CARES ACT
The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27th. The bill includes new relief opportunities including a Paycheck Protection Program, an Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Qualified Improvement Property fix, and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants. Thank you to our partners at the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association for their work on this package.
The application process for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opened April 3rd, 2020. Consider contacting the bank where you hold your business banking account or have a current loan to learn if your bank will be participating in the PPP. Update 4.23.20 – Congress has approved and President Trump has signed into law $324 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as $60 billion for the EIDL program. Update 4.27.20 - the National Restaurant Association has submitted a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Congressional leaders regarding changes needed in the Paycheck Protection Program, including the effects of government mandates on loan periods, the 75 percent restriction, and the two year repayment term. See the latest guidance on the Interim Final Rule on Loan Forgiveness (5/22/20).
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
The U.S. Department of Labor has been issuing guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1st, 2020. The legislation provides additional paid sick leave and unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. The Department of Labor has a number of helpful FAQs on their website, which can be found here.
Additional questions and answers have been provided by law firm Fisher Phillips:
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